Winter Safety Tips

These tips can help prevent injuries and illnesses and make the winter months safer and more enjoyable.

Driving safety – Driving on wet, snowy or icy pavement is very different than driving during warmer months. Snow, sleet and ice can lead to hazardous road conditions. Another safety challenge occurs if your vehicle breaks down. Prepare your vehicle for the upcoming winter season with these helpful tips from the National Safety Council:

  • Test your battery; battery power drops as the temperature drops.
  • Make sure the cooling system is in good working order.
  • Have winter tires with a deeper, more flexible tread put on your car.
  • If using all-season tires, check the tread on your tires and replace if less than 2/32 of an inch.
  • Check the tire pressure; tire pressure drops as the temperature drops.
  • Check your wiper blades and replace if needed.
  • Add wiper fluid rated for -30 degrees.
  • Keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid gas line freeze.

Beware of overexertion while shoveling – We forget during warmer months that shoveling snow or using a snowblower are among winter’s most grueling activities. Don’t become a statistic! High levels of activity in cold temperatures put many people at risk of heart attack, especially those that have inactive lifestyles. Don’t overexert yourself. Take frequent breaks and be aware of your physical limits when it comes to activities like snow shoveling.

Bundle up; cover hands, feet and faces! – Protect exposed skin from winter’s brutal blast by wearing gloves, scarves, hats, warm boots, etc. Use first aid to help someone who may have hypothermia or frostbite. Online and classroom courses are available at workplaces and other organizations through NSC. Download the NSC first aid app and you will be ready to give first aid for frostbite, hypothermia and many other emergencies.

Beware of carbon monoxide poisoning – Carbon monoxide detectors save lives. Every year, hundreds of people die and tens of thousands are treated for carbon monoxide poisoning. Don’t use heaters designed for outdoor spaces indoors and be aware that warming up cars in enclosed areas or areas without proper ventilation can result in carbon monoxide poisoning and death. The most common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are often described as “flu-like” – headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain and confusion. Check out our carbon monoxide fact page.

Avoid injuries while enjoying outdoor sports – Whether you are skiing and snowboardingsledding or skating, take safety precautions like learning basic skills and using the appropriate gear for the sport. Here are some basic tips from the NSC:

  • Don’t ski, snowboard or sled alone.
  • Get in shape for the season, and not just the week before a ski trip; a regular exercise routine will help reduce fatigue and injury.
  • Beginners should invest in proper instruction, including learning how to fall and get back up; experienced skiers should take a refresher course.
  • Always know the weather conditions before heading to the slopes; time of day can also affect visibility and make obstacles difficult to see.
  • Give skiers in front of you the right of way; they most likely can’t see you.
  • If you have to stop, stop on the side of a run, not in the middle.
  • Look both ways and uphill before crossing a trail, merging or starting down a hill.
  • Use skis with brakes or a snowboard with a leash to prevent runaway equipment.
  • Never ski on closed runs or out of boundaries because these areas are not monitored and there is no way to know what the snow conditions are; a rogue skier could even cause an avalanche.
  • Dress for the weather.

Decorate safely – Decorating is one of the best ways to get in a holiday mood, but emergency rooms see thousands of injuries involving holiday decorating every season.

When decorating follow these tips from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission:

  • Keep potentially poisonous plants – mistletoe, holly berries, Jerusalem cherry and amaryllis – away from children.
    If using an artificial tree, check that it is labeled “fire resistant.”
    If using a live tree, cut off about 2 inches of the trunk to expose fresh wood for better water absorption, remember to water it and remove it from your home when it is dry.
    Place your tree at least 3 feet away from fireplaces, radiators and other heat sources, making certain not to block doorways.
    Avoid placing breakable ornaments or ones with small, detachable parts on lower tree branches where small children or pets can reach them.
    Only use indoor lights indoors and outdoor lights outdoors, and choose the right ladder for the task when hanging lights.
    Replace light sets that have broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires or loose connections.
    Follow the package directions on the number of light sets that can be plugged into one socket.
    Never nail, tack or stress wiring when hanging lights and keep plugs off the ground away from puddles and snow.
    Turn off all lights and decorations when you go to bed or leave the house.

Happy and Safe Holidays from your friends at Intelex!

This entry was posted in EHSQ and tagged , by Sandy Smith. Bookmark the permalink.

About Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the Director of Global Content and Brand for Intelex Technologies. Formerly the Content Director for EHS Today, she has been writing about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990. Her work as a journalist and editor has been recognized with national and international awards. She has been interviewed about occupational safety and health for national business publications, documentaries and television programs; has served as a panelist on roundtables; and has been the keynote speaker for occupational safety and health conferences.

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