SAFETY CALL: WINTER PREPARDNESS
New Braunfels, TX, November 1, 2023
As temperatures drop, it’s important to begin preparing for colder months and the threats they present. Winter storms can bring extreme cold, freezing rain, snow, ice, and high winds. These conditions can create a higher risk of car accidents, hypothermia, frostbite, carbon monoxide poisoning and even heart attacks from overexertion. Winter storms can blow in quickly and without notice. Case in point, this past weekend, the Denver metropolitan area received 10 inches of snow just a few days after having multiple 85-degree weather days.
Today let discuss three areas of concern to help better prepare you for the upcoming winter months.
During most safety calls, we discuss the importance to pre plan. Whether that’s planning a specific task or deciding whose hosting Thanksgiving this year. Preplanning during the winter is key to preventing incidents. Much of the work our men and women do Is outdoors and there are many things to consider. Have we looked at the forecast and made a conscious decision that it is safe to proceed? Pre-planning could include the determination that special equipment to access a jobsite is needed or maybe even postponing a job altogether. We need to consider things like our path of travel, how long is a realistic expectation of being on tower, and what additional supplies we might need to keep us safe and warm. Although our trucks keep a lot of gear and material in them it’s crucial that we keep additional clothing and supplies in case we need to bundle up or get stranded. Making sure our vehicles are prepared for winter is a large key to your success and safety. Verify your tires are in good condition with plenty of tread. Top off your windshield washer fluid with a product that can work below freezing temperatures, check fuel levels, and make sure you have a snow brush to scrape or remove the elements.
DRIVING IN INCLEMENT WEATHER
Arguably the most dangerous hazard winter poses in many parts of the country is poor driving conditions. According to the Department of Transportation, winter weather conditions are responsible for over 192,000 injuries and 2,200 deaths each year on the road. Outside injury and loss of life, winter weather conditions are responsible for millions of dollars in property damage incidents. The hazards created by winter weather make it hard for even the most experienced drivers to operate a vehicle safely. The roads can be dangerous when there’s snow, ice, or sleet on them. The best advice is simply… take it slow. Allow for extra time to arrive to your work locations during inclement weather. Be sure to remove snow and ice from all surfaces, especially your windshield before moving your vehicle. Stopping distances can be 10 times greater when it’s icy. Gentle maneuvers and slow speeds are the key to safe driving in ice and snow. Four-wheel drive won’t help you when you are sliding. In fact, it can make matters worse. Colder conditions are known to create a spike in cold and flu symptoms. You should avoid operating any type of vehicle if you are not feeling well or on any medication that could make you drowsy. These conditions can have a serious impact on your reaction times. A delay in reaction is not something we want during inclement conditions.
RECOGNIZING COLD STRESS
Knowing the signs and basic treatments for frostbite and hypothermia is important. Frostbite can cause loss of feeling and color around the face, finger, and toes. Another symptom is numbness in the extremities or firm or waxy skin. If you think you are experiencing frostbite, go to a warm room, soak in warm water, and use body heat to warm yourself. Similarly, if you are experiencing an unusually low body temperature (less than 95 degrees) accompanied by confusion, fumbling hands, or slurred speech, you may be experiencing hypothermia. If you are, go to a warm room, stay dry and wrap yourself in blankets. Damp or wet clothing can cause your body temperature to drop quickly, putting you at greater risk for cold stress injuries. Should your clothes become wet or damp, you should change them immediately. In colder temps you should dress in layers that are easy to take off or put back on throughout the day. Face and hand coverings are vital prevention measures during the colder months, especially in windy conditions. Lastly, we lose a great amount of body heat from our head and as such wearing a beanie or other insulated head cover will help keep you warm.
Before we close out our discussion today, I want to also mention another hazard that comes into play when ice and snow are present. That is an increased risk of slips, trips, and falls. Snow, sleet, and ice greatly increase the chances for slip, trip, and fall incidents to occur. Take your time when walking across slippery surfaces. Taking smaller steps lessens your chances of losing your balance. Winter can be one of the most beautiful times of the year. However, don’t let those breathtaking views of snowcapped mountains fool you, it’s also a dangerous time of the year and requires your full attention.
If you would like more information on this topic or any other safety-related topic, please reach out to the Ontivity safety team at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will get you taken care of.
Ontivity is a national-scale network infrastructure services provider built upon the long-standing foundation of the local expertise and experience of our strong Family Member Companies. With 24 branch offices operating across 28 states, Ontivity’s member companies are the leading turnkey services producers in the wireless infrastructure space. Services provided include technology upgrades, structural engineering, macro tower builds, small cell, in-building, DAS and 5G installations, tower modifications, generator services, project management, civil services, microwave networks, and more. The Ontivity companies are Enertech Resources, ET Tower, Mountain Wireless, Legacy Wireless, and CMS Wireless. Ontivity is headquartered in New Braunfels, Texas. To learn more about Ontivity and its member companies, please visit https://ontivity.com.