Alright – let’s be upfront about this, this might seem a little premature, as you’re sweating it out every day at work, but according to reports, there’s a Polar Vortex on its way this September.
We know, they might be wrong – they often are – but nonetheless there’s nothing wrong with making some plans for how you’re going to get your work done once the winter weather arrives – whenever that might be! Last winter was rough, so we hope these tips will help you get ready for the worst, and more importantly, keep you ahead of the game.
If you’re up north, you’re probably preparing, but one important part of your work gear to consider when preparing for a cold snap, is your vehicle. Here are a few checks you might want to consider now, so you’re ready:
- Studded snow tires are a good investment – the more popular, wide and low-profile tire will have you fighting your truck, van or car once the snow sticks to the road.
- A block heater for your engine will mean it’s easier to get you going on those freezing mornings. Just plug them in overnight and you’ll be good to go the next morning.
- If you’ve got an old battery in your work vehicle, now might be the time to change it. Getting one now gives you a chance to get it fully up to charge – and that will mean it’s very unlikely to freeze up on you. Once that happens, it’s curtains for the battery.
- Take it to the shop and get it a damn good service – you’ll be thankful you got an oil change, and the anti-freeze mix sorted out beforehand. Don’t leave yourself high, dry and frozen by the roadside this winter, for the sake of a quick service.
Okay, so now that your vehicle’s ready, depending on the size of your business or your staff, you might want to get ahead of the game with some training. When you’re thinking about getting to the job, make sure everyone knows how to deal with slippery roads, windy conditions, and downed power lines.
Everyone on-site should really know something about cold stress – how to recognize the symptoms, prevent injuries, the importance of recognizing cold stress in themselves and having an eye on each other out there. It’s only a job, at the end of the day, so look after each other with a bit of a session on what to look for and how to prevent needless illness.
Make sure everyone knows who to get in touch with in an emergency – not just a winter concern by the way – but especially important as winter approaches.
If previous years are anything to go by, then you might want to prepare for more of the same. And here at Working Person’s Store, we’re particularly keen that you’re wearing the right clothing and protective gear. So here are a few tips we’ve learned to protect you from cold stress – from your feedback out there in the field and from the manufacturers we stock:
- Insulated, waterproof boots give your feet the best chance to survive the long, cold days.
- In fact, protect all of the extremities – gloves that are insulated are important too.
- Get a hat that will cover your ears. Although it seems pretty straightforward, it’s often overlooked and don’t forget, you lose a lot of heat through your head.
- Your extremities need warm blood to keep them warm, so wear looser clothing and allow that important supply to get where it’s needed the most!
- Layering is important – an inner layer of wool, silk or one of the many advanced synthetics on the market, will help keep the moisture away from your body. We stock a lot of moisture-wicking products right here.
- A middle layer made from the same as the inner layer will at least give you more insulation, even if you’re not wearing waterproof gear.
- For the outer layer, there are so many breathable, waterproof, windproof materials out there that will allow your body to breathe and function as normally as possible in the harsh conditions.
Here’s a final checklist that we hope will get you thinking about the whole winter, ensuring you’re able to see the job through, keep everyone safe and happy while at work:
- Make sure everyone can communicate – whether it’s cell phones or walkie-talkie’s – don’t let anyone get isolated out there.
- Get access to warm liquids – it’s vital that everyone can warm up with some warm drink when there’s even the merest hint of cold stress.
- Frequent breaks for newer workers helps them settle in – not everyone’s able to cope with the workload when they’re new to winter working. So keep an eye out for the new guy!
- If you’re going to be outdoors where you’re working, limit the time you’re out there and have somewhere warm to go to – it makes for a safer working team – and a happier one!
- Skin creams are important – you’ve only got one skin and the weather can get crazy cold, so prepare for it. You’ll thank yourself at the end of a long, cold day.
- Stay dry, if you can. It will reduce heat loss and keep you warmer.
- Bring a change of clothing – if you get too wet, then you’re likely to need to get warm and dry and you’re not going to want to put your damp, cold clothes back on.
- Don’t drink alcohol out there. It might seem like a good way to warm up, but it isn’t. Drink warm, sweet liquids and however tempting, refuse any booze!
Most importantly, however the winter turns out, be prepared! And look out for each other. Cold stress is a killer and it’s important that everyone knows how to check for it in themselves and their co-workers. And let’s keep our fingers crossed that this Polar Vortex blows itself out. Good luck out there, from everyone at Working Person’s Store.