It’s official – winter is here. These cold wet days will be with us for a little while longer and being safe is not an option.
Although Canadian winters are incredibly beautiful, the cold can often be challenging – providing major risk of frostbite and cold stress. The frequent alerts warning me of reduced visibility, pending snow squalls or extreme cold weather alerts are reminders that these conditions can be dangerous both at home and work.
Before leaving for work each morning I stop and take a brief moment to ensure driving and walking paths are clear. With regular freeze-thaw scenarios there can be significant water runoff in the day that will pool and may become icy by the time I return home. Shoveling the driveway and sidewalk, and using pet-safe salt or dirt helps reduce the chance of a slip and fall, and is also very considerate to pedestrians or delivery people. I also make sure to wear appropriate footwear that provides effective traction when I am walking on wet and slippery surfaces outdoors. Even though this does add extra time to my morning routine, assessing potentially changing driving and walking conditions and being cautious reduces the stress of travelling in winter conditions.
Your vehicles should also be prepared for winter weather with appropriate tires and wipers already installed for the season. The recent snowstorm that severely impacted commuters across the province was also a great reminder of the importance of keeping my fuel tank at least half full and checking on the winter washer fluids levels. We should also all have a winter emergency car kit with the following items:
- Water in a plastic bottle that won’t break
- Snacks with a longer shelf life, such as granola or energy bars
- Extra clothing – socks, sweater, gloves and even a spare pair of boots!
- Small shovel, scraper, snowbrush
- Sand, salt or a non-clumping kitty litter
- Jumper cables and tow rope
- Extra antifreeze and winter washer fluid
- First aid kit
At CNL, it is our practice to check site conditions daily for the safety of our employees and contractors. We also monitor weather conditions and ensure we are dressed appropriately while we work. Checking our homes and worksite for outdoor hazards, removing snow and treating ice, and being prepared can make a big difference in keeping ourselves and everyone around us safe this season.
Stay focused and stay safe!