Posted on: January 29, 2019 12:09 pm

Frozen ExcavatorIt’s that time of the year again, winter has closed in and every other day we turn on the news to learn of snow and ice (and lots of ice) that is going to met us on our commute, and is waiting for us on the jobsite. One of Alban CAT’s core tenants is Safety, and today we present to you Defensive Tips you can use to make your Snow/Ice Day a lot safer from our in-house Safety Manager.

Ice & Snow Safety Defensive Tips

1. Vehicles ahead of you? Ice sheet blow-off when they reach travel speed, can hurt you.

  • Typically the ice sheet will go air-born, so you really need to be LOOKING at the vehicle and allowing A LOT of distance ahead of you.
  • Tractor trailers are especially problematic in this sense. They can form a large ice sheet on the roof. This sheet will become detached and move when the box warms up. We are talking about a lot of ice, at a height of 12 feet. So even if you’re trying to creep past the truck say, on an exit ramp, it can slide off and hurt you.
  • Again, distance is your best protection.

2. Frozen locks, door seals and windows?

  • Spray with WD 40 to prevent ice up.
  • WD 40 also prevents snow from sticking to shovels. Nice feature.

3. Stay hydrated – even if you’re not ‘sweating’, you can lose a lot of moisture through respiration and exhalation. Cold air is typically very dry.

  • Drink hydrating beverages, which are not coffee or Red Bull.
  • And skip the junk food, it is of little nutritional value.

4. Dress in several light layers of clothing. Allow moisture to vent thru zipper or button openings 5. Avoid standing directly on cold hard surfaces for long periods. Use an insulating layer, even cardboard or newspaper will help.

  • Double layers of socks and glove liners can help a lot
  • Waffle pattern fabrics offer good insulation properties, because they trap a lot of air between layers. This air layer is what keeps you warm.

6. Steel toe caps in boots will absorb cold. Composite toe boots are the best option 7. Protect head and neck areas; this is where most heat loss occurs.

  • Fleece lined helmet liners are very effective, as are scarves, but be mindful to keep loose ends tucked securely.
  • Helmet restraint chin straps are recommended in high wind conditions. Make sure it is ‘break-away’ design in case of snag

8. Select the best glove for the application, such as shoveling, materials handling, etc.

  • The coefficient of friction is typically poor in cold temps, so select a high grip latex or nitrile coated glove.
  • Dexterity also goes down in extreme cold, so a lighter glove body can help.

9. Take periodic rest breaks during high exertion such as snow shoveling.

  • When transitioning to a warm room or truck cab, remove outer garments – they insulate in both directions.

10. Use extreme caution when wearing insulated garments around open fires or doing any type of Hot Work.

  • You could become a toasted marshmallow and not even know it.
  • A Fire Watch is a good idea, as is, rolling in the snow to put out the fire.

11. Slip and fall is the most common accident in cold. Good practice includes:

  • Holding on to the vehicle when exiting
  • Using a long handled tool such as a shovel for extra upper body support when walking on uneven or slippery surfaces
  • Wearing rugged footwear with lug pattern soles for improved traction
  • Clearing ice and applying sand / salt to walking areas, such as around doorways, sidewalks

12.  Black Ice on road and particularly on bridges is a serious problem.

  • If there is an ice accumulation on road side or a bridge, it will typically start to melt during the day and run across the travel lanes.
  • When temps fall at night this melt water will freeze. Something to watch for at night.

13. The issue of new vs. old roads should be on your mind during route selection.

  • While SHA and their legions of Contractors do a fairly good job of clearing the roads, older roads with poor drainage can create icing issues for a lot of reasons.
  • It only takes one small patch of ice to throw your vehicle into a spin. In other words, newer roads tend to be safer than elderly roads, because they usually have better drainage.

14. In all cases, try to minimize driving on two lane undivided highways.

  • These roads are notoriously demanding for drivers in good weather, let alone in compromised conditions.
  • Interstate highways are usually pre-treated and cleared first in a storm. Next are primary/arterial roads. Then comes the secondary roads, then tertiary…. you get the picture. Two lane undivided roads are mostly tertiary.

This list of safety tips could easily continue for several pages; these are just some of the highlights. In all cases, THINK before acting. Do a mini assessment of the area before exiting your vehicle and think safe, be safe. Now… Let’s do the work.

You May Also Like:

A Guide To Pushing Snow

Winter Safety Tips

Buying V Renting Winter Equipment

Using A Motorgrader To Clear Snow

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