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Protecting Employees During Winter Months

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Cold temperatures and wind chill cause heat to leave the body faster, which puts employees at risk of cold stress. So, how do you keep your technicians safe in the colder months? Tire Review’s Danielle Hess gives you some tips from the Tire Review Continental Tire Garage Studio at Babcox Media.

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Technicians don’t usually work outside full-time, but there are times when they’re exposed to the cold for long periods. Anyone working out in the cold may be at risk. Here’s a review of OSHA’s most common types of cold stress to keep in mind.

The first is hypothermia, which is when normal body temperature drops to 95 degrees Fahrenheit or less. The person is alert but shivering, but in severe cases, you can expect confusion, slurred speech, slow heart rate and breathing, and in extreme cases, loss of consciousness or death.

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The second is frostbite, which is when a person’s body tissues, usually their hands and feet, freeze. Because of wind chill, this can even occur when temperatures are above freezing. Symptoms may include numbness, reddened skin with gray or white patches, and blisters. Frostbite, in extreme cases, can result in amputation.

So, how do you avoid cases of hypothermia or frostbite among your staff in the winter? The best thing is to have employees drink warm, sweetened fluids and dress properly. Proper dress includes loose-fitting, insulated clothes, gloves and a waterproof hat, as well as insulated and waterproof boots.

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Aside from dressing for the weather, you’ll want to make sure your driveway, parking lots and sidewalks are clear to avoid any slips or falls among your employees and customers. Shoveling snow can be hard work, so it’s important employees take precautions to avoid injuries when shoveling.

Have your employees warm up before heading outside, and make sure they scoop small amounts of snow at a time and push the snow instead of lifting it. Employees should be trained on using a snowblower or other power tools before using the equipment and should know how to check whether the equipment is grounded properly.

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