Tool ox Talks For April 1st- April 5th

April 1, 2013 in Uncategorized

Happy Monday to All!!!!

Ladder Inspections & Safety                                        April 1st-April 5th


There are a reported 136,118 ladder related injuries in the United States annually! During 2008, work-related falls from ladders resulted in approximately 119 fatalities and an estimated 17,540 serious injuries.

Not all these incidents are due to defective ladders however that can certainly be one of the factors. It is important that ladders are inspected regularily. OSHA requires it in several instances.

OSHA 1910.25(d)(1)(x) - Ladders shall be inspected frequently and those which have developed defects shall bewithdrawn from service for repair or destruction and tagged or marked as “Dangerous, Do Not Use.”

OSHA 1910.26(c)(2)(vi) - Ladders are to be inspected:

(c)(2)(vi)(a) If ladders tip over or

(c)(2)(vi)(d) If ladders are exposed to oil and grease

OSHA 1910.27(f) – Fixed Ladders - All ladders shall be maintained in a safe condition. All ladders shall be inspected regularly, with the intervals between inspections being determined by use and exposure.

These required frequent inspections must be documented. Perhaps the easiest way is to have stickers or tags directly on the ladder itself and to have a ladder log to ensure they are all inspected as required.

Unfortunately frequently is a very subjective word. Truly each ladder must be evaluated on it’s use and exposure to damaging influences. You will want to inspect a ladder utilized daily that is in a high exposure area much more often then the office step stool used every now and then.

There are also rules for use of all ladders:

  • Maintain ladders free of oil, grease and other slipping hazards.
  • Do not load ladders beyond their maximum intended load nor beyond their manufacturer’s rated capacity.
  • Use ladders only for their designed purpose.
  • Use ladders only on stable and level surfaces unless secured to prevent accidental movement.
  • Do not use ladders on slippery surfaces unless secured or provided with slip-resistant feet to prevent accidental movement. Do not use slipresistant feet as a substitute for exercising care when placing, lashing or holding a ladder upon slippery surfaces.
  • Secure ladders placed in areas such as passageways, doorways or driveways, or where they can be displaced by workplace activities or traffic to prevent accidental movement. Or use a barricade to keep traffic or activity away from the ladder.
  • Keep areas clear around the top and bottom of ladders.
  • Do not move, shift or extend ladders while in use.
  • Use ladders equipped with nonconductive side rails if the worker or the ladder could contact exposed energized electrical equipment.
  • Face the ladder when moving up or down.
  • Use at least one hand to grasp the ladder when climbing.
  • Do not carry objects or loads that could cause loss of balance and falling.

Although ladders are part of our everyday life at both work and home, it’s important we don’t take them for granted. Ensure you inspect and utilize ladders appropriately.

Tool Box Talks For March 25th – March 29th

March 25, 2013 in Uncategorized

Good Afternoon Tool box Talks followers.  Our apologies for missing the tool box talks for last week.  Bratten Electric was experiencing some technical difficulties.  No worries.  We are back with full force.



Throwing Electrical Disconnects                           March 25th-March 29


It is important that when we throw (turn on or off) an electrical disconnect that we do it properly. When we utilize disconnects to lockout a machine some may think that it is just a matter of pulling down the switch, but there is much more to it.

Arc flash, which is a short circuit through the air that flashes over from one exposed live conductor to another conductor or to ground, can be one of the dangers in throwing a disconnect. These electrical explosions, similar to lightning, are instantaneous and contain so much energy that severe burns and even death can occur if you are directly in the path.

It is important to turn off the motors and/or machines prior to throwing an electrical disconnect. Never utilize the disconnect itself as an on/off switch.

There is also a specific way to turn off a disconnect called the “Left Hand Rule”. Most disconnect handles are mounted on the RIGHT side of the switch while the hinges are on the left. To turn off a disconnect:

  • Stand to the right side of the switch, not in front of the box.
  • Grab the disconnect with your LEFT hand
  • Turn your body and face away from the switch
  • Close your eyes.
  • Take a deep breathe and hold it.
  • Then “throw” the disconnect lever.

Using this method helps protect you if an arc flash does occur within the cabinet during the activity. This keeps you out of the direct line of fire as an arc flash explosion can blow the hinged door right off the electrical box. Taking a deep breathe and holding it ensures that if an explosion occurs, you don’t gasp and breath in the flames.

Remember this rule next time you go to lockout a piece of equipment at the disconnect. Arc flash explosions are rare, but they can cause life changing injuries. These quick and easy measures help protect you from years of pain and suffering.


Bratten Electric does not recommend any electrical work to be installed or modified by anyone but a certified electrician.

Tool Box Talks for March 11th-March 15th

March 12, 2013 in Uncategorized

Electrical Safety for Construction Sites             March 11th-March 15th



It doesn’t take a lot of electricity to kill you. The amount of current needed to light an ordinary 60-watt light bulb is five times what can kill a person. Thus, all electrical equipment on construction sites is potentially deadly.

Electrical extension cords are numerous on construction sites and become damaged because of the rough conditions in which they are used.
Inspect to ensure:

  • All extension cords are three-wire cords;
  • The ground pin is on a male plug;
  • There is no unbroken insulation on the cord;
  • End appliances (plug and receptacle) are gripped to insulation;
  • All wires are continuous and unbroken;
  • All cords are protected from damage, likely to occur when passing through a door or window;
  • Metal boxes with knockouts are not used on extension cords;
  • Plugs are dead-front (molded or screwed in place);
  • Romex (non-metallic sheathed cable) is not used as flexible cord;
  • Cords are not stapled or hung from nails;
  • Bushing is passing through holes in covers or outlet boxes.

Also, check these items:

  • Temporary lights are not supported by cords;
  • Bulb guards are used on temporary lights;
  • Electrical power tools with non-dead man switches have a magnetic restart (when injury to the operator might result if motors were to restart following power failures);
  • Provisions are made to prevent machines from automatically restarting upon restoration of power in place;
  • Outlets do not have reversed polarity;
  • Power tools are double insulated or have a ground pin;

Guard all of exposed electric of more than 50 volts so no one can come in contact (receptacles, light-bulb sockets, bare wires, load center, switches). Guard by:

  1. Using approved enclosures;
  2. Locating them in a room, vault or similar enclosure accessible only to qualified persons;
  3. Arranging suitable permanent, substantial partitions or screens so only qualified persons have access to the space within reach of live parts;
  4. Locating them on a suitable balcony or platform that is elevated and arranged to exclude unqualified persons;
  5. Elevating them 8 feet or more above the working surface.

It’s important to take the time prior to beginning work at construction sites each day. The fluid nature of the activities, along with the changing environment and high potential for damage can let these items become a hazard quickly.

Tool Box Talk for the week of March 4th – March 8th

March 4, 2013 in Uncategorized

Gas Cylinders – Do’s and Don’ts

Oxygen, Acetylene, Argon, Air, LPG, Nitrogen, and other gasses are found in metal cylinders on most every construction site. These portable containers, used for transporting and storing compressed gasses, can cause serious injuries. If used incorrectly, gas cylinders can cause an explosion, fire, or other hazardous situation. Handle them with care and follow appropriate safety rules. Let’s review some of the safety do’s and don’ts for using compressed gas.
I .You must always keep cylinders in a secure and upright position.
2. Keep the protective valve cap in place when a cylinder is not in use.
3. Mark the cylinder ‘Empty’ or ‘MT’ when the gas has been used.
4. Keep oil and grease away from oxygen cylinders (oil and oxygen can ignite spontaneously).
5. Open valves slowly, using the valve wheel or T-handle wrench provided by the supplier.
6. Store oxygen and fuel gas cylinders at least 20 feet apart or separated by a 5 foot high noncombustible barrier.
7. If the cylinder is too heavy to handle use a hand truck to move it, or ask a co-worker for help.
1.Don’t permit sparks, flames, or molten metal to contact the cylinder.
2. Never use grease or oil on valves.
3. Don’t lift cylinders without safety caps in place.
4.Never use oxygen to blow or dust off your work clothes.
5. Don’t roll cylinders horizontally on the ground.
6. Never drop cylinders on the ground or other work surfaces.
7. Don’t store oxygen cylinders with other fuel gas cylinders.
8. Never use a leaking gas cylinder. Take it out of service immediately.
Never mix or match acetylene gauges with oxygen gauges.

Tool Box Talks for the Week of Feb 25th – March 1st

February 25, 2013 in Uncategorized

First Aid Basics                                                   


WHAT WOULD YOU DO if a co-worker called and said someone was injured? Have you taken first aid training so you would KNOW what to do? The construction industry is a leader in accidents and the injury rates continue to be high, so knowing basic first aid is a must.

Always call the posted emergency phone number so outside professional help is on the way. The following is a list of helpful hints when first aid is needed.

1.Act promptly but not hastily — look for breathing and airway obstructions, and check -for bleeding and/or broken bones.

2. Start mouth to mouth resuscitation if necessary, and don’t forget to use a one way mask.

3 Stop the bleeding — a snug bandage or a pressure dressing will usually stop the bleeding. Use direct pressure, not a tourniquet. Avoid direct contact with blood — use gloves.

4. Look for shock — skin cold and moist, weak pulse, face drained of color and fainting. Wrap the victim in blankets, have them lay down and try to calm them.

5. Caution, handle with care — a person with a suspected neck or back injury should not be moved until professional rescue personnel are on the scene. Assist them if requested.

6. Splint broken bones — a splint can be made from any firm object that is long enough to reach beyond the broken bone. Immobilize the joints above and below the break.

7. Never give liquids to an unconscious victim.

8. Bandage wounds to help protect against infection — the wound should be covered with a sterile dressing before the bandage is applied.

9. Remember to wear universal precaution protective equipment.

Forgotten what you learned a while back? Resolve to upgrade your first aid skills. Contact your local Red Cross Chapter or Rescue Squad, they have regularly scheduled courses covering FIRST AID and CPR.


Tool Box Talks for Feb. 18th- Feb 22nd

February 18, 2013 in Uncategorized

Driving on Snow and Ice                                                Week Of Feb. 18th-22nd


The best tip for winter driving: Sometimes it’s best to stay home, or at least remain where you are until snow plows and sanding crews have done their work. If you crash on a snowy or icy road, you’ll certainly be late — or worse. But since you can’t always call in to work claiming a “snow day,” it’s better to learn how to correctly deal with driving in the snow.


Below are some snow driving tips the average driver can follow to reduce the chances of a crash.


1.Get a grip. To have adequate snow traction, a tire requires at least 6/32-inch deep tread, according to The Tire Rack. (New passenger-car tires usually have 10/32-inch of tread.) Ultrahigh-performance “summer” tires have little or no grip in snow. Even “all-season” tires don’t necessarily have great snow traction: Some do, some don’t. If you live where the roads are regularly covered with snow, use snow tires (sometimes called “winter tires” by tire makers). They have a “snowflake on the mountain” symbol on the sidewall, meaning they meet a tire-industry standard for snow traction.


2.Make sure you can see. Replace windshield wiper blades. Clean the inside of your windows thoroughly. Apply a water-shedding material (such as Rain-X) to the outside of all windows, including the mirrors. Make sure your windshield washer system works and is full of an anti-icing fluid. Drain older fluid by running the washers until new fluid appears: Switching fluid colors makes this easy.


3.Run the air-conditioner. In order to remove condensation and frost from the interior of windows, engage your air-conditioner and select the fresh air option: It’s fine to set the temperature on “hot.” Many cars automatically do this when you choose the defrost setting.


4.Check your lights. Use your headlights so that others will see you and, we hope, not pull out in front of you. Make sure your headlights and taillights are clear of snow. If you have an older car with sand-pitted headlights, get a new set of lenses. To prevent future pitting, cover the new lens with a clear tape like that used to protect the leading edge of helicopter rotor blades and racecar wings. It’s available from auto-racing supply sites.


5.Give yourself a brake. Learn how to get maximum efficiency from your brakes before an emergency. It’s easy to properly use antilock brakes: Stomp, stay and steer. Stomp on the pedal as if you were trying to snap it off. Stay hard on the pedal. Steer around the obstacle. (A warning: A little bit of steering goes a very long way in an emergency. See Tip 8.) If you drive on icy roads or roads that are covered with snow, modify your ABS technique: After you “Stomp” and the ABS begins cycling — you will feel pulses in the pedal or hear the system working — ease up slightly on the pedal until the pulsing happens only once a second.


For vehicles without ABS, you’ll have to rely on the old-fashioned system: You. For non-ABS on a mixed-surface road, push the brake pedal hard until the wheels stop rolling, then immediately release the brake enough to allow the wheels to begin turning again. Repeat this sequence rapidly. This is not the same as “pumping the brake.” Your goal is to have the tires producing maximum grip regardless of whether the surface is snow, ice or damp pavement. Use the tips in “How To Survive the Top 10 Driving Emergencies” to practice before the emergency.


6.Watch carefully for “black ice.” If the road looks slick, it probably is. This is especially true with one of winter’s worst hazards: “black ice.” Also called “glare ice,” this is nearly transparent ice that often looks like a harmless puddle or is overlooked entirely. Test the traction with a smooth brake application or slight turn of the wheel.

7.Remember the tough spots. Race drivers must memorize the nuances of every track, so they can alter their path for changing track conditions. You must remember where icy roads tend to occur. Bridges and intersections are common places. Also: wherever water runs across the road. I know people who lost control on ice caused by homeowners draining above-ground pools and by an automatic lawn sprinkler that sprayed water onto a street in freezing temperatures.


8.Too much steering is bad. If a slick section in a turn causes your front tires to lose grip, the common — but incorrect — reaction is to continue turning the steering wheel. That’s like writing checks on an overdrawn account: It won’t improve the situation and may make things worse. If the icy conditions end and the front tires regain grip, your car will dart whichever way the wheels are pointed. That may be into oncoming traffic or a telephone pole. Something very similar happens if you steer too much while braking with ABS. Sadly, there are situations where nothing will prevent a crash, but turning the steering too much never helps.


9.Avoid rear-tire slides. First, choose a car with electronic stability control. Fortunately, ESC will be mandatory on all 2012 models. Next, make sure your rear tires have at least as much tread as your front tires. Finally, if you buy winter tires, get four.


10.Technology offers no miracles. All-wheel drive and electronic stability control can get you into trouble by offering a false sense of security. AWD can only help a vehicle accelerate or keep moving: It can’t help you go around a snow-covered turn, much less stop at an icy intersection. ESC can prevent a spinout, but it can’t clear ice from the roads or give your tires more traction. Don’t let these lull you into overestimating the available traction.


Regardless of your driving skill or vehicle preparation, there are some winter conditions that can’t be conquered. But these tips may help prevent snowy and icy roads from ruining your day

Tool Box Talk for the week of Feb. 11th- Feb15th

February 11, 2013 in Uncategorized

Hey Guys.  Pay close attention to this week’s talks.


The weather outside is causing power outages across the country.  For those who are fortunate enough to have an electric generator, this week’s subject will point out some tips to help keep you and your family safe while keeping the lights on.  Enjoy…….


Portable Electric Generator Safety                                            


With weather having an impact on electrical service in many parts of our nation, some people are turning to portable electric generators as a source of temporary electricity for their homes. This seeming convenience though, could itself be the source of disaster.


If not properly installed and operated, a portable generator can become a deadly device that kills via electric shock or carbon monoxide fumes. Using a generator indoors can kill you in minutes!


If a portable electric generator is connected to the main electrical supply coming into the house, the electrical generator could feed back into the electric supplier’s system and electrocute workers who are repairing the electrical lines. To avoid back-feeding of electricity into utility systems, a homeowner must have a qualified, licensed electrician install a double-pole, double-throw transfer switch between the generator and utility power in compliance with all state and local electrical codes. (A minimum of 10-gauge wiring must be used.) In addition to protecting linemen by ensuring proper wiring, a homeowner should carefully calculate wattage requirements to prevent overloading and damage to appliances and the generator.


Carbon Monoxide Hazards

Never use a generator in enclosed or partially-enclosed spaces. Generators can produce high levels of carbon monoxide very quickly. When you use a portable generator, remember that you cannot smell or see carbon monoxide. Even if you can’t smell exhaust fumes, you may still be exposed to it.

Never operate your generator in an enclosed or partially enclosed space such as a patio, shed or garage; and when in use, place it far, far away from any structure housing people or pets.

Most of the serious carbon monoxide poisonings have been caused by generator exhaust fumes drifting into doors, windows, vents and crawl spaces.

If you start to feel sick, dizzy, or weak while using a generator, get to fresh air right away. Do not delay. The carbon monoxide from generators can rapidly lead to full incapacitation and death.

If you experience serious symptoms, get medical attention immediately. Inform medical staff that carbon monoxide poisoning is suspected. If you experienced symptoms while indoors, have someone call the fire department to determine when it is safe to re-enter the building.


Follow these safety tips to protect against carbon monoxide poisoning:

Never use a generator indoors, including in homes, garages, basements, crawl spaces, and other enclosed or partially-enclosed areas, even with ventilation. Opening doors and windows or using fans will not prevent carbon monoxide build-up in the home.

Follow the instructions that come with your generator. Locate the unit outdoors and away from doors, windows, and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.

Install battery-operated carbon monoxide alarms or plug-in carbon monoxide alarms with battery back-up in your home, according to the manufacturer’s installation instructions. The carbon monoxide alarms should be certified to the requirements of the latest safety standards for carbon monoxide alarms (UL 2034, IAS 6-96, or CSA 6.19.01).

Test your carbon monoxide alarms frequently and replace dead batteries.


Electrical Hazards


Follow these tips to protect against shock and electrocution:

Keep the generator dry and do not use in rain or wet conditions. To protect from moisture, operate it on a dry surface under an open, canopy-like structure. Make sure your hands are dry before touching the generator.

Plug appliances directly into the generator. Or, use a heavy duty, outdoor-rated extension cord that is rated (in watts or amps) at least equal to the sum of the connected appliance loads. Check that the entire cord is free of cuts or tears and that the plug has all three prongs, especially a grounding pin.

Never try to power the house wiring by plugging the generator into a wall outlet, a practice known as “backfeeding.” This is an extremely dangerous practice that presents an electrocution risk to utility workers and neighbors served by the same utility transformer. It also bypasses some of the built-in household circuit protection devices.

If you must connect the generator to the house wiring to power appliances, have a qualified electrician install the appropriate equipment in accordance with local electrical codes. Or, check with your utility company to see if it can install an appropriate power transfer switch.

For power outages, permanently installed stationary generators are better suited for providing backup power to the home. Even a properly connected portable generator can become overloaded. This may result in overheating or stressing the generator components, possibly leading to a generator failure.


Fire Hazards

Never store fuel for your generator in the home. Gasoline, propane, kerosene, and other flammable liquids should be stored outside of living areas in properly-labeled, non-glass safety containers.

Do not store them near a fuel-burning appliance, such as a natural gas water heater in a garage. If the fuel is spilled or the container is not sealed properly, invisible vapors from the fuel can travel along the ground and can be ignited by the appliance’s pilot light or by arcs from electric switches in the appliance.

Before refueling the generator, turn it off and let it cool down. Gasoline spilled on hot engine parts could ignite.

Tool Box Talks for the week of Feb 4th- Feb 8th

February 4, 2013 in Uncategorized

Four Seconds to Safety                           



Perhaps the best tool to come along in industrial construction (at least as far as safety is concerned) is the Field Level Risk Assessment or Job Hazard Analysis. Whatever you call it, this is a tool that makes everyone stop and think about the different risks associated with the task. Crews normally gather and write out the JHA or FLRA before doing a job. This exercise greatly reduced the number and severity of injuries where this was done.


The same principle of these risk assessments can be done in our shops. Simply take a four-second “reset”. Take four seconds before starting some new familiar task. This act of refocusing has been shown to reduce the probability of an injury incident by more than 90% versus not taking the four seconds. How hard is that? You may have done the task you are about to perform thousands of times before. In your mind, you know that you could do it with your eyes closed. It is usually not the task itself but some small thing you did not anticipate that causes the incident. You did not notice the debris in front of the tool you were going to pick up. You did not notice somebody placed something on the part you were about to pick up. You did not realize how heavy a piece is that you were asked to help carry.


It is easy to imagine the different activities we do every day and how this applies. For example, getting in a forklift and having a quick look around. We change our thinking from where we are going to focusing on the area, road conditions, other vehicles and so on. This is the “reset” we are talking about.


Believe it or not, four seconds is all it takes. Get in this habit of taking four seconds and you significantly reduce your chance of injury. If you get into the habit of taking chances or simply cruising from job to job, you will eventually be injured.


This four second reset was first instituted on CN Rail. This was part of a strategy to reduce the number of very serious incidents they were having including many amputation injuries. What they found was that their employee knew the rule or procedure to do the job without getting injured but were simply not focused. Even well rested employees were getting caught up in the routine of the day and found themselves daydreaming or thinking about other things. Losing an arm or leg is a very rude awakening.


We highly recommend this four second “reset” as an excellent way to refocus on the job at hand. And we believe that this is one very effective method to prevent injury on and off the job.

Tool Box Talks for the Week of Jan. 28- Feb. 1st

January 28, 2013 in Uncategorized

Happy Monday everyone.  Here are some more tips to help stay safe during this winter season.  Enjoy


Ice Storm Preparedness

Have you ever experienced an ice storm? This is a type of severe weather in which ice coats streets, sidewalks and power lines. It makes transportation extremely hazardous, and it can shut down the electrical power in an entire city, occasionally for days and weeks. Trees and power lines break and fall, sometimes crushing or electrocuting people in the way.

Preparedness is the key to getting through a winter storm with minimum danger and discomfort. So plan what you would do in a weather emergency.

How would you heat your home if the electricity went out? If you are thinking you would just wheel the barbecue indoors from the patio, stop right there. People die during winter storms when they try to use outdoor fuel-burning equipment indoors. The carbon monoxide created by burning fuel builds up in a poorly-ventilated area and can kill the occupants without warning. You should only use a heating device designed for indoor use.

You can keep your home warmer by closing off the rooms you don’t need to use and huddling in the warmest room with all the blankets you can round up. During previous ice storms, many families and their neighbours spent days like this.

What about light? If you’re thinking of candles, that’s another bad idea. Houses go up in flames during winter storms because of candles. Instead, make sure you have battery-operated lights, such as flashlights, and a good supply of batteries.

How about communication? Without electricity, your television, radio and computer won’t do much for you. You need to keep a battery-operated radio in your home for emergencies such as this. You also need a telephone that can be plugged directly into a telephone jack and which can operate without electricity. So if all you have are phones linked to cordless stations and answering machines, make sure you pick up a no-frills telephone to use in an emergency.

Supplies of clean drinking water and foods that can be eaten without cooking are important survival supplies in any season.

If you have special needs such as medicine, keep enough on hand to get you through a few days of being stuck at home or in a shelter.

Keep an eye on your neighbours, particularly those who are elderly, caring for young children or living alone. Weather extremes are hardest on the old, the young and those in poor health, so help them to stay warm, dry, fed and cared for.

Winter storms claim lives when people are trying to work in extraordinary circumstances. Shovelling snow or doing other heavy work in the cold weather can cause heart attacks for those in poor health or unaccustomed to such work. And operating chainsaws during disaster cleanup has proved fatal for persons without experience with these dangerous tools.

Tool Box Talk for the week of Jan. 21-Jan.25

January 21, 2013 in Uncategorized

Hello Out there,

Knowing how to be safe is important.  That is why we will be blogging a new Tool Box Talk every week.  These Talks will cover a variety of safety topics.


Getting Ready for Winter Work                                                            January 21 – January 25, 2013


Working outside in the winter can be a dirty job, but many of us have to do it. Are you ready for winter work? Here are some reminders about dressing for the weather and staying strong, healthy and safe:

  • Two big concerns of working or simply spending time outdoors in cold weather are frostbite and hypothermia. Both can occur at much higher temperatures than many people realize. For example, exposed skin can start to freeze at just 28 degrees Fahrenheit (-2 degrees Celsius) and deep frostbite can cause blood clots and even gangrene. Hypothermia is a potentially fatal condition caused by loss of body temperature, even in winter conditions people might not consider particularly nasty. Symptoms include fatigue, nausea, confusion, light-headedness and profuse sweating. Without medical treatment the victim can lose consciousness and die. Between 1979 and 1995, an average of 723 Americans died each year as the result of hypothermia.
  • Wear the right gloves for the work you are doing. Gloves should have enough insulation to keep you warm and prevent frostbite, but be thin enough so you can feel what you are doing if you are manipulating controls or tools. Gloves which are too thick can also make your hands and wrists work too hard trying to hold on to objects, causing repetitive strain injury.
  • Dress in layers of light-weight clothing which keep you warmer than a single layer of heavy clothes. Remove layers as necessary to prevent overheating and perspiring which can lead to chills or hypothermia later. Remember that wet clothing is 20 times less warm than dry clothing. Wear a hat and you’ll stay much warmer when working in cold conditions. As much as half your body heat can go up in steam off the top of a bare head. Protect your ears from frostbite as well by wearing a hat that will cover your ears, or use ear muffs.
  • While donning a scarf or muffler might help keep your neck warm in the cold weather, it could also kill you if you work near rotating machinery. Check your winter wardrobe for entanglement hazards such as loose sleeves and dangling drawstrings.
  • Keep your safety eyewear from fogging up in the cold. Investigate anti-fog coatings and wipes to see if these products are appropriate for your eyewear. If you have to keep taking off your safety eyewear because it fogs up, it isn’t protecting you.
  • Look at the soles of your winter footwear. Your shoes or boots should have adequate tread to prevent slips and falls on wet or icy surfaces. For extremely slippery situations, you can attach clogs or cleats to your footwear. Slow down when walking across slippery surfaces and be especially careful on ladders, platforms and stairways.
  • Eat winter-weight meals. This does not mean a high fat diet, but one with enough calories and nutrients to give you the fuel you need. Start with a breakfast of whole grain cereal and toast.
  • Get plenty of rest. Working in the cold and even traveling to and from work in the winter takes lots of energy. Cold weather can strain your heart, even if you aren’t overexerting yourself, so be sure to pace yourself when lifting heavy objects or shovelling snow.

Did you know that 70 per cent of deaths during snow or ice storms occur in vehicles? It pays to carry blankets or sleeping bags, matches, candles, a snow shovel and sandbags, a flashlight, and non-perishable food such as cereal bars, in case a winter storm sidelines you in your vehicle.