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working in winter weather

  • Common Sense Working in Cold Conditions

    A New Year and a new start. Checking in to see how you’re doing with your “New Year Revolutions”. January in Wisconsin has been brutal so far, and those I talk to across the country including Canada have been singing the blues about the weather as well. This type of weather presents a whole new challenge not just to you and your body personally, but to employers who are charged with providing information, and safeguards for common sense working in cold conditions.

    “We’ve only just begun” as Karen Carpenter once sang. Winter is a marathon and not a sprint; it does call for common sense. Please evaluate your risk factors and understand the fundamentals and sign of “Hypothermia”, cold environment injuries and illnesses. Learn the PPE requirements and how to use them. This years “arctic vortex” included some record breaking cold across the country. Your body is an interesting and complex creation, and not necessarily built to withstand extended periods of cold or heat for that matter. It adjusts itself to prevent heat loss and conversely overheating as well, but it’s up to you to prepare and understand how your body works in either extreme. Of course your employer is responsible for providing a complete written plan, the tools, environment and supervision as part of OSHA’s general duty clause.

    I do keep referring to “Common Sense” I raised 4 sons and a daughter. Not once did I send them out in the snow barefoot, or ice skating with an ill-fitting pair of skates, and their mom always shouted at them as they left the door “Are you wearing your hat”? Do you have your mittens? Do you have jumper cables in the car? They all learned to love ice fishing, skiing, skating and hockey, those things that make winter move along just a little quicker. Now they are passing on the common sense to my grandchildren.

    This year truly has been a challenge, and I will be happy to see it in my tail lights. Meanwhile use common sense working in cold conditions.

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