Includes FREE Downloadable Winter Safety Checklist
For most Canadians winter is a way of life. However, the season is not without hazards. Practicing safety is the best way to enjoy and embrace our harsh and cold Canadian winters.
For the many people who work outdoors, the coming season represents a time of heightened awareness and hyper-vigilance, because working in extreme freezing temperatures is hazardous. Risks include frostbite, windburn, dehydration, and hypothermia.
Although it’s a beautiful time of year, winter can be quite hazardous, both at work and at home. Consider the following hazards that are increased during the winter season:
- Slips, trips, and falls on slippery or wet surfaces
- Injuries sustained while shovelling or clearing snow
- Motor vehicle accidents resulting from poor road conditions/visibility
- Injury and illness associated with extremely cold temperatures
- Risk of injury from falling ice or snow
- Drowning risk due to thin ice on bodies of water
Working in Extreme Temperatures
For those who work outdoors, the work doesn’t stop when the temperatures drop. Working in extreme freezing temperatures is hazardous. Risks include frostbite, windburn, dehydration, and hypothermia.
To stay safe at work through the winter, consider the following:
- Wear appropriate layers and PPE designed to protect you from the elements
- Keep hydrated through the day
- Drink warm liquids throughout the day, avoiding dehydrating caffeinated drinks
- Take breaks to warm up
- Protect the extremities – furthest from the core, they get colder faster
- Understand exposure limits
- Participate in workplace safety training
Staying Safe at Home
Your safety at home is just as important as safety at work. When it comes to staying safe at home through the winter months, it’s not just about you. It’s about your family, friends, and visitors, too.
To stay safe at home through the winter, consider the following:
- Keep your home heated even when you’re away to prevent freezing of pipes
- Always supervise fires and candles
- Keep driveways and walkways clear of snow and ice
- Salt, sand steps and walkways
- If snow or icicles must be knocked down, do so carefully
- Keep furnace vents clear of snow and ice
- Keep a supply of canned goods and candles in the event you find yourself snowed in
Staying Safe on the Road
We Canadians certainly pride ourselves on being able to drive in any road conditions. For most of us, winter driving is unavoidable. However, there are some dangers out there on the icy roads, and it’s vital to take precautions when driving in snow.
To stay safe on the roads this winter, consider the following:
- Snow tires make a huge difference when driving in ice and snow, and most insurance companies offer a discount if you have them
- Keep a car safety kit and non-perishable snacks in the trunk in case you get stuck or leave the road and have to wait for help
- Keep the gas tank full at all times so that you can run the car and heat if necessary while waiting for help
- Keep blankets in the trunk
- When conditions or visibility are poor, stay home unless travel is essential
- Have a mechanic check your car over to ensure the battery, tires, wiper blades, and other elements are all in sound working order
- Keep a snow brush in your car and always clear away all snow from the sides and top before driving
- Take winter driving safety training
BEST Safety Training Can Help
We know there’s a lot to remember when it comes to winter safety. That’s why we’ve created a FREE downloadable checklist for you to use to make sure you have the safest winter yet.
BEST Safety Training offers a variety of online winter safety courses for your safety and convenience, so employees can safely participate in training while maintaining a safe and healthy physical distance. Titles include:
Winter Driving Fundamentals
Working and Driving in Extreme Cold
Winter Safety Training
Cold Stress Awareness