Cold & Winter

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Cold & Winter

Postby John Bently » Sun Dec 15, 2013 12:35 pm

With the Winter season and cold that comes with it there are many precautions we can take to help make the days go smoother.

Proper clothing for the weather conditions and protecting exposed skin. It doesn't take long to freeze exposed skin in colder temperatures especially with wind blowing. Cold metal surfaces can also present a hazard. If a handle or latch is cold and you grasp it with a bare hand you may burn yourself. A cold burn can result when your skin comes in contact with something that is extremely cold. It can cause damage to the skin and tissue beneath. If your truck or equipment has been sitting out all night in sub-zero temperatures it is likely there are cold handles and latches on doors and compartments. Gate handles, trailer jacks and chains, fuel cans and pump handles can all be very cold. It can be difficult to deal with some things with heavy gloves on. I usually have a pair of lighter weight gloves which allow more dexterity. The new style of mechanics gloves are good for that. Cold burns are different than frostbite.

Slippery surfaces can be a challenge for walking and driving. If you are going up on a roof for a dryer vent you need to be careful how you get on the roof and where you walk. If you use a ladder to get on the roof you should look at the surface the ladder is placed on. Slippery ground can allow the bottom of the ladder to kick out. This can cause injury or may leave you stranded on a roof with no way to get down. When walking on the roof you may encounter frost which can cause a slip and fall. Scheduling roof work at certain times such as mid-day or afternoon can help reduce exposure to frost on surfaces.

When driving you should allow yourself additional stopping distances. Driving heavy trucks or pulling a trailer can increase the time you need to stop on slippery road surfaces. Also remember other drivers may not be as cautious as you, so you want to consider other drivers sliding and hitting your vehicle. Try not to put yourself in harms way.

Have equipment and supplies to deal with circumstances. Jumper cables, a shovel, traction aids and a chain or tow rope can be helpful to have for yourself and others. We have all these items on our service vehicles. In our sweep vehicles we always have a little ash from fireplaces for traction. Ash is amazing for traction and has helped us in many slippery situations. We also have traction mats which are extremely handy to get a vehicle un-stuck. A collapsible shovel to dig a little snow out of the way. If I need to pull something I use a chain and my vac truck. The rear bumper is 4" x 4" tubular steel. Wrap a chain around it, put the truck into low gear and pull. I sometimes have a small hand winch (come-along) depending on conditions and where we're going. Extra long jumper cables to reach between vehicles with ease. I have a jumper box as well but they seem to be dead when you need them. Being able to get yourself out of a bad situation is well worth time and the space in your vehicle.

Helping others at this time of year can be beneficial as well. They will probably remember "the nice person in the the big truck" that helped them out when they slipped off the road or when the battery wouldn't start their car. Is there lettering on your service vehicle? :)

If you have employees you may want to have a training day for winter conditions and driving. You can also go through procedures for helping others, what you can do and when to call for additional help.

If you are prepared and ready for the unexpected you are ahead of the game.

What things do you or your company do for Winter conditions?

John Bently
Posts: 698
Joined: Sat Jun 04, 2005 5:52 pm

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