Working Safely Outdoors in an Alberta Winter
It comes down to knowing what clothes to wear and in what order. Wicking layer – move the perspiration from your skin. insulation layer – keep body heat in, warmth layer – added insulation that can be easily removed if necessary. Overheating is an issue when its really cold and we’re bundled up. Then a wind break layer – to keep those pesky north winds from chilling you to the bone. Wind burn, sun burn and freezing can happen quickly when outdoors at -25, and the wind chill factor is real. Keep your head, face and neck well protected and remember to protect your eyes from the harmful reflective rays by wearing tinted safety glasses. Don’t forget to protect those finger and toes – glove liners and wool socks.
Take as frequent breaks as the work allows. Fingers & toes work better when warm. Add or remove clothing as the weather changes. Take time to add fuel to the body properly, energy drinks and chocolate bars are not advised.
The body burns more calories to stay warm and perform work when it is cold outside. Warm up from the inside out with heated beverages – try to avoid caffeine. Make sure that you are putting sufficient fuel into your body to keep up with the
If you are in and out of a heated building to do tasks such as shipping & receiving or material storage – make sure that you take the time to properly “gear up” before heading out into the frigid temperatures. Include a hat, gloves and a good heavy jacket. Consider a balaclava type hat to provide facial, ear and neck protection. Remember that you may have expected to be outside for only a few minutes and on many occasions have found yourself outside for much longer.
...Because safety is a matter of principle.