Show Your Workers You Care About Their Safety This Winter

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Show Your Workers You Care About Their Safety This Winter

In the Midwest, it’s never too early to start thinking about winter safety. The upcoming drop in temperatures can cause safety issues for your workers and potential damage to your equipment. Making sure workers are properly equipped and educated in safety precautions to take during cold weather can help reduce accidents and keep your jobsite or facility running smoothly.

Watch out for Cold-Induced Health Issues

Extreme cold is known to cause various illnesses, but did you know workers can still suffer from many cold-related illnesses even at above freezing temperatures? Strong winds and damp environments can cause body temperatures to drop to dangerous levels. Learn more about some of the illnesses to guard your workers against this winter.

Put the Coffee Down

Coffee can make you feel warm, but unfortunately it doesn’t actually warm your body. Because the beverage is hot and the caffeine increases the heart rate, coffee just gives an illusion of warmth, which can cause more harm than good. Encourage your workers to stay hydrated with water or an electrolyte drink as the temperatures start to drop.

Suit Up For the Cold

Safety gear is required when working in hazardous environment, and proper winter gear should be required when working in hazardously cold environments. Staying warm and dry makes a huge difference in your workers’ health.

Here are a few of our featured cold weather products:

Heat PacksWinter Liners

Cold Weather Gloves

Sweatshirts

Limit Exposure to the Cold

Keep your eye on the weather so you can know when the weather starts to get dangerous. When it’s extremely cold, make sure workers can have frequent, short breaks in a warm environment. If possible, schedule work in the warmest part of the day to minimize their exposure outdoors.  You can download a weather app to your smartphone so you have up-to-date forecasts at your fingertips.

Watch Your Step

With winter comes slippery surfaces and an increased potential for trips and falls. Equip your workers with appropriate footwear to keep them upright. French Gerleman has a wide selection of shoes and boots which provide the grip they need, and can keep their feet warm and dry this winter.

Clear off the Snow First

Winter weather can bring a host of new hazards every day, from slippery surfaces to fallen branches. Supervisors should inspect the workplace before work begins to check for any hazards that need to be addressed. Clear snow and ice away before starting the job, and salt large areas of ice as needed. Taking the time to prepare the workplace at the beginning of the day will save you time later.

Don’t Forget Your Vehicles

Vehicles also can suffer damage due to cold, and should be checked to ensure they are working properly before use. Make sure every vehicle is equipped with a winter emergency and first aid kits in case of an accident.

Simple precautions can make all the difference when dealing with cold weather. Remember, our weather can be erratic, so don’t get caught by surprise.  Contact info@frenchgerleman.com or your French Gerleman Account Manager today to learn more!


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Protect Your Employees from Cold Stress

In the Midwest, people can be complacent about protecting themselves against cold weather until it is TOO cold. Cold weather can cause serious health emergencies to workers who are exposed to the elements. In our region, cold stress can occur when temperatures drop below freezing and the wind speeds increase, causing the body to rapidly lose heat.

What are the types of cold-related illnesses? Here are several cold stress issues to be aware of and watch out for as the temperatures drop:

Cold Stress
Cold stress occurs when the skin temperature drops, causing the internal body temperature to decrease as well. This could lead to serious health problems, tissue damage and possibly death.

Hypothermia
Hypothermia, is the most common form of cold weather illness, occurs when the body heat is lost quicker than it can be replaced, meaning the normal body temperature (98.6°F) drops to less than 95°F. This can occur at temperatures above 40°F if a person becomes chilled from sweat, rain or submersion in cold water.

Frostbite
Frostbite is caused by the freezing of the skin and its underlying tissues. The lower the temperature drops, the more quickly frostbite can occur. Frostbite most commonly affects the extremities, specifically the feet and hands. In severe cases, amputation may be required.

Trench Foot
Trench foot, also known as immersion foot, is caused by prolonged exposure to wet and cold. Surprisingly, trench foot can occur at temperatures as high as 60°F if the feet are constantly wet. To prevent heat loss, the body constricts the blood vessels to stop circulation to the feet. This causes the skin tissue to begin to die because of the lack of oxygen and nutrients needed and the buildup of toxic products.

Chilblains
Chilblains are caused by repeated exposure of the skin to temperatures just above freezing all the way up to 60°F. This exposure to the cold causes damage to the capillary beds in the skin. This damage is permanent and the redness and itching will return with additional exposure to the cold. This typically occurs on ears, cheeks, fingers and toes.

Now that you see the potential ailments brought on by the cold weather, how do you protect yourself and your employees? The main way to protect yourself is by wearing the proper cold weather clothing. We have a wide range of products in our inventory that will help insulate you from the cold weather and cold stress.

Protective Clothing

PIP Sweatshirts
Sweatshirts are a great option in our region for cold weather protection since we don’t get the frigid cold and wind chill as our northern neighbors. We typically do not need coats until the wind chill enters the single digits.

PIP offers a great sweatshirt that we recommend to our customers. It is an ANSI, Class 3, quarter-zip pullover sweatshirt with a black bottom. It is reflective and perfect for construction, survey crews, shipyards, utilities and anywhere that high visibility is needed. Class 3 apparel is intended for workers that require the highest level of visibility, have high task loads and need to be visible throughout a full range of body motions.

glove

Gloves
The hands are one of the first places where people will experience the cold weather. Superior Glove offers a great glove perfect for those working in the cold. The Endura Deluxe Winter Goat-Grain Driver with WaterStop™/Oilbloc™ and Double Weight Thinsulate™ Liner is double the weight of the lining in their standard winter driver gloves. Even though the fingers are fully sock lined, these gloves remain very dexterous.

Superior Glove uses a special machine that tests each glove, bringing down the temperature to test their cold weather capability. They stamp each glove with its temperature rating, which helps you easily select the correct glove for your weather.

head gearHats/Protective Head Gear
PIP offers several great cold weather head protection options that are great for cold weather work conditions such as construction, wood work, oil drilling, maintenance, refineries and much more. The PIP 1-Layer Fleece Winter Liner is perfect for under a hard hat or helmet to keep the neck, shoulders and ears warm and protected from the wind.

The PIP Rib Knit Hard Hat Tube Liner is the perfect option to keep the ears and neck warm and protected from the wind. It is designed to fit over hard hats and stretched to fit snugly over most hard hat styles.


We can also do custom logoing on sweatshirts, hats and other cold weather items, as well as custom size selection. We will bring samples in various sizes to your team to try on ensuring each employee is ordering the correct size, saving time on returns.

Interested in learning more about cold weather protection or placing an order? Contact your French Gerleman Account Manager or contact us to learn more.

Sources:
CDC
United States Department of Labor-OSHA Cold Stress Guide