Tips for a safe and happy winter 2018

The holiday season is here. Check out these holiday safety tips, whether you’re on vacation or at work, and share your tips for staying safe this winter. 

Photo of woman in dark hooded coat and mitts clearing snow from car windows

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It’s time for my annual list of safety tips for winter. Please keep them in mind, share them with your contacts, and add your own tips in the Comments section.

Driving in winter

We need to take extra safety precautions when driving during these colder and wetter months. See Shift Into Winter for resources on winter road safety, whether you drive as part of your job or for pleasure. Some tips include:

  • Consider delaying the trip if the weather is bad
  • Prepare yourself by planning your route ahead of time
  • Prepare your vehicle by installing winter tires or chains (see my post Proper planning and practice key for winter tires and chains)
  • Drive for the conditions by maintaining a safe following distance from the vehicle ahead of you

Working in the cold

Employers need to do a cold stress assessment and implement an exposure control plan to prevent injuries to workers exposed to low temperatures. See this 2016 news release from WorkSafeBC, Cold snap prompts safety reminder for workers, for cold stress prevention tips, including:

  • Wear a hat — body heat escapes through the head
  • Stay hydrated but limit the amount of coffee and tea
  • Layer clothing to allow perspiration to escape and to trap heat

Preparing holiday food

’Tis the season for party food and family dinners. See these holiday food safety tips from Health Canada to avoid foodborne illness. A few tips they suggest are:

  • Make sure you kill harmful bacteria by cooking foods to the proper internal temperature (e.g., 180°F for whole poultry)
  • Keep raw foods separate from cooked and ready-to-eat foods to avoid cross-contamination
  • Wash hands, contact surfaces (like kitchen counters), and utensils often to avoid the spread of bacteria

Using decorative lights safely

The Canada Safety Council reminds us to be careful with holiday lighting. Here’s some advice from their 2018 campaign, Lighting Safety is a Bright Idea:

  • Don’t use damaged extension cords
  • Plug in your outdoor lights to ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets
  • Don’t plug in more than one space heater into an outlet

Walking on snow and ice

Take an icy cold snap, add rain, and up goes the risk of slipping and falling. In my post Avoiding slips and falls when it’s icy or wet out, I share how one way to prevent slipping is to walk like a penguin, which involves:

  • Bending slightly and walking flat footed
  • Pointing your feet out slightly like a penguin
  • Keeping your centre of gravity over your feet as much as possible
  • Taking shorter, shuffle-like steps

And of course, don’t forget to consider your footwear: choose slip-resistant soles or soles with a strong tread to help keep you upright.

Do you have any winter safety tips to share? Do tell!


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