Enjoying winter holidays safely in 2020

Along with COVID-19 health and safety measures, remember to keep safety in mind for the usual seasonal activities like climbing ladders and driving in winter conditions. 

Follow ladder safety when putting up decorations

Putting up holiday lights is one tradition we can still enjoy while staying close to home. This year, I notice many people putting up more lights than usual, earlier in the season.

“About 60 percent of British Columbians plan to put up outdoor lights this year, and more people are expected to put up large inflatables or structured LED decor such as reindeer,” reads this CBC article, House parties are out, but festive light displays expected to be bigger, brighter this year.

People often use ladders to put up and take down winter lights. But before you take your next step onto a rung, please review your ladder safety. It may come as a surprise to hear that every year in B.C., hundreds of people are seriously injured while using ladders. It’s even more hazardous in wet, icy, cold weather.

Tips for safe ladder use include the following:

  • Select the appropriate ladder for the job.
  • Inspect the ladder to ensure it is in good working condition.
  • Always set up the ladder on a firm, level surface.
  • Maintain three points of contact: 2 feet and 1 hand, or 2 hands and 1 foot.
  • Wear slip-proof footwear.
  • Don’t carry heavy or bulky objects while climbing up or down a ladder.
  • Check for power lines before you start, and make sure you maintain a minimum distance of 3 metres from high-voltage power lines.

See more ladder safety resources.

Drive for winter conditions

Everyone on the road — whether driving for work or for pleasure — needs to be prepared for winter conditions. Take the Shift Into Winter Driving Quiz to test your knowledge.

Employers whose workers drive on the job have a duty to plan, implement, and monitor a winter driving safety program. See Winter Driving Safety, a new online course that takes about 1.5 to 2 hours to complete.

Protect workers from cold exposure

Workers in many industries face outdoor cold-weather exposures on the job. Take precautions when working in cold weather, including these tips:

Photo of person working on snowy mountain, wearing cold weather gear and talking into a two-way radio

Photo credit: © WorkSafeBC (Workers’ Compensation
Board of B.C.), used with permission

  • Wear a warm head covering.
  • Layer clothing to trap heat and allow sweat to escape.
  • Protect hands and feet. Wear waterproof boots and always wear gloves or mittens.
  • Pace any vigorous work with scheduled breaks away from the cold. Bear in mind that fatigue is a risk factor in the cold.
  • Stay hydrated.

Do your part to prevent the spread of COVID-19

“This is not forever, but it is for now,” says Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer. She has said this many times about the physical distancing protocols we need to follow to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe. See information on Prevention & Risk from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

I’d like to wish everyone happy holidays. Do let me know, in the comments below, how you are planning to make the most of the season this year.

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