Health and safety practices for the cold holiday season.
Posted December 29, 2020
Cold fronts have recently swept across the United States, reminding us that it is winter. While the colder months can bring a lot of wonderful moments, such as cozy fires, or maybe some snow days, it does bring some dangers.
There are a few areas where we can practice caution while at work or while we work at home:
- Driving in inclement weather
- Traveling during the holidays
- Testing for carbon monoxide
During this time of year, temperature drops and earlier sunsets can lead to hazardous driving conditions in some cases. Cold weather precipitation such as snow, ice, and sleet can compile on roadways.
Prepare your car for winter weather by testing your battery. Most auto store chains can help check this for you and prevent a dead battery. It is also a great time to check your tire pressure, wiper blades, and cooling system. Keep your gas tank full if you are expecting a storm in the area.
Once you are ready to hit the road, make sure you can see from your mirrors or cameras and remove and debris like dirt and ice. If the conditions are poor on the road, give yourself extra room between cars, avoid cruise control, and avoid quick acceleration or deceleration.
If you do not need to travel, staying home is always a good option. If you have to leave your home, sharing travel plans can be an extra layer of safety.
If you are traveling for the holidays, being prepared for what to expect on the road can make the experience much more enjoyable. According to the National Safety Council, traveling by car during the holidays has the highest fatality rate of any major form of transportation based on fatalities per passenger mile.
A focused and well-rested driver is a safe driver. Stay off cellular devices so you can focus on the road and other drivers. Give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination so you are not rushing or making quick driving decisions.
Make sure everyone in the vehicle is wearing a seat belt. If you are attending a celebration, always designate a sober driver.
Carbon monoxide poisoning
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that can lead to an unexpected illness. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 400 people in the United States die from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning every year. Symptoms can mimic the flu and can include headaches, dizziness, weakness, or confusion.
Warming your car in your garage might be convenient, but is incredibly dangerous as it creates a build-up of carbon monoxide. Do not run a car in a garage that is connected to your home, even if the garage door is open.
Heating your home with a gas oven, flameless chemical heater, or a generator can also produce fatal levels of carbon monoxide. A space heater, wood fireplace, or even a community assistance program can help if you need additional heat.
Carbon monoxide detectors are also available and can be quickly installed in your home or workplace. These detectors, which work similarly to fire detectors, are relatively inexpensive and can quickly detect and alert you so everyone in the building can step outside for fresh air. If the alarm does go off and someone is experiencing symptoms, call 911 and do not reenter the home. If no symptoms are experienced, call a professional to check the space.
SynTerra professionals hope you have a happy and healthy holiday and that these tips can be useful throughout winter. Please contact Paul Tarquinio or Bill Husk for further assistance regarding health and safety topics. Our experts can assist individuals or teams with safety programs, hazard assessments, PPE selection, or general training.