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The True Cost of Not Enforcing Employee Ice Safety

icy signWith summer in the air, it’s easy to forget about the safety protocols involved when working in icy environments. But ice safety should be a year round concern for employers, especially when considering the true cost of not enforcing safety measures such as wearing ice cleats. This is because ice is a leading cause of slip-and-fall accidents in winter, and slip-and-fall accidents themselves make up a large percentage of annual worker compensation claims. In fact, here are some eye-opening statistics about slip, trip, and fall type incidents from the US Department of Labor and OSHA:

  • Make up approximately 25% of all general industry accidents
  • Account for more than 95 million lost work days annually
  • Trigger 15% of all accidental workplace deaths (second only to motor vehicle accidents)
  • Are the leading cause of accidents in restaurants, hotels, and public buildings
  • Result in more than $1.8 billion worth of worker’s compensation claims each year
  • Are a contributing factor in steeply rising insurance rates (currently averaging 30% per annum)

These costs, both in terms of real money and lost productivity, show why it’s important for business owners to stay on top of ice safety enforcement even in the warmer months. Things to do now include updating safety posters and reminders in break rooms and locker rooms; reviewing disciplinary procedures for employees that fail to wear ice cleats when required; inspecting stored ice cleats to ensure the storage environment is holding up well; and visiting CozyWinters to order new equipment for recent hires.

Once your employees realize how serious you are about enforcing ice safety they will begin following the rules more diligently, so it’s in everyone’s best interest to keep the conversation going year round.

 

Find Your Perfect Sleeping Room Temperature

sleep problems temperatureIf asked to cite factors that contribute to a good night’s sleep, most people would probably list things like a supportive mattress, comfortable pillow, darkened room, and quiet environment. They might even go so far as to include on the list various lifestyle choices such as refraining from alcohol and caffeine consumption in the few hours before bedtime and banishing screens (smartphones, tablets, computers, and televisions) from the sleeping room.

But while all of those variables are indeed important to getting restful sleep, the most crucial part of the equation is ambient temperature. That’s because the ambient temperature in the sleeping room has a direct influence on body temperature, which in turn plays a major role in the sleep cycle. Your body temperature fluctuates throughout the day and begins to drop to a lower set point when your circadian rhythm indicates that it’s time to sleep. If the sleeping environment is too warm your body temperature will also remain elevated, thus making comfortable sleep more difficult to achieve.

So how can you find your perfect sleeping room temperature? Sleep experts advise settling on a “thermally neutral” ambient temperature (one in which your body neither shivers nor sweats) that is comfortable for you. For most people this typically falls between 60 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit year round. Since that’s a fairly wide range, the best way to determine your personal number is to test different temperatures and record the results.

Furthermore, if you live in an area where temperatures vary significantly with the seasons, then you’ll likely need the help of specialized products to regulate room temperature, including some or all of the following:

  • SL-Cool-Pad_BThermostat adjustable heating and cooling units, such as central heat/air conditioning, window AC units, and ceiling fans
  • ChiliPad heating and cooling mattress pad that warms or cools your body based on custom temperature settings
  • Heated mattress pad, electric blanket, or heated foot-of-the-bed warmer for wintertime use
  • Cool Pad breathable cooling body pad for spring and summer use
  • Temperature regulating pillow that either heats or cools in response to the skin’s microclimate

If you’re having trouble getting restful sleep night after night, your bedroom temperature might be to blame. Try controlling the ambient temperature using one of the methods suggested above until you succeed in creating the perfect sleep environment for your tastes.

Help Prevent Trench Foot with a Boot Dryer

wet bootsTrench foot is a painful ailment that affects the skin, tissue, and nerves in the feet. It is caused by prolonged exposure to damp conditions or lengthy immersion in cold, unsanitary water, and can result in numbness, swelling, discoloration, blistering, and bleeding under the skin. If not identified and treated in a timely manner, gangrene may set in.

Although trench foot is most commonly associated with the deplorable conditions faced by soldiers in World War I, it is still a threat in modern times. People who work in and around water, including loggers, fishermen, and sewer inspectors, as well as soldiers, sailors, and Coast Guard personnel, may all be at risk and should therefore take the following precautions to help prevent trench foot:

innova 15 pair

  • Change into clean, dry shoes and socks as frequently as possible during the work shift
  • Wear special waterproof sock liners to keep feet dry
  • Sprinkle talcum powder on feet, toes, and the insides of shoes or boots
  • Rotate between two or more pairs of work shoes or boots to ensure starting the shift with dry footwear
  • Wash and dry feet thoroughly after work

Employers can also help prevent trench foot by making a boot dryer available at the workplace. CozyWinters sells both wall-mounted and portable industrial boot dryers that can dry from 2 to 60 pairs of boots quickly and completely. We also accept custom orders for nonstandard configurations and capacities, so don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss your commercial boot dryer needs.

While certainly not as common as it once was, trench foot can still be an issue for workers and service people in positions that involve long-term exposure to water. Fortunately, the condition can be prevented by taking the precautionary steps listed above and using boot dryers in the workplace.

Mother’s Day Gift Guide

Mother’s Day is May 8 this year, which means there’s not much time left to buy a great gift for your mom, grandma, aunt, or other influential woman in your life. Fortunately, with the help of this handy gift guide and our express shipping option, you’ll be able to get your shopping done before the deadline no matter how many people are on your list. Here are some of our bestselling products that are sure to be a hit this Mother’s Day.

1 massage chairFor keeping warm while on the go

Active moms will love getting new gear to use or wear when traveling or participating in favorite outdoor winter activities such as hiking, skiing, motorcycling, and watching sports. If your mom is the type that doesn’t let bad weather slow her down, then check out our:

  • Deluxe heated car seat cover
  • Travel electric blanket
  • Battery heated ski gloves, glove liners, or mittens
  • Battery heated women’s soft shell jacket
  • Heated Puffy Jacket by WarmGear
  • Battery heated socks
  • Battery heated stadium seat cushion

1 throwFor keeping warm at home

Does your mom always have cold hands and feet in winter, no matter the indoor temperature? Or does she like to keep the thermostat turned down in order to save money on heating bills? If so, she’ll fall in love with one of these great items:

  • Heated indoor/outdoor slippers
  • RugHeat heating system for use under area rugs
  • Electric foot of the bed warmer
  • Heated electric blanket or throw
  • Heated towel warmer
  • Heated chair cover

For keeping pets comfy

If your mom is a dog or cat lover above all else, then she will wholeheartedly welcome any of the following 1 heated doggy bedproducts that are designed to make her pet’s life cozier:

  • Outdoor heated pet bed or kennel mat
  • Heated dog bowl for keeping water at a drinkable temperature
  • Self-warming pet beds
  • Heated cat beds
  • Cooling pads, cooling collars, and cooling pet jackets for use in summer

All of the gifts listed here and plenty more are available right now at CozyWinters, so you’re sure to find something your mom will enjoy. Visit our site today to place your order and remember to select Express Shipping at checkout for delivery before May 8.

Tips for Spring Hiking

spring hikingIt may sound counterintuitive, but some hikers actually get into more trouble on the trail in spring than in a harsher season like winter. The main reason for this is the seemingly good weather, which lulls less experienced hikers into a false sense of security and causes them to embark on their adventures without adequate preparation. But spring weather can be every bit as unpredictable as winter weather, which is why gearing up for adverse conditions is vital to having a good outing. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you pack for the trails:

  • Dress in light layers so you can add or remove clothing as needed.
  • Wear (or pack) gaiters to prevent your hiking boots and socks from getting soaked with water or mud on messy trails.
  • Carry a pair of ice cleats just in case you encounter a section of trail that’s still covered in snow or ice.
  • Use hiking or trekking poles to help ascertain the depth of any puddles, creeks, or streams you may have to cross. Spring rains and melting snow can make these types of crossings deceptively dangerous, so use extra caution around water.
  • If your hike will span multiple days, bring a portable boot dryer—such as the DryGuy Force Dry DX—to ensure your boots are ready to go when you are.
  • Check the weather forecast before you leave and continue to monitor it throughout the day so you can be aware of changing conditions.dry guy portable

Spring hiking is a great way to get back to nature after the long, cold winter. Use these tips in addition to the common precautions you take for every hike (packing extra water, a compass, first-aid kit, etc.) for a safe and fun experience.

Pet Friendly Spring Vacation Tips

dogs_on_the_beach-1200x600

Going on spring vacation is made all the better if you can bring your pet along for the journey. That way you don’t have to worry about finding a responsible sitter or leaving your furry friend at a kennel for the duration of your trip. And of course you get to enjoy some quality bonding time with your cat or dog while visiting some amazing places.

But pet friendly vacations don’t just happen; they require a lot of research and planning to go off without a hitch, so take these tips into consideration before you depart:

  • Choose your destination wisely to ensure the distance and method of travel (e.g. car or airplane) are suited to your pet’s temperament and age.
  • If traveling by air, book only direct flights and stick with airlines that allow your pet to fly in the cabin rather than the cargo hold. Most airlines will only allow pets in the cabin if their carrier will fit under the cabin seats. Also many airlines will only allow a limited number of pets per flight, so be sure to book your pets at the same time that you are booking your flight, otherwise you could get to the airport on your travel day and not be allowed on the flight with your pet.dog travel
  • If traveling by car, keep your pet restrained in a Dog Digs Portable Pet Crate (or similar product), both for the animal’s safety and to avoid distracted driving.
  • Understand that even in pet friendly hotels or motels, there may be restrictions regarding the size and number of animals permitted in each room. When traveling with a large dog or multiple pets, be sure to confirm that they will be allowed at your chosen lodgings. Many hotels will not allow you to leave your pet in the hotel room when you aren’t there, so make sure to get answers to these questions before booking.
  • Plan your itinerary with your pet in mind. For example, outdoorsy type activities such as hiking and camping would be much more appropriate than whole afternoons spent at museums, galleries, and other venues where pets are not allowed.
  • Never leave your pet unattended in a vehicle, even if you crack the windows and use cooling products like the Hound Cooler Pet Bed or Kool Collar dog collar. Interior temperatures can rise to life-threatening levels very quickly even in spring, so it’s not worth your pet’s life to take this risk.
  • Bring your pet’s favorite toys and bedding to reduce anxiety and help him feel secure while away from home.
  • Make sure your pet always wears a collar with an ID tag containing your name and cell phone number. (Even if they have a microchip!)

Taking your pet on spring vacation with the rest of the family can lead to happy adventures and lasting memories for all, so use these tips to help ensure a safe trip!

Winter Wrap-Up: Ice Cleats

wintertraxIce cleats must be sized, worn, and used according to manufacturer’s instructions in order to provide extra traction, grip, and stability on icy terrain. Failure to do so could lead to the very kind of slip-and-fall accidents ice cleats are designed to prevent.

In a similar vein, ice cleats must also be stored and cared for properly during those months when employees return to their ordinary footwear because outdoor walkways are clear of snow and ice. Taking good care of ice cleats during the off-season helps prolong product life and ensures your safety gear will perform as expected next winter. Here are some general care and storage tips that are applicable to most types of ice cleats:

  • Thoroughly clean the product to remove all visible traces of dirt and salt, which can begin to degrade the rubber soles or rust the metal spikes after long-term exposure.
  • While cleaning, visually inspect the soles and individual spikes for signs of damage, including rips, tears, and uneven wear. Replace any damaged cleats that you discover.
  • Label or otherwise mark employee cleats so that the same pair can be distributed to the same person next winter.
  • Designate a specific storage area for the cleats, such as a cabinet, closet, pegged wallboard, or (if you only have a few pairs), drawer. The storage space should be kept dry and pest-free throughout the offseason.
  • Periodically check the storage environment to ensure it is holding up as expected.

Well maintained ice cleats are vital to protecting employees against injuries resulting from slip-and-fall incidents in snowy or icy conditions. Take care of your company’s winter safety gear by cleaning, inspecting, and storing ice cleats and other stabilizing footwear as recommended above.

How To Store Winter Bedding

woolApril is usually the month where overnight temperatures are mild enough that you can begin to put away your heavy-duty winter bedding. But if you want your electric blankets, thick wool blankets, and down comforters to stay fresh and clean for the next six months, you shouldn’t just stuff them in a closet and forget about them. Here’s how to store winter bedding the right way.

Preparation

Before storing your winter bedding prepare each piece by reading the care label or instructions provided by the manufacturer. Some general tips include:

  • Remove all cords and controllers from electric blankets and heated mattress pads and store them separately.
  • Hang down comforters on a clothesline in sunlight for several hours to thoroughly air and dry.
  • Launder any washable items, including electric blankets, duvet covers, and woolen blankets, prior to storage in order to remove odors, sweat, and body oils and inhibit mildew growth or permanent staining.

Assessment of available storage space

Once your winter bedding has been laundered or aired and is ready to be put away, take some time to assess the amount and kind of storage space available. Be sure the storage area is:

  • Cool, dry, and impervious to mold
  • Large enough to accommodate the kind of containers you wish to use
  • Relatively easy to access

Packing and storing

Now that you’ve washed your winter bedding and readied your storage space, you can finally pack away your blankets and comforters. We recommend:

  • Using vacuum storage bags to reduce the overall size and bulk of down comforters and keep out dust, allergens, and pests
  • Placing smaller items in plastic storage bins that fit neatly under the bed or on a closet shelf
  • Storing delicate or handmade items in a cedar chest or decorative trunk at the foot of the bed so you can easily air them out once every four to six weeks during the offseason

Taking the extra time required to store winter bedding properly will help ensure that each piece is in great condition when you need it next as well as extend the lifespan of every item in your collection. So follow these guidelines as you change over to your spring linen in the coming days or weeks.

How to Store Heated Clothing Batteries Until Next Winter

battery powerAll of the heated clothing products we sell at CozyWinters, including battery heated socks, jackets, vests, and gloves, are manufactured from quality materials that are designed to last for several seasons—so long as they are properly used and cared for. This applies not only to the garment itself, but also to the lithium ion batteries that power each piece.

Lithium ion batteries have very specific storage guidelines that, if not followed precisely, will result in damage, poor performance, and/or significantly reduced lifespan. In order to preserve your battery during periods of low or non-use, you must take the steps listed here.

  • Discharge (or recharge) the battery to 40%.
  • Disconnect the battery from the garment it is paired with.
  • Store your lithium ion battery in a cool, dark place out of direct sunlight. Long-term exposure to heat and high temperatures is guaranteed to have a negative effect on your battery and prevent it from working the next time you need it.
  • Do not allow lithium ion batteries or associated wires and chargers to come into contact with water or liquids of any kind.
  • If storing a lithium ion battery for more than 90 days, be sure to turn it on, run it for a while, and recharge it back up to 40% before returning to storage.

Storing your battery heated clothing for spring and summer involves more than simply folding the garment up and putting it on the top shelf in your closet. You must take special care with the lithium ion batteries that come with the apparel, especially with regard to charge level, heat and moisture exposure, and length of storage. Following the guidelines above is the best way to ensure your battery heated clothing will work as intended when you pull it out next winter.

Heated Throws vs. Heated Blankets: What’s the Difference?

heated blanket vs throw

Heated electric throws and heated electric blankets are two of the bestselling products on the CozyWinters website. Customers who own these items love having the ability to enjoy targeted warmth without having to run the furnace, fireplace, or space heater for hours on end. The result is total comfort and lower energy bills all winter long, which everyone can agree is a winning combination.

If you’re in the market for a heated throw or a heated blanket, you might be wondering what’s the difference between the two. While many people use the terms interchangeably, there are a couple of important distinctions with regard to purpose and size

Purpose

Heated throws are frequently kept in the living room, media room, home office, or vehicle, and may serve a decorative as well as functional purpose. They are often folded over the top of a sofa or armchair when not in use, so it’s advisable to select your throw in a color that complements your furniture. Throws are meant to cover a single average-size person during activities such as watching television, reading a book, or taking a nap.

Heated blankets are primarily used as bedding. Depending on overnight winter temperatures in your home, you can use your heated blanket alone or topped by a duvet or comforter.

Size

Since electric blankets are used on beds, they are available in Twin, Full, Queen, and King to coordinate with standard mattress sizes. Heated throws, on the other hand, do not follow any sizing guidelines, so you’ll have to check the specific dimensions for the product you intend to purchase. A common size for throws sold on the CozyWinters website is 60” x 45”, though smaller travel sizes are also available.

Now that you know the key differences between heated throws and heated blankets, you’ll be able to browse all of the available options at CozyWinters and purchase the best product for your needs.