As a safety-conscious skier, snowboarder, or trekker, you never set out on an off-trail or backwoods adventure without making sure you have some basic emergency supplies in your pack. Your first-aid kit, avalanche beacon and probe, two-way radio, and compass are just a few of the items that accompany you on every single outing.
This attention to safety equipment should also extend to your vehicle. That’s because winter driving conditions, which can be dangerous even on well-tended city thoroughfares, may turn out to be downright treacherous on the twisty mountain roads that lead to the best powder. So before driving to your next snowy destination, take some time to load your trunk with the following:
- Five-pound bag of sand or kitty litter to aid with traction
- Jumper cables
- Tow rope or straps
- Spare tire or puncture repair kit
- Extra cell phone (fully charged up before each trip) and charger
- Energy bars and similar nonperishable food items
- Portable camp stove with fuel source
- Waterproof matches
- Emergency flares
- Battery-heated jacket and gloves
- Blanket or sleeping bag suitable for use in freezing temperatures
In addition to the above, we recommend that you keep bottled water somewhere in your vehicle’s cabin area so it doesn’t freeze and is always ready to drink.
The limited space in your backpack means you don’t have enough room to carry all the critical gear needed to deal with winter roadside emergencies. Make sure you’re prepared for anything that might happen en route to your outdoor adventure by stocking your vehicle with the supplies listed here.
When it comes to ice safety in the winter, business owners have to worry about more than just the possibility of employee slip-and-falls. They also have to worry about the possibility of customers, vendors, and other visitors getting injured on the premises due to slippery conditions.
In many municipalities across the country, property owners are legally obligated to keep walkways, driveways, and sidewalks clear of snow and ice. Failure to do so could result in costly litigation should a non-employee sustain an injury, which is why it’s a good idea to take the following precautions:
- Carefully monitor the weather forecast so you’ll always be prepared to deal with heavy snow and freezing temperatures. Gas up the snow blower, have extra shovels on hand, and stock up on rock salt ahead of impending storms.
- Make it a habit to inspect and clear your most heavily trafficked walkways on a daily basis. Examine the concrete or asphalt for bulges, cracks, and other abnormalities, and either fix the problem immediately or block off the area until the weather permits you to make repairs.
- Don’t forget to check handrails and guardrails to ensure they are sturdy enough to act as a stabilizing aid for pedestrians. Again, replace or repair as needed, and keep the tops clear of ice and snow.
- Provide extra lighting in parking lots, walkways, and entryways to compensate for the shortened daylight hours of winter.
- Keep your vestibule, lobby, and hallways dry by laying out rubber mats and carpets to trap snow, sleet, and ice from visitors’ For best results, safety experts recommend extending the mats at least 15 to 20 feet from the doorway into the building.
While business owners can compel employees to adhere to winter safety rules, and supply them with ice cleats, it’s simply not possible to force visitors to exercise caution or wear traction devices. Nevertheless, you are on the hook for everyone’s safety and well-being, so help prevent accidents by taking the steps listed here.
Now that you’re committed to making employee safety a priority this year, the next step is to actually enforce the rules. This effort will likely be met with resistance and more than a bit of grumbling from employees—especially if laxity had been a big part of the prevailing culture—but is a quick and effective way to promote the sought-after changes. Here’s how to get started:
- Spell out all safety rules and regulations in the employee handbook or in a separate document, and distribute the materials to all personnel. Require employees to sign a document stating that they have read the rules and agree to abide by them.
- Update the company’s safety rules annually or whenever new equipment or procedures are introduced.
- Post the most critical safety rules on signs in break rooms, locker rooms, the cafeteria, and other areas where employees tend to congregate.
- Have clearly articulated consequences for not following safety rules (e.g. a verbal warning for the first offense, a written warning for the second offense, etc.) so employees understand the immediate repercussions of noncompliance.
- Provide supervisors, managers, and others in positions of authority with guidelines on when and how to issue warnings for safety violations, as well as extra training on how to apply the rules in a fair and consistent manner.
- Incentivize the process of developing good safety habits by offering small rewards, such as free coffee and donuts at breakfast or a pizza party at lunch, when certain milestones are reached. Use a large signboard to keep track of the number of days without an accident and hang it in a prominent location to stoke motivation.
Even the sincerest commitment to employee safety will ultimately ring hollow in the absence of a systematic way to enforce all policies. Use the above tips to promote compliance with safety rules and change employee attitudes and behaviors in your workplace.
For most motorcycle enthusiasts, winter is a time to be dreaded. It signals the onset of several months of unpredictable weather, high winds, and icy roads, all of which are significantly more dangerous for bikes than for cars or trucks, and usually forces riders to put their machines into storage until spring.
But for those motorcyclists lucky enough to live in areas where the roads remain relatively clear all year round, winter becomes just another riding season—albeit one that requires more effort to protect against the elements. Here are some tips for how to do so:
- Dress appropriately for the weather, beginning with a snug-fitting base layer and ending with a leather or windproof/waterproof outer layer to help you stay warm and dry during the ride.
- Use heated clothing, such as the WarmGear 12V black leather gloves, heated jacket liner, heated pants liner, and heated socks from CozyWinters, to help keep your blood circulating and maintain feeling in your hands and feet.
- Wear a balaclava under your helmet to protect your neck and face from the wind. You might also want to wear a half-mask over the balaclava to prevent your visor from fogging up and hindering visibility.
- Consider installing a windshield or wind deflectors on the bike to redirect the flow of frigid air away from your body.
- If you typically use racing tires on your bike, now is the time to revert to an all-season model. Riding with the right tires will improve traction and handling on a variety of road conditions at lower winter temperatures.
- Take a look at your engine oil as well. Some manufacturers recommend switching to thinner oil in the winter to aid with start-up and improve cold-weather performance.
By following these winter motorcycle tips, you can extend your riding season and get more enjoyment out of your bike no matter what the thermometer says. Just remember to exercise extra caution during your winter rides since car drivers probably aren’t expecting to see motorcycles at this time of year.
It’s no secret that slip-and-fall accidents are a leading cause of employee absence and decreased productivity in the workplace or that these mishaps are also responsible for an overwhelming percentage of annual worker’s compensation claims. Data and statistics supporting these statements are widely available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, OSHA, and other organizations, and the incident files in your own HR department probably tell a similar tale.
With all that you know about the dangers of slick surfaces in the workplace, it’s time to get serious about enforcing employee compliance with safety rules. Here are some effective tips for making workplace safety a priority in the New Year:
- Do whatever is necessary to ensure the safety program has the full support of management. If top-level employees continually look the other way and fail to enforce the rules, then unsafe behaviors are not likely to change.
- Rewrite the company’s safety manuals or employee handbooks to make important safety protocols, such as wearing ice cleats in winter, mandatory. Simply saying that safety gear is “recommended” is not enough to guarantee compliance.
- Place high visibility warning signs in areas that are particularly susceptible to slip-and-fall accidents, including icy sidewalks, slick loading docks, slippery steps, and narrow walkways.
- Encourage employees to treat hazards themselves by making rock salt, sand, sawdust, floor mats, and other remedies readily accessible near known trouble spots.
- Consider assembling and training a “safety team” made up of interested employees. These safety team members can help with monitoring workspaces in real time and can offer reminders or tips when they see breaches of safety protocols.
Workplace safety should be a priority in every organization, particularly those that have already experienced the loss of work days, productivity, and employee morale due to preventable slip-and-fall accidents. Make this year different by implementing the above tips to promote compliance with all safety rules.
Festive decorations, tempting foods, and heaping piles of presents are just a few of the things that make the holiday season special. But while these Christmas staples are pleasing to humans, they can pose unique dangers to household pets. So as you go about decking the halls, trimming the tree, and whipping up tasty treats, keep the following pet safety tips in mind:
- When decorating your home with traditional Christmas plants such as mistletoe, poinsettia, and holly, keep them off the ground and well out of the way of pets. These plants and their leaves/berries are toxic to dogs and cats, and may cause mild to severe vomiting, diarrhea, and other intestinal problems if eaten.
- Cover or hide any extra electrical cords used to power holiday lights, moving figures, and similar decor, especially if your pet is a chewer. Pets can receive electrical shocks or tongue lacerations if they break through the outer coating and expose the internal wires of electrical cords. (If you can’t keep cords out of reach, we carry the CritterCord Cord Protector at CozyWinters.com.)
- Beware of placing shiny ornaments or long strands of tinsel on the lower branches of your Christmas tree. These items can be very alluring to curious pets, but are a serious choking hazard.
- Do not leave burning candles unattended in any room. It’s all too easy for a dog or cat to burn its whiskers, tail, or paws while passing by or inadvertently knock over a candle and perhaps start a fire.
- Refrain from giving your pet holiday treats containing chocolate, certain nuts (including walnuts, almonds, and macadamia nuts), and raw eggs or nutmeg (think eggnog), all of which can cause a variety of health issues ranging from upset stomach to tremors, seizures, and abnormal behavior.
- Do not allow pets to play with gift wrapping accessories such as ribbons and bows since these items can cause intestinal blockage if swallowed.
- If traveling with your pet, make sure they are kept secure while in moving vehicles.
The holidays are a time for celebrating with family and loved ones, including pets. If you have dogs, cats, or other furry creatures in your home, take extra care to keep them safe amidst all of these seasonal hazards.
Keeping pets safe and happy in winter requires more effort than at other times of the year. That’s primarily because this season is fraught with a variety of hazards that can cause serious illness or injury for your furry companions, up to and including death. To help ensure your pets get through the winter in perfect health, try these useful tips:
For outdoor pets
- Provide easy access to some kind of enclosed shelter – such as a barn, garage, or doghouse – that can offer protection from wind, snow, and freezing rain.
- Place a pet bed or plenty of clean, dry straw in the shelter to give your animal a comfortable means of warming itself. Consider using a heated dog bed or a hot water bottle for instant warmth on the coldest nights.
- Prevent drinking water from freezing in subzero temps by using a heated pet bowl or providing running water.
- Increase your pet’s daily food rations to compensate for the extra energy required to stay warm in winter. The actual amount needed depends on a variety of factors, including activity level, breed, and shelter conditions, so consult a vet for best results.
- Refrain from clipping, trimming, or shaving your pet’s coat until the weather warms up again. This will provide the animal with a natural layer of protection against the elements.
- Bring your pet into your house when dangerous storms or unusually heavy snowfall are predicted.
For indoor pets going outdoors
- Dress smaller, more delicate dogs in a sweater or jacket before going out for a walk. If there is snow and/or salt on the ground, use pet booties to protect the animal’s tender paws.
- Keep walks and outings shorter than usual to help limit exposure to the elements.
- Do not leave pets in an unattended car for extended periods. Just as in summer, the effects of extreme temperatures are exacerbated within the confines of a closed vehicle.
- Keep animals away from antifreeze that has leaked and accumulated in garages or driveways. Antifreeze is tempting to dogs in particular because of its sweet taste, but is incredibly toxic to them.
Surviving the various dangers posed by winter weather can be challenging for even the toughest outdoor pets. Make things easier on them by providing adequate food, water, shelter, warming products, and care throughout the season.
The warm spring sun makes May an ideal month for getting out of the house with your dog to enjoy activities such as early morning jogs, Frisbee sessions at the park, and excursions to the beach, lake, or river.
While canine safety is not such an issue during park play or on-leash jogging, it is a major concern whenever water is involved. That’s because just like humans, not all dogs have equal swimming abilities or endurance levels. Plus, accidents and injuries are always a possibility, which is why you need to be prepared for anything. So before you head out on the water with your canine companion, read these tips about how to keep your dog safe:
- Never let your dog play in the water unsupervised – keep him in sight at all times
- Regardless of swimming ability, always use a canine life jacket (such as the Paws Aboard model sold at CozyWinters) to protect against danger due to fear, cramps, exhaustion, or other problems
- Be aware of others nearby that may pose an unintentional risk to your pet – such as children, other dogs, or boats
- Provide your dog with a shaded rest area and give him plenty of breaks throughout the day. If not swimming in fresh water, be sure to provide some to drink regularly
- Use a doggy boat ladder, pool ramp, or similar product to give your pet a safe and easy way to exit the water by himself (available at CozyWinters)
- Rinse your dog’s coat after a day in the water to remove any salt, chlorine, or other impurities that may cause discomfort or skin problems
- Be sure to thoroughly dry your pet’s ears to prevent possible infection
One of the supreme joys of dog ownership is being able to spend quality time with your pet during your regular hobbies. If your plans for this spring and summer include frolicking in the water, keep the above safety tips in mind so you can protect your beloved canine companion from danger.
Now that it looks like temperatures are warming up in many places, you should spend a few hours de-winterizing your vehicle to get it ready for spring. This process usually involves reversing all the things you did to winterize it in the first place, plus a couple extra detailing steps to remove any lingering road salt that may corrode sensitive areas such as the undercarriage or muffler. Here’s what we recommend doing:
- Remove all floor mats and thoroughly vacuum and/or wash them
- Vacuum all exposed carpeting throughout the rest of the vehicle
- Clean the exterior of your vehicle by taking it to a commercial car wash that offers power jets and an under-spray to remove accumulated road salt, dried slush, dirt, sand, and other debris
- Follow up the commercial wash with a hand wash that focuses on the wheel wells, bumpers, door frames, and other places that might have been missed
- If desired, use auto detailing clay to remove any remaining contaminants and particles that might damage your paint
- Change your winter or snow tires back to all-season tires
- Swap out your winter emergency kit for one that is geared towards summer
- Remove and carefully store all heated car seat pads, travel electric blankets, and heated pet beds that you may have been using in your vehicle during the winter
There’s no question that the extreme temperatures, road salt, sand, and other chemicals your car is routinely exposed to in winter can really take a toll on its looks and performance. So do yourself a favor and follow the above de-winterizing tips to help extend the life of your vehicle.
Everyone knows that pets have a knack for getting into trouble around the house. Whether it’s snagging an unguarded bit of food from the dinner table or turning a brand-new leather loafer into a very expensive chew toy, dogs and cats of all ages and discipline levels are capable of causing their owners some anguish from time to time.
While most pet capers result in nothing more than annoyance, there’s real danger involved where electrical cords are concerned. That’s because chewing through connected electrical cables or wiring not only compromises high-priced products such televisions and computers, but also poses a significant risk of shock, fire, or even death.
As a responsible owner, you’ll want to safeguard your precious pets as well as your expensive gear by doing one or more of the following:
- Remove temptation by unplugging unnecessary cords and storing them away
- Where possible, run necessary cables and wires behind sofas, shelves, and furniture so they’ll be out of your pet’s reach
- Use a protective cover on exposed cables, such as the CritterCord Cord Protector available at CozyWinters.com
- Use adhesive hooks and similar types of cord keepers that attach to walls so wires remain off the ground
- Gather exposed cabling together behind a raceway or channel
- Cover cords with double-sided tape to keep cats away
- Make your electrical cables literally distasteful by lightly coating them with hot sauce, vinegar, chili paste, or something equally repugnant to pets
- Remain extra vigilant in winter, when you tend to have more cords out because of Christmas lights, decorations, electric blankets, etc
It’s not possible to shield pets from every potential hazard in your home, but you can at least make sure they don’t have easy access to electrical cords. Take the above precautions today to protect your beloved companions from serious injury.