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Category Archives: Winter Safety

Think your industry’s employees don’t need ice cleats? Think again.

falling-on-iceFiguring out what kind of personal protective equipment employees need for a particular job is often a straightforward task. In fact, within most industries there’s very little guesswork involved. For example, hearing protection, safety glasses, steel-toed boots, and gloves are fairly standard issue for employees in manufacturing positions, while those in carpentry or construction jobs might also need a hardhat, high-visibility vest, and/or respiratory protection.

However, it can be a bit more difficult to determine which industry’s employees should be given ice cleats for the winter. That’s because we tend to think that only workers in outdoor jobs, such as mail or package delivery and landscaping, would benefit from the extra traction ice cleats provide.

But consider how frequently employees that have “desk jobs” are required to go outside in the winter as part of their ordinary duties. All of those offsite business meetings, trips to the post office, lunches and dinners with clients, and visits to trade shows and conferences put even corporate employees at risk for slip-and-fall accidents—leaving you, as the employer, potentially liable for workman’s compensation claims, increased insurance costs, and lost productivity.

To protect your employees and your business, we recommend ice cleats for the following types of workers:

  • Firefighters
  • Police officers and security guards
  • EMT personnel
  • Newspaper reporters and photographers
  • College and university staff (especially on large campuses located in areas that receive heavy snowfall)
  • Traveling salespeople
  • Frequent-flyer type executives

The goal here is to provide ice cleats for any employee that is required to leave the building and visit other locations during the workday. Since you can’t be sure that the other site has followed safety protocols in terms of shoveling snow and salting walkways to eliminate ice buildup, you’re better off giving your employees the means to protect themselves.

Now that you’re ready to purchase ice cleats for your employees, visit CozyWinters to check out all the different brands and styles we carry. We offer volume pricing on government and corporate orders, so get ready to stock up on winter footwear today.

End of Ice Cleat Season

flowers in snowIt took a while, but all traces of snow and ice are gone from the parking lots, sidewalks, driveways, and loading docks of the lower 48. That means it’s finally time to put away ice cleats, grips, and other personal traction devices until winter returns and your employees need them again. But instead of simply collecting ice cleats in a box or stuffing them in a supply closet for months on end, take a few minutes to do the following:

  • Inspect each traction device for unusual wear or damage. Be on the lookout for cracked, worn, or rusted studs, over-stretched elastic, broken links, and similar problems.
  • Immediately repair or replace damaged ice cleats with equivalent products from CozyWinters. Attending to known issues now instead of waiting until next winter will ensure your employee safety gear is ready for immediate use in the event of an early or unexpected storm.
  • Consider stocking up on individual replacement spikes and studs so substitutions can be made onsite without any downtime or lost productivity.
  • Store ice cleats and traction devices on a flat, even surface to help them keep their shape. Avoid rolling, bunching, or folding these products for long-term storage.

Ice cleats, stabilizers, and grips are essential to outdoor employee safety in the winter and other times of inclement weather. So extend the useful life of each pair of YakTrax, WinterGrips, Get-a-Grip, or MonsterGrip cleats you own by addressing potential problems early and following the end-of-season storage tips listed above.

How to Minimize Slips and Falls this Winter

icy-sidewalk-caution-signThe calendar now says March, but that doesn’t mean the dangers associated with winter weather have suddenly vanished. Many parts of the country remain covered by snow and ice, so the risks of slip and fall accidents are still out there.

In fact, this time of year could be even more dangerous for pedestrians than the middle of January or February. That’s because people tend to let down their guard when they think spring is on the way, thus leaving themselves vulnerable to ice-induced tumbles. In addition, property owners might not be as attentive to sidewalks and parking lots in March as they are during the height of winter, so ice and snow are often left on the ground for longer periods.

To help minimize your own risk of slipping and falling in the coming weeks before spring sets in for good, keep these useful tips in mind whenever you’re walking outside:

  • Walk slowly across uneven pavement or on surfaces covered with snow and ice. Use handrails where available, particularly when going up or down stairs.
  • When crossing treacherous ground, maintain a low center of gravity by keeping your hands out of your pockets, bending your knees a bit, and positioning your torso over your feet. Take very short steps and be sure to stop periodically to prevent momentum from carrying you too fast.
  • As frequently as possible, try to wear nonslip shoes or boots that have some kind of traction on their soles. When dress shoes or other smooth-soled footwear is required, consider using an easy on/off traction device like the WinterGrips Ice Cleats from CozyWinters for extra grip and stability.
  • Avoid loading both arms with heavy bags, packages, or other bulky items. Doing so not only throws off your balance, but also prevents you from grabbing onto handrails or breaking your fall if you slip.
  • Use extra caution when climbing in and out of vehicles, as the spaces between parked cars are often left untouched by snow shovels and plows.
  • If you feel yourself falling, make an effort to land on “softer” parts of your body (such as your side or butt) instead of your wrists, knees, or other bony areas.

Winter is not over just yet, so walking outdoors requires that you be extra aware of the potential dangers around you. Take these precautions to minimize the chances of slipping and falling in the late stages of the season.

What to Keep in Your Winter Car Kit

Winter-DrivingAs 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.

Ice Safety for Businesses

ice safety for businessWhen 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.

How to Enforce Employee Safety

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:

  • enforce employee safetySpell 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.

Winter Motorcycle Tips

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:

  • motorcycle snowDress 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.

Tips for Making Employee Safety a Priority in the New Year

icy stairsIt’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.

Pet Safety for the Holidays

dog-in-christmas-lights-480x300Festive 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
  • 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.

Keys to Stress-Free Holiday Road Trips

heated travel blanket pillow seat cover

Don’t look now, but it’s that time of year again. The holidays are stressful enough in their own right, thanks to all the extra cooking, cleaning, shopping, and spending required to make it through the season. So when you add in a lengthy road trip complete with bad weather, traffic, and fidgety kids, it doesn’t take long for stress levels to skyrocket.

Fortunately, with some good planning and a few simple precautions, you can improve your chances of having an enjoyable travel experience. Start by checking out our key tips to stress-free holiday road trips:

  • Make sure your vehicle has been properly serviced and maintained. Of particular importance for winter driving are tire tread wear, tire pressure, battery condition, and the level of engine oil, antifreeze, and other critical fluids.
  • Put together an emergency car kit for your trunk that includes jumper cables, a portable shovel, hand-crank radio, flashlight, blankets, a backup cellphone and charger, and bottled water.
  • When heading to an unfamiliar destination, map your route in advance (even if you have a navigation system in your car) to get a general idea of where you’re going. If you anticipate heavy traffic, consider planning alternate routes as well.
  • Make sure pets are restrained or contained in a way that is safe for them as well as for the human passengers.
  • Pack healthy snacks and drinks to avoid unnecessary stops and minimize hunger-induced crankiness in children and adults alike.
  • Eliminate arguments about the vehicle being too hot or too cold by providing each passenger with their own heated car seat cushion or travel throw from CozyWinters. We offer a variety of plug-in and battery operated warming products, including items for pets traveling with you.
  • For journeys taking longer than one day, limit driving time to a reasonable number of hours to reduce driver drowsiness and the potential for accidents. In addition, be sure to take at least one planned break every 2-3 hours to allow all passengers a chance to get fresh air and stretch their legs.

Holiday travel doesn’t have to be a nerve-wracking event that spikes your blood pressure to unprecedented levels and pushes your patience to the brink. Just follow the above tips so you can emerge from your upcoming family road trip with your sanity intact.