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Prevent Cold Stress With These Tips

cold stress blogEvery winter, OSHA issues warnings about the dangers of cold stress, a condition caused by extended exposure to a combination of low temperatures, strong wind, and dampness/wetness.

Cold stress can take a variety of forms, but is usually characterized by shivering, tingling or loss of feeling in the extremities, loss of coordination, and confusion or disorientation. Depending on the length of exposure and severity of symptoms, cold stress can result in hypothermia, frostbite, and trench foot.

If you work outdoors, you can help prevent cold stress by taking proper precautions, including the following:

  • Check the day’s weather report before leaving home so you can have the latest information regarding temperature, wind chill, and projected storms.
  • Dress appropriately for the conditions you expect to face. Layering is always recommended in winter, and can be supplemented with battery heated clothing for additional warmth or waterproof gear to protect against snow and rain.
  • Take special care of your extremities with the help of battery heated gloves and heated socks to prevent frostbite.
  • Sip on warm, caffeine-free beverages or soups to maintain body temperature and energy levels.
  • Take frequent breaks indoors or in a sheltered area to give your body a chance to warm up and/or dry off.
  • Work in pairs whenever possible. If working alone, be sure to let someone know where you are and check in at regular intervals via cell phone or walkie-talkie to confirm your safety and well-being.
  • Familiarize yourself with the symptoms of hypothermia, frostbite, and general cold stress so you can recognize them when they begin to occur.
  • Know the treatment protocols for dealing with affected individuals while waiting for emergency personnel to arrive on the scene.

Whether plowing snow, working on a road crew, or repairing electrical lines, any kind of job that takes you outdoors in winter has the potential to result in cold stress. Stay safe by dressing for the weather, using battery heated apparel to protect your core and extremities, and employing the above tips where applicable.

How Much is Too Much to Spend on Employee Ice Cleats?

employee ice cleatsSome employers are highly resistant to the idea of spending money on safety gear such as ice cleats. They defend their position by saying there simply aren’t enough slip-and-fall accidents among employees or contractors to warrant the purchase or by saying it would cost too much. This leads us to ask: how much is too much to spend on employee ice cleats?

To get an answer relevant to your business, it’s important to check industry data regarding the total cost of the average slip-and-fall accident. This data is typically available through agencies like the Bureau of Labor Statistics as well as industry journals and publications, and should include everything from direct worker’s compensation claims to emergency room visits, follow-ups with doctors or therapists, lost work days, lost productivity, and similar expenses.

Once you have a rough idea of what a single slip-and-fall accident might cost (the BLS puts this figure at around $28,000) you can weigh it against the following:

  • The per-unit cost of ice cleats: You can purchase a single set of ice cleats from CozyWinters for as little as $11.95 with no minimum quantity required. We also offer government and corporate pricing for bulk orders, which reduces the per-unit cost even more. At that rate, you can protect more than 2,300 employees for less than the average cost of a single slip-and-fall claim.
  • Employee morale: Study after study shows that happy employees who feel appreciated by employers tend to be more productive, put forth better effort, and remain in their jobs longer, leading to greater revenues and profits for companies. One of the best ways to demonstrate just how much you value employees is to show genuine concern for their safety and to make accident prevention a company-wide priority.

By any reckoning, the negligible cost of ice cleats for employees is an investment that will pay off in terms of productivity, safety, profits, and overall morale. Visit CozyWinters today to place an order or contact us for more information on government and corporate discounts on ice cleats and other employee safety gear.

Electric Blanket Safety Tips

macromink-heated-electric blanketFor the most part, electric blankets are a very safe and cost-effective way of providing warmth and comfort in winter. This is particularly true if the blankets have an automatic shut-off feature or run on low voltage like the models offered at CozyWinters.

But just as with any other electric appliance that plugs into a wall outlet, electric blankets must be used with care in order to avoid potential short-circuiting, overheating, burning, and similar problems. Toward that end, here are some common electric blanket safety tips to keep in mind when using your warming product this winter:

  • Read the manufacturer’s instructions and follow all recommendations regarding usage and care.
  • When plugged in and turned on, try to keep the blanket as flat as possible and avoid folding, creasing, or pinching the wires.
  • Do not use if the fabric is frayed or worn through or if the wires or heating elements are exposed.
  • Do not run the power cord or control cords under the mattress or under any rugs. Doing so could cause the protective coating to deteriorate, which would then leave the wires exposed.
  • Turn off the electric blanket when unattended.
  • Do not use electric blankets with infants, small children, or anyone insensitive to heat or unable to operate the controls on their own.
  • Do not use electric blankets on waterbeds or mechanically adjustable beds.
  • Be extra cautious when using electric blankets around pets, as the wires and cords may present chewing temptations.
  • Frequently inspect your electric blanket throughout the season to ensure that it hasn’t incurred any damage and is still capable of operating safely.

Now that below-freezing overnight temperatures are a regular occurrence, you’re likely turning to your electric blanket to help keep you warm while you sleep. As long as you use the product as intended and follow the above safety tips, you should be able to enjoy the coziness and comfort of your blanket without incident for many years to come.

2015 CozyWinters Holiday Gift Guide

dec 1 gift guide 2015 Are you having trouble finding Christmas gifts that will be both used and appreciated by your loved ones? Then let our 2015 Holiday Gift Guide come to the rescue. We’ve taken the guesswork out of gift-giving by rounding up our most popular heating and warming products in a single list for your one-stop shopping convenience. Check them out right here:

For the workplace

  • Radiant heating panel: Wall or desk mountable, this heating panel provides safe, cost-effective warmth for legs and feet, perfect for a work space at the office.
  • Heated footrest: This footrest is angle-adjustable for comfort and emits gentle, radiant heat at a fraction of the cost of a regular space heater.
  • Ice cleats: Available in a variety of easy-on, easy-off styles, our ice cleats give the wearer extra traction while walking across parking lots, loading docks, and other outdoor areas.

For the outdoors

  • Battery heated puffy jacket: With three temperature settings and zip-off sleeves that offer two styles in one garment, this puffy jacket is perfect for extra warmth on blustery days.
  • Battery heated hand warmer: Ideal for keeping hands warm without gloves or mittens, this battery heated hand warmer has four heat settings, an adjustable buckle waist strap, and front pocket for keys and coins.
  • Battery heated socks: Prevent cold feet and toes with the help of battery heated socks. They are made of thin, moisture-wicking fabric to keep feet warm and dry without added bulk and can work for up to 10 hours on a single charge.

For the home

  • Heated towel warmer: What could be more luxurious than stepping out of the shower and into a fresh, warm towel? Nothing, so order this heated towel warmer and bring a 5-star hotel perk right to your recipient’s home.
  • Heated electric blankets and throws: Staying cozy without turning up the thermostat is a piece of cake when there are electric blankets on every bed and electric throws on every couch and armchair.
  • Heated pet beds: Do you have animal lovers on your list this year? Earn their sincere gratitude by remembering their pets with gifts like heated dog beds and heated cat beds for indoor or outdoor use.
  • Heated shoe and boot dryer: Extend the life of shoes and boots by using this dryer to gently dry footwear, kill odor-causing bacteria, and prevent mold and mildew.

All of these gifts, along with gift cards and much more, are available on the CozyWinters site, so shop now and order early to ensure on time delivery for the holidays!

 

Help Prevent Cold Feet This Winter

battery heated socksCold feet are a common occurrence in winter. People of all ages may experience this condition from time to time, and the issue is usually solved by covering up with socks or slippers.

But sometimes cold feet are a symptom of a more serious problem such as poor circulation, hypothyroidism, chronic smoking, or excessive alcohol consumption. In these cases, ordinary socks and slippers might not be enough to warm you up, so we suggest using the following products to help prevent cold feet:

  • Heated socks: Perfect for anyone who doesn’t want to deal with bulky battery packs, our battery heated socks feature a slim fitting, rechargeable battery that snaps in at the top cuff of the socks. They also now come with the new Lenz Heat App, so you can regulate the heat and keep track of your battery charge with your smart phone!
  • Natural foot warmers: Made from alpaca wool, these inserts fit into any slipper, shoe, or boot to provide extra warmth without batteries or heat packs.
  • Heated indoor/outdoor slippers: If inserts aren’t enough for you, check out a pair of our heated slippers. They are suitable for indoor or outdoor use, operate via remote control, and can work for up to 10 hours on a single charge.
  • Electric foot-of-the-bed warmer: The right amount of overnight warmth is often difficult to come by, especially if you just want to focus on your feet. An electric foot-of-the-bed warmer solves this problem nicely by providing targeted warmth that won’t affect the rest of your body (or your partner).
  • Heated floor mats: Warming your feet and toes at work where you have no control over the thermostat is a challenge that can be overcome with the help of a heated floor mat. Available in several styles including carpeted or waterproof rubber, these mats give off radiant heat in a cost-efficient manner. Our Toasty Toes ergonomic heated footrest is great for under your desk and even adjusts into three positions for maximum comfort while you keep your feet cozy.

While it’s perfectly normal to get cold feet in winter, that doesn’t mean you have to accept the condition and suffer unnecessarily. Instead, visit the CozyWinters online store today to order one of the warming solutions listed above so you can live, work, and sleep in comfort.

How to Winterize Your Car

snow car helpThe subzero temperatures that hit most of the country from December to February are hard on the human body. This is why so many people use heated mattress pads and electric blankets on their beds and wear Gerbing Gyde heated apparel when they go outside in winter.

Well, those same freezing temperatures can be just as hard on cars, trucks, and SUVs, which is why your vehicle also requires special attention at this time of year. If you haven’t done so already, here’s how to winterize your car to protect it from the elements and keep it running smoothly:

  • Inspect your tires for visible signs of tread wear or other damage. If you drive in an area that gets a lot of snow, be sure to change your all-season tires to snow tires before the first storm.
  • Inflate all tires to the recommended level for winter driving as specified in your owner’s manual.
  • Confirm that your wiper blades are in excellent condition and replace if needed.
  • Check your vehicle’s critical oils and fluids, including engine oil, transmission fluid, and antifreeze, and top off or change as necessary.
  • Swap out your summer emergency kit for a winter version containing such things as sand or kitty litter to use for traction; battery-heated gloves and jacket; electric blanket or sleeping bag rated for subzero temperatures; and portable stove with fuel source.
  • Use heated seat pads or 12-volt heated travel throws in the cabin to keep the driver and passengers warm on longer trips.
  • Apply a rustproofing sealant to the undercarriage of your vehicle to protect against the damaging effects of road salt.

As we noted last week, many regions in the US are expected to experience colder than usual temperatures and above average precipitation this winter because of El Nino. Make sure your car is ready for the onslaught by winterizing it according to the tips listed here.

Winter Weather Forecast for 2015-2016

Winter Forecast 2015 2016Long-range weather predictions can be a useful tool for helping people prepare for unseasonal or extreme conditions. While these forecasts can never be 100 percent accurate, modern technology enables meteorologists to make very reasonable assumptions about what lies ahead. Based on these forecasts, residents in target areas will know in advance if they need to stock up on emergency supplies or get out their battery-heated clothing and ice cleats a little earlier than usual.

So what’s on tap weather-wise for the 2015-2016 winter season? Numerous sources, including the National Weather Service and the old-school Farmer’s Almanac, are predicting the following:

  • California will get more precipitation than usual—in the form of rain, snow, and ice—thanks in large part to El Nino. Thus it would be a good idea for business owners to buy ice cleats and other traction devices for employees not accustomed to navigating the slippery conditions.
  • Major cities in the Northeast such as Boston, Philadelphia, and New York are likely to experience an above average number of storms, so slip-and-fall prevention should be a key concern to employers in those areas as well.
  • Southwestern states like Arizona, New Mexico, and parts of Texas could see unseasonably low temperatures along with more rain and even some snow. Battery-heated apparel, including fleeces and gloves, can help residents cope with the cold.
  • The Mid-Atlantic region, which encompasses parts of Tennessee, West Virginia, Virginia, Georgia, and North and South Carolina, could be subject to severe wintry conditions and heavy ice storms. Folks in these areas should have a backup generator ready to go and make sure to use ice cleats and other appropriate safety gear when walking or working outdoors.

Of course, just because you don’t see your city, state, or region listed here among the major predictions doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. We recommend preparing for the worst even as you hope for the best, so visit the CozyWinters website today to start shopping for the heated apparel, electric blankets, and ice cleats you need to get through this El Nino-fueled winter.

Reasons You Always Feel Cold (and what to do about it)

always feel coldWhen you are always cold regardless of the temperature or season, life can be a bit more challenging. For example, your performance at school or work could suffer due to an inability to concentrate, and you may find it virtually impossible to get comfortable enough to sleep soundly every night. In addition, you might also restrict yourself from certain activities such as skiing or snowboarding for fear of being too cold to enjoy the outing.

Pinpointing the root cause of your temperature sensitivity can go a long way towards helping you manage the condition; unfortunately, there are a large number of possible triggers to consider. Here are a few of the most common ones:

Medical factors

Cause: You have a very low BMI. This often means you don’t have enough body fat to provide adequate insulation against the cold and/or your metabolism is too slow to generate adequate body heat.
Cure: Check with your doctor about embarking on a weight gain program featuring lots of healthy proteins and fats.

Cause: You suffer from hypothyroidism, a disorder in which your thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone. Greater sensitivity to cold is one symptom of this condition.
Cure: After being diagnosed by a doctor, you will likely begin a regimen of hormone therapy to regulate your body’s hormone levels.

Cause: You have Raynaud’s Syndrome, in which the arteries near your extremities spasm, leaving your fingers and toes feeling cold and numb.
Cure: Mild forms of the disease can be treated by wearing warm clothing, such as battery heated gloves or socks, while the severest forms may require chemical injections or nerve surgery.

Environmental factors

Cause: The furnace in your home is set too low.
Cure: To warm up without increasing your heating bill, try using electric blankets on your bed, electric throws on your sofa and armchairs, and heated towel warmers in your bathroom.

Cause: You work in an office that is too cold for comfort.
Cure: Install a radiant heating panel under your desk to keep your legs warm, use a heated footrest for your feet and toes, or try a compact, energy-saving space heater that fits on your desktop.

Cause: You don’t bundle up enough for the temperature or weather conditions.
Cure: Wearing multiple layers and covering up with Gerbing Gyde heated clothing, including vests, fleeces, shells, gloves, and pants, can protect you from even the harshest winter elements.

These are only a handful of the possible medical and environmental factors that could be causing you to feel cold all the time. If you suspect you suffer from a serious medical condition, see your healthcare practitioner as soon as possible. Otherwise, try one of the suggested cures listed here to warm up at work or at home.

Prepare Your Business for Winter

winter_stormWinter storms can disrupt businesses of all sizes, but are particularly bad for smaller entities that don’t have the financial or human resources to form a rapid response to severe weather. Being caught unprepared for a sudden snowstorm can leave businesses vulnerable to everything from slip-and-fall accident claims to structural damage to the facilities. That’s why small business owners are encouraged to prepare early for the coming winter by doing the following:

  • Inspect the roof and gutters for problems in need of immediate repairs. Ensure that all drains and spouts are free of debris so melting snow has a clear path to the ground.
  • Walk around the property after dark to confirm that all parking lots, sidewalks, driveways, and entrances are adequately lighted.
  • Mark parking lot and ground features that may become obscured or hidden due to heavy snowfall. These may include things like speed bumps, fire hydrants, car stops, curbs, shrubs, and anything else that could cause damage to vehicles or injuries to pedestrians.
  • Formulate a response plan to winter storms and emergencies that includes provisions for snow and ice removal, generators and other backup power sources, and evacuation routes for employees. Post the plan in the cafeteria or break room, and distribute a copy to all employees.
  • Install industrial carpeting, mats, and/or runners near entrances and in lobbies to absorb moisture and ward off indoor slip-and-fall incidents.
  • Provide all employees with ice cleats for extra traction when walking or working outdoors and to reduce the chances of accidents and subsequent worker’s compensation claims.
  • Review your insurance policies to confirm that property coverage is adequate and up to date. If necessary, take photos of your offices, warehouse, and inventory to help facilitate replacement in the event of a claim.

Taking the time to prepare your small business for winter can help you avoid disruptions to ordinary operations, damage to property and inventory, and negligence lawsuits. Start protecting your business now by implementing the tips listed here so you’ll be ready for whatever winter weather comes your way.

Quick Tips for a Great Family Ski Trip

family skiingTaking a family ski trip can be a fun and exciting way to break up the otherwise monotonous days of winter. But as all good parents know, any activity involving children must be carefully planned out beforehand in order to avoid potential problems that could spoil the whole day. So before you book accommodations and buy lift tickets, check out these quick tips for having a great family ski trip:

  1. Choose a ski resort with the facilities and amenities best suited to your familys needs. Not all resorts cater to the same kind of clientele, so you’ll need to do some research to verify that your desired destination is geared towards families. Depending on your children’s ages and experience levels, this could mean anything from offering free entry for kids and child-friendly lifts to having wide terrain, gentle slopes, toboggan runs, or supervision/babysitting available to guests.
  2. Dress for the weather. The quickest way to derail a fun day on the slopes is to be underdressed for the elements, so be sure to check the local forecast regularly and prepare accordingly. Layering is always a smart move, especially when you combine base garments with Gerbing Gyde battery heated jackets, fleece vests, and gloves. Battery heated clothing is ideal for children because of the ability to manage the heat output and make adjustments up or down as the day becomes colder or warmer.
  3. Have the kids take lessons before sending them out on the slopes. If your kids are relatively inexperienced, then the first order of business should be to enroll them in the resort’s ski school. Beginner’s lessons can last anywhere from one to two hours, and will give your kids enough technique and confidence to tackle the bunny hill on solo runs for the rest of the day.
  4. Be willing to cut the day short if need be. No parent wants to admit defeat, especially after ski and boot rentals and lift tickets have been paid for. But if things clearly aren’t going well—due to bad weather, general crankiness, or similar reasons—and aren’t likely to improve quickly, be willing to call it a day and return to the lodge or home earlier than expected. You might lose out on some cash, but preserving everyone’s sanity and preventing injuries is more important in the end.

Before booking your next family ski trip, take the time to research resorts, order Gerbing Gyde battery heated apparel from CozyWinters, and schedule lessons first. Doing these things, along with being flexible with your expectations, will help ensure your family has a trip to remember.