Safety Services Company
January 7th 2009
If I were to become one of the X-Men, Storm would definitely be my choice. Who else has the power to control all weather conditions in the whole universe? Okay, it might also be because of her gorgeous body, flawless skin, elegant tresses and her unrivaled ability to pick locks. But hey, even without those traits, she’s one of the most powerful mutants in their weird bunch. When I was a little girl, she was the only X-men mutant who never ceased to scare me whenever her white eyes and raging storms flashed on the TV screen.
Well, I guess storms are created exactly that way—fierce and frightening. While we have yet to encounter mutants beating each other up on streets in the real world, we are often at the mercy of weather conditions that make jobs more challenging, if not toxic.
These days, with most states still enjoying a visit from winter, employees are at a higher risk to get injuries and illnesses. Add to this the possibility of a winter storm, and accidents can rise at an alarming rate. That is, unless employers and workers learn to prepare for this fatal phenomenon.
Before we go into the nitty-gritty of winter storm preparations, let’s get one question answered first: What are the different types of winter storms?
The basis of some Marvel Comics supervillains, as well as one of Dairy Queen’s desserts, this snow storm consists of winds with a velocity of 35 mph or more. Such harsh winds are accompanied by snow and blowing snow that reduces visibility to less than ¼ mile for at least 3 hours. If you find it hard to paint a picture of this phenomenon in your mind, just imagine the mutant Storm showing her enemies the peak of her wrath.
2. Snow Showers
When the weather’s this cold, everyone’s excused from taking a shower. Now when we’re talking about snow showers, you better get your bonnets, boots and mittens ready. While you’re at it, grab that shovel as you can expect some snow accumulation with the falling of snow at varying intensities for brief periods. Such accumulation does not always happen during snow showers, but it sure pays to be ready.
3. Snow Squalls
Now with this winter storm, you might need some help shoveling up snow outdoors. While its name calls to mind the eardrum-bursting, high-blood-inducing screams of babies, it actually refers to brief, intense snow showers that come with strong, gusty winds. Hmm…this is probably the mutant Storm in her rookie months.
4. Blowing Snow
Blowing snow is just that, snow blowing with all its might. This alone makes the danger of walking and driving on roads tenfold not only with surfaces being slippery, but also with visibility greatly reduced. Blowing snow is either snow that falls to the ground or one that is on the ground and is picked up by wind.
5. Snow Flurries
No need to sound the workplace alarm with this one. Snow flurries are basically just light snow falling for short periods of time. No shovel alert either with this winter storm as it produces little or snow accumulation.
6. Ice Storms
Just when we thought clouds couldn’t cry solid tears, here comes ice falling from the heavens. With ice storms, you can almost imagine the outdoors as this chunk of meat placed in the freezer with storms usually accompanied by sleet or freezing rain.
Without further ado, I now serve you with a list of things to follow in preparation for a snow storm or winter storm.
The following can serve as emergency heating equipment for your work site:
1. portable space heaters or kerosene heaters (Check your local fire department if kerosene heaters are allowed in your community.)
2. fireplace with more than enough supply of wood
3. small coal, wood or camp stove with ample fuel
Keep pipes from freezing by:
. . . wrapping pipes in insulation or layers of old newspapers.
. . . covering the newspapers with plastic to keep moisture out.
. . .allowing faucets to drip a little to prevent freezing.
. . .shutting water valves off properly.
You need not be a mutant to be shielded from the fatal blows of winter storms. By arming yourself with the guidelines above, and additional ones you’ve concocted on your own for the specific conditions of your workplace, you can get through winter without getting a taste of tragedies borne out of Mother Nature’s chilling rage.
Safety in Cold Weather
Safety Measures for Changing Weather
5 Distractions that Cause Workplace Hazards
Top 10 OSHA Fines for Small Companies
Cold Stress Prevention: 7 Safety Tips to Avoid Hypothermia and Frostbite