New England’s first real taste of winter weather was scary cold. With temps this morning in the single digits, along with snow and high winds, cold safety is first and foremost on the minds of our team. As much as we try, it’s not always possible for an HVACR technician to avoid working in the cold. Fortunately, our team has a lot of seasoned and smart techs who know the best ways to survive the crazy-cold and get the job done. However, as a reminder, and for those who are just getting started in the field, here’s a few tips from NIOSH to keep you safe, if not warm when temperatures plummet:
Workers should avoid exposure to extremely cold temperatures when possible. When cold environments or temperatures cannot be avoided, workers should follow these recommendations to protect themselves from cold stress:
- Wear appropriate clothing.
- Wear several layers of loose clothing. Layering provides better insulation.
- Tight clothing reduces blood circulation. Warm blood needs to be circulated to the extremities.
- When choosing clothing, be aware that some clothing may restrict movement resulting in a hazardous situation.
- Make sure to protect the ears, face, hands and feet in extremely cold weather.
- Boots should be waterproof and insulated.
- Wear a hat; it will keep your whole body warmer. (Hats reduce the amount of body heat that escapes from your head.)
- Move into warm locations during work breaks; limit the amount of time outside on extremely cold days.
- Carry cold weather gear, such as extra socks, gloves, hats, jacket, blankets, a change of clothes and a thermos of hot liquid.
- Include a thermometer and chemical hot packs in your first aid kit.
- Avoid touching cold metal surfaces with bare skin.
- Monitor your physical condition and that of your coworkers.
Wherever you’re working this week, I hope your priority is safety. Remember to use your head, take breaks to get warm and plan ahead with backup warm weather gear in case you get wet on the job.
Thank you to all the techs out there in the cold, working to get others heat – you RULE!