Winter Safety

The US continues to face massive cold fronts this month, but L&M is still hard at work. So, we thought it would be cool to talk about winter safety in this week’s blog post. Winter weather can pose serious risks to crews out in the field. Icy conditions dramatically increase the risk of slips, trips, and falls while working.

Here’s what you can do about slipping while on foot:

· Wear Proper Footwear: If you’re working at a jobsite, you’re likely doing this already. Most heavy-duty work boots include slip resistant soles but if yours do lack this feature, consider investing in something better suited for the season.

· Walk Cautiously: This probably seems obvious but there’s actually a bit of a methodology to walking on ice. Taking long strides with your legs forming an oblique angle to the ground makes it easy to slip and fall. However, by keeping your weight centered over your front leg and taking smaller steps, you can mitigate the angular forces that cause slippage. Basically, walk like a penguin!

· Be Careful Exiting Vehicles: Even for average drivers, exiting vehicles in winter conditions can be a shaky proposition. But for those who drive large vehicles such as equipment that requires a CDL, it can be outright dangerous. Be sure to maintain a strong grip on the cab of the vehicle as you’re climbing out, even once your feet are on the ground, until you’re steady.

· Shovel ASAP: If you’re working at a site where it’s allowable (i.e., Concrete or asphalt work surfaces), try and shovel early and often to prevent unsafe conditions from developing.

· Falling Technique: Like walking on ice, you might be surprised to know that there’s a right and wrong way to fall. By tucking in your chin, bending your limbs, and falling on your side, you can prevent significant injury.

Winter driving conditions are also a concern during this season. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 17% of all vehicular accidents occur during winter conditions.

Here are some tips about driving in winter conditions:

· Tire Chains: Tire chains and auto socks are used for additional traction on snowy and icy roads. Per Colorado Chain Laws, commercial vehicles and trucks must have chains in their vehicles between September 1st and May 31st and must chain up when lights are flashing on message boards.

· Winter Kits: Pack a winter driving kit including a shovel, ice scraper, booster cables, warning flares/triangles, extra gloves, a blanket, traction mats, and abrasive material such as salt, sand, or litter

· Ice Removal: Always de-ice your vehicle before departing.

· Driving Etiquette: Drive slower but avoid stopping if possible. Lower speeds can help to prevent dangerous slippage but stopping altogether can cause vehicles to get stuck.

· Safety Distancing: Increase the distance between yourself and other vehicles. In the event that the vehicle begins to slide this will provide extra distance to find traction or turn to avoid a collision.

· Walk-Around: Always remember to do your pre-trip safety check before driving.

By adhering to all winter safety standards, L&M can maintain underground boring and trenching operations year-round. We hope you all had a brilliant 2022 and we look forward to working with you in 2023!