As you know, winter in Alberta can be brutal - blizzards, freezing temperatures and icy conditions. Severe changes in the weather are common for us. We can have snowfall as early as October. Knowing how to be prepared for winter weather before, during and after a storm can keep a business safe and continuously running.
At Flint, our goal is to perform work through the winter season without so much as a trip or fall injury and any weather-related motor vehicle incident. To achieve this, we have a plan.
In Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan, weather conditions can arrive as early as October and continue through to the end of April! We're not kidding when we say that Canada has only two seasons, most of which is winter. Weather changes create hazards, slippery in the morning and wet in the afternoon. If uncontrolled, these hazards can increase the risk of injury to your employees and increase the potential damage to vehicles and equipment.
We have adopted the "Winter Work & Preparation" guide, which will help us assess, audit, and mitigate winter hazards. We start with:
- Pre-winter planning assessment during the last couple weeks of September
- Pre-Winter season worksite inspection
After the pre-season, we will:
- Winter planning assessment during the first couple weeks of October
- Winter season worksite inspection mid-November and mid-January
While providing our services such as maintenance and turnarounds, facility construction, pipeline installation or environmental consulting, is when we would usually be walking on slippery surfaces. Walk like a penguin when going across icy surfaces and have sanding materials and shovels ready on worksites and office locations.
If you need to commute, ensure you:
- Give yourself extra time. Adjust your schedule, if possible, so you're not rushing.
- Reduce your speed. The posted speed limit is for ideal road conditions. In winter, slow down - no matter how skilled you are as a driver.
- Follow at a safe distance. It takes longer to stop on a slippery road. Leave at least four seconds between you and the vehicle in front.
- Watch for black ice. Shaded areas, bridges, and overpasses freeze sooner than other areas – even in sunshine. Slow down. Don't be fooled. Black ice is invisible.
- Avoid sudden acceleration, braking, and turning. Do everything gently and gradually to avoid losing traction.
- Know how to handle a skid if you lose control. If you begin to skid, ease off the brake or accelerator and steer smoothly in the direction you want to go.
- Follow the company's safety policies and safe work procedures. Help out your co-workers by reporting hazards such as poor weather, vehicle, or road conditions to your supervisor.
- If you're stuck or stranded, follow the company's procedures. Stay with your vehicle for warmth and safety. Call for roadside assistance if needed. If it's an emergency, call 911.
Winter conditions can be scary, but they're less dangerous if you're prepared. So feel free to follow Flint's winter preparations! Safety is the core of everything we do in our business.