Cold Weather Safety

chainsaw winterWith the onset of colder weather in many areas comes the need to consider the safety of those whose jobs (construction workers, for example) expose them to cold environments on a regular and/or prolonged basis. In addition to those who work in cold environments, those who play (snow sports, for example) in such environments would do well to consider aspects of safety too.

When considering cold weather safety, understanding the factors, danger signs, preventative measures and emergency situations can prove immensely helpful in keeping individuals who are exposed safe and healthy.

Factors

When exposed to cold environments, realize that factors such as the actual temperature, presence of winds and humidity in addition to contact with cold water or surfaces all play a role in the safety of working or playing in cold environments.

  1. Temperature. Know the temperature and be smart about the length of time of exposure accordingly.
  2. Wind. Wind speed can decrease the actual temperature your skin actually feels exposed to, so know the wind chill too.
  3. Dampness. Add rain into the mix, and even a chilly environment feels colder. Being damp and cold can create unsafe conditions even when the actual temperature isn’t extreme.
  4. Contact. When coming into contact with a cold surface, realize that your body heat will transfer into that surface making staying warm a bit more difficult.

Just one of the above factors can cause unsafe conditions, but be especially aware of environments where multiple factors exist.

Danger Signs

Anyone spending a lot of time in a cold environment should also know the danger signs for when exposure becomes unhealthy. OSHA lists the danger signs of being over-exposed to cold environments to include the following:

  • Uncontrolled shivering
  • Slurred speech
  • Clumsy movements
  • Fatigue
  • Confused behavior

Unfortunately, individuals experiencing these signs may not be aware of them, especially when confusion hits. For this reason, using the buddy system when working or playing in cold environments can be one of the best safety procedures to practice.

Preventative Measures

Fortunately, simply employing a few preventative measures keeps most individuals exposed to cold environments safe & healthy. Take the time to familiarize yourself with the following preventative measures when working and playing in cold environments.

  1. Proper clothing. In a word, this means layers. Start with a wicking layer followed by a layer to provide insulation and topped off with an outer layer to protect against wind and rain.
  2. Short breaks. Give your body time to warm up in warm, dry shelters periodically.
  3. Rest well. Rest allows the body to avoid exhaustion that can lead to lack of energy needed to keep muscles warm.
  4. Drink often. Avoid caffeine and alcohol and focus on warm, sweet beverages that provide quick energy.
  5. Eat heartily. Finally, a great excuse for consuming high calorie foods without guilt! Foods like pasta help stock the energy reserves needed for working and playing in cold environments.

Emergency Situations

Being prepared for staying safe in cold environments also includes knowing what to do if an emergency situation arises. The most common emergencies in cold environments include cold water immersion, trench foot, hypothermia and frost bite.

The following tips can help minimize damage and even same limbs or life in emergency situations involve exposure to cold environments.

  1. Call for help. Have access to emergency help when spending time in cold environments.
  2. Get dry. Replace wet clothing with dry clothing or blankets as quickly as possible.
  3. Create heat. Create muscle heat by moving limbs, or place warm water bottles or hot packs in arm pits, groin areas and neck and head areas if movement isn’t possible. Avoid heating too quickly though as this can lead to fatal situations.
  4. Be gentle. Especially when frostbite is suspected, use warm water to slowly warm tissue. Too much heat too quickly can actually damage the tissue.

Training & Education

The basics of cold weather safety outlined above will allow most people – those spending occasional time working and playing in cold environments – to stay safe. For those spending extended periods in cold environments, additional training and education beyond these fundamentals becomes necessary.

Take the time to get the necessary information – that which fits how much time you spend exposed as well as the type and extremeness of exposure – for staying safe while working or playing in cold weather environments.

Promoting Children’s Eye Health

Kids are back to school with all the necessary supplies. Fall sports are underway with all the required gear. It’s a positive start to the school year, ready to be the best one yet.Children's Safety Glasses

To make sure that happens, take time to consider your children’s eye health too since roughly 80% of what a child learns in school is information presented visually. Add to this the fact that there are 42,000 sports-related eye injuries each year, and the majority of them happen to children.

For these reasons, take time to promote good eye health for your children.

10 Ways to Promote Good Eye Health for Your Child

  1. See the pediatrician yearly. Experts agree that eye exams performed during well-child visits help detect problems with a child’s eye health, allowing for early treatment.
  2. Consider family history. Since nearsightedness, color blindness, and lazy eye (amblyopia) are often inherited, consider family history when assessing your children’s vision health.
  3. Get an eye exam before 1st grade. More than 12 million children suffer from vision impairment, that’s 25% of school-aged children with vision problems. Get your child’s first eye exam before entering 1st grade & then regularly after to help detect & treat impairments early.
  4. Let go of common myths. Sitting too close to the TV will damage your eyes and eating a lot of carrots will improve your eyesight are common myths about children’s eye health. Educate yourself about Children’s Eye Health Myths and Facts to make sure your efforts are focused in the best way possible.
  5. Understand the relationship between vision & learning. While the more obvious signs of vision problems in children, such as not being able to see the chalkboard, are usually detected fairly easily, learning-related vision problems often are not. Realizing that a child struggling in school may have a learning-related vision problem may be the key some parents need to truly helping their children succeed. Take time to understand types of learning-related vision problems and their symptoms, especially if your child seems to be struggling with no obvious reason why.
  6. Remember sports safety. Since the majority of sports-related eye injuries happen to children, wearing protecting eyewear while participating in sports or recreational activities is a must. Make sure safety eyewear fits the child and the activity properly.
  7. Make sure kids wear sunglasses. Dr. Mark Borchert, division head of The Vision Center at Children’s Hospital LA says, “The lens of a child allows 70% more UV rays to reach the retina than in an adult. Learn the basics of sun safety to protect not only your child’s skin but eyes as well.
  8. Encourage a healthy diet. The best ways to do this include setting a good health example and make healthy options available at home, especially vegetables and dark leafy greens that contain many eye-healthy vitamins and minerals. In addition, talk to your doctor about a good multivitamin for children.
  9. Promote safety around the home. The Importance of Good Eye Safety Habits becomes clear when you realize that 45% of eye injuries happen in the home with many of those happening to children. Take time to be safe while working and playing at home, and this begins with having safety glasses available for everyone.
  10. Be aware of symptoms of vision problems. From poor performance in school and difficulty paying attention to headaches, eye pain and trouble seeing information on a chalk board, knowing the common symptoms of vision problems in children as well as their associated disorders can go a long way in detecting and treating problems early.

Children can’t always tell if there is something wrong with their eyes. They simply accept what they see as normal. Having parents who educate themselves on children’s eye health is important for detecting and treating vision problems early. In addition, taking steps to ensure good eye health through diet and safety measures adds another level of protection for a lifetime of healthy vision.

Airsoft Safety, Part 2

 

airsoft injuries

Airsoft BB’s can cause significant damage to your body. Always wear protective eyewear and safety gear.

Airsoft Safety, Part I discussed the history of Airsoft along with the potential for injuries when using Airsoft guns. Today’s post addresses a hopefully obvious danger with Airsoft and provides some basic rules for Airsoft safety.

Stating the Obvious

Because Airsoft guns look and feel so realistic, they make great training tools for the military and police. At the same time, because Airsoft guns look and feel so realistic, they create an interesting social issue – or public safety issue – at the same time.

Most states require Airsoft users to be at least 18 in order to purchase and own an Airsoft gun. However, those under 18 can use Airsoft guns with permission from a parent or legal guardian.

While most adults play Airsoft games do so in a controlled environment, many younger users do not simply because of transportation availability. Instead, younger Airsoft users are often seen in residential neighborhood playing their games in backyards they can walk or ride bikes to.

In a day and age where young kids are shooting others with real guns, kids – actually anyone – carrying Airsoft guns that look like real guns can potentially be perceived as threats. No one wants someone getting killed because an Airsoft gun was mistaken – even rightfully so – for a real gun.

The simple solution involves always treating Airsoft guns as real guns and developing an understanding and respect for firearms. This goes for youth and adults alike.

In addition to this understanding and respect, Airsoft King also recommends the following for preventing any mistaken identity between Airsoft and real guns.

  • Do not expose Airsoft guns in public.
  • Do not play Airsoft games on public property.
  • Get permission before playing Airsoft games on private property.
  • Keep Airsoft equipment completely concealed in public.
  • If confronted by law enforcement when carrying Airsoft equipment, comply immediately and totally with their requests.

Common sense goes a long way in preventing mistaken identity with Airsoft guns.

Airsoft Safety Rules

In addition to common sense rules, the following rules can keep Airsoft a fun and safe activity for all ages.

  1. Always wear eye protection. Never remove it while on the playing field or still in a game.
  2. Find eye protection that fits comfortably. Many players simply wear safety sunglasses, but many prefer goggles or sunglasses with a foam-padded lining around the lens area. Favorite products of some Airsoft users include the Pyramex I-Force, the Elvex Go-Specs II in Desert Camo, the ESS Crossbow, the Radians Extremis, and the Guard-Dogs G100.
  3. Keep a gun’s safety on and its barrel plugged in designated safe zones. Do this to prevent accidental discharge from Airsoft guns in areas where eye protection and safety equipment is often removed.
  4. Always treat every gun as if it’s loaded. This means following the rules for basic gun safety.
  5. Be aware of where a gun is pointed. When not in an active game, keep guns pointed away from people or safely stowed.
  6. Keep finger off the trigger until ready to shoot. Again, common sense can prevent accidental firing that leads to injury.
  7. Keep gun unloaded until ready to use. Don’t carry guns loaded, wait to load guns until just prior to Airsoft activity, and remove ammunition as soon as activity ends.

For more detailed Airsoft safety information, check out this article by the Airsoft Safety Foundation.

Adults playing Airsoft not only protect themselves by following these rules and guidelines, but they can also set a solid example for kids playing Airsoft. Parents allowing their kids to play Airsoft are responsible for their kids knowing & complying with the rules and for making sure they are properly supervised. Use common sense and educate yourself and your kids about the safe use of Airsoft.