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Thankfully, I don’t have to wear thermals in my cubicle

By Melissa Babcock

This past week, Alberta enjoyed one of its signature winter cold snaps, complete with all the frozen eyelashes and threats of frostbite that come with a -40 C wind chill. If you’re a born and bred Albertan like I am, this was nothing new—when you live here long enough, you get used to a few weeks of extreme weather at some point during the winter months. But this time around, the temperature dropped about 30 degrees in 24 hours and I found myself scrambling for fleece and hats and thick scarves to protect myself from the cold.

Just another Alberta winter...

Just another winter’s day…

I am fortunate, though. While I have to walk to work every day (and let me tell you, 10 minutes feels like an hour when you’re walking against a sub-Arctic wind), once I arrive I get to spend my day in relative comfort here in warm, heated cubicle-land. But those who work outside are not so lucky. Exposed skin begins to freeze when the wind chill hits -25 C. Therefore, if you spend your work days outside, taking proper precautions in the winter is very important. So what can you do to protect yourself?

  • Check the weather forecast! If the weather is expected to be frosty and there is a wind chill warning, dress accordingly. Wear plenty of layers and a wind-resistant jacket—and don’t forget your hat and some insulated mittens.
  • Stay active. Chances are, if you’re working outside, you’re doing something physical. This is a good thing as physical activity generates body heat and will help keep you warm. But also…
  • Stay dry! Wet clothing can chill the body rapidly, so if you are sweating, remove a layer or unzip your coat briefly.
  • Does everyone have a buddy? Pair up with a co-worker for the day and keep tabs on each other. Watch for signs of hypothermia or frostbite.
  • Break time! Take plenty of breaks throughout the day in a warm, dry place and try to have warm liquids like coffee or soup on hand.

Taking a few simple precautions can help you stay safe and warm at work during even the coldest days. And don’t worry, fellow Albertans – there’s only six more months until spring!

How do you stay warm in winter? Tell us by leaving a comment, or tweet @HeadsUpAB.

Sources:
http://www.cfib-fcei.ca/english/article/3630-working-in-cold-temperatures.html
https://canadasafetycouncil.org/safety-canada-online/article/chilling-facts-about-wind-chill

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