The deep freeze is finally here, and it does not seem like it is going let up for the next week. Combined, negative temperatures and strong winds making for even colder wind chill factors. These extreme cold temperatures are hard on equipment and the body. If you can get the equipment inside overnight, this is the best way to prevent diesel engines from gelling up. If this is not possible, make sure to be using fuel additives like Diesel 911 and plug in the equipment. Use starting fluid as a last resort because it is hard on engines. If you can heat under the engine compartment safely with a portable heater, that would be best.
To protect yourself and others working around you, keep these preventative measures in mind. Wear appropriate clothing such as waterproof, insulated boots, hats and hard hat liners and multiple layers of clothing with a waterproof, windproof exterior layer. If there is any chance of working in a wet environment, bring a change of clothes and avoid getting wet. Wear insulated gloves and do not touch metal surfaces with bare skin. Take extra breaks and do so in a dry, warm location. Even in the cold, it is always important to keep hydrated. Watch out for signs of cold stress conditions for yourself and your coworkers.
Symptoms of excessive shivering, fatigue, confusion, disorientation, blue skin, dilated pupils, slow pulse, slow breathing or loss of consciousness are all signs of hypothermia. Move person into warm, dry location and give them warm drinks. If symptoms persist, get medical help. Symptoms of aching, tingling, stinging, bluish, pale or waxy skin are all signs of frostbite from lengthy skin exposure to cold. Immerse skin in warm, not hot, water and get medical help. Stay warm, protect yourself, keep an eye on others and hope Phil doesn’t see his shadow.