Winter Safety Tips for Field Service TechniciansBy My Service Depot on Monday, February 22, 2021
Winter weather ushers in a new set of hazards for field service pros.
With the recent inclement weather in much of the US and Canada, we wanted to provide a few tips to help ensure the safety of your field service technicians this winter.
Dressing for the Cold
When working in the outdoors, you must dress correctly. In a colder climate, that means insulating yourself from the frigid temperatures. You can do this by layering multiple breathable garments. Try to stay warm while avoiding sweating. Sweating can lead to your clothes soaking up moisture and lowering your ability to retain heat. If you work outdoors, a pair of quality work boots can help keep your toes warm, but also help you maintain some level of traction in case of ice. A pair of gloves can seem cumbersome, but they will protect your digits from the cold and any injury that you may not notice due to numbness. Wearing some sort of hat will help you retain body heat. (Remember that you lose more body heat via the head than anywhere else.)
Get enough rest and work on a full stomach.
A good night’s sleep and a full stomach can also help you maintain comfort during the work day and allow your body to function at its highest potential. A good night’s sleep will ensure you have energy for the day ahead, and a full stomach will provide that energy when you start burning those calories.
Preventing Injuries and Illness from Cold Weather
Working in the cold weather puts you at risk, but some common sense and a little planning goes a long way. Make sure that each of your technicians properly hydrate and dress for the weather. Try to minimize tasks that will cause a lot of perspiration, as sweating in the cold can become dangerous. Use a team system. Make sure technicians do not go places alone for long stretches of time. If they have to, encourage them to maintain some level of contact with someone else at the company so you can track their safety. You should educate yourself on the signs and symptoms related to cold weather maladies such as hypothermia or even frostbite. These can kill! Knowing what to do in these situations literally save a life.
The single biggest factor in playing it safe during the winter involves creating and maintaining safe winter weather driving habits. Always leave plenty of space between you and the vehicle in front of you. (You should do this at all times of the year, but especially during the snowy months.) Maintain a safe speed of travel. Hitting a patch of black ice while speeding around a corner will lead to disaster. Ensure that your vehicle is completely clear of all snow or ice buildup. Some states even have laws for not having a secure load! Maintain your vehicle battery, making sure to have it checked and tested each year. Make sure to check that your vehicle has a spare tire, jack, tire iron, and a set of jumper cables. Having some sort of snow melt can also help if you need to do some emergency maintenance on your vehicle. Confirm that all of your fluids are topped off and that your windshield wipers are in good working order. Road safety should really be your biggest concern during the winter. Even with insurance, a driving accident can spell disaster for a small or mid-size business.
Plan Your Routes
Setting up a schedule and route is no easy task. Add in a little bit of snow or ice and you have an uphill battle. When planning an efficient route for your technician, incorporate weather info to help them avoid potentially dangerous situations. Sending your technicians into a rural area that hasn’t seen a snowplow or salt truck can end poorly.
Of course, you can’t avoid using the roads in the winter if you want to keep your business running. However, you can try to limit your drive time as much as possible. To do this, consider trying a field service software system like Smart Service. By optimizing your travel routes, Smart Service can help limit windshield time and increase production time. If you’d like to see how it works, request a free demo today.