A Landscape Alberta Nursery Trades Association member publication
December 2013 Vol. 1, No. 6
Find the Sweet Spot in Snow Pricing Working in the Cold
Calendar of Events
MANAGING EDITOR Nigel Bowles LAYOUT & PRODUCTION Kyla McKechnie EDITOR Marnie Main ADVERTISING Erynn Watson Landscape Alberta Green for Life is a professional publication for the professional landscape trade in Alberta. Editorial and Advertising Landscape Alberta 200, 10331 - 178 Street NW Edmonton, AB T5S 1R5 P: 780-489-1991 F: 780-444-2152 firstname.lastname@example.org www.landscape-alberta.com Landscape Alberta does not assume responsibility for and does not endorse the contents of any advertisements herein. All representations or warranties made are those of the advertiser and not the publication. Views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reﬂect the views and opinions of Landscape Alberta or its members. Material may not be reprinted from this magazine without the consent of Landscape Alberta. ISSN No: 1929-7114 (print) ISSN N0: 1929-7122 (online)
Landscape Alberta Executive Committee President - Vacant
1st Vice President - Chris Brown CRS Brown Landscape Services Ltd.
2nd Vice President - Dave Montgomery Green Oasis Services Inc. Treasurer - Arnold van de Ligt Manderley Turf Products Inc.
Past President - Gerard Fournier For Trees Company Ltd.
December 3 - 4, 2013 Landscape Management Network Workshop River Cree Resort & Casino, Edmonton, AB To register, call Landscape Alberta at 1-800-378-3198 December 4, 2013 Olds College Surf & Turf Olds, AB oldscollege.ca/surfandturf
December 5 - 6, 2013 Landscape Management Network Workshop Finning CAT, 6735 – 11 Street NE, Calgary, AB To register, call Landscape Alberta at 1-800-378-3198
January 7 - 9, 2014 Landscape Ontario’s Congress Conference and Trade Show South Building, Toronto Congress Centre, Toronto, ON www.locongress.com February 11 - 12, 2014 Manitoba Green Show Victoria Inn Hotel, Winnipeg, MB www.landscapemb.com/site/mgs
March 5 - 7, 2014 Women’s Arboriculture Conference 2014 Harrison Hot Springs Resort, Harrison Hot Springs, BC www.womanarborists.ca March 12, 2014 Landscape Alberta Spring Workshop, AGM & Landscape Awards Dinner Glenmore Inn, Calgary, AB 1-800-378-3198 March 14 – 23, 2014 Canada Blooms Direct Energy Centre, Toronto, ON www.canadablooms.com
On the Cover: Photo Credit: Bobcat
Landscape Alberta Staﬀ
Nigel Bowles, Executive Director email@example.com
Marnie Main, Member Services Director firstname.lastname@example.org
Erynn Watson, Member Services Assistant email@example.com Valerie Stobbe, Trade Show Coordinator firstname.lastname@example.org
Kyla McKechnie, Administrative Assistant email@example.com Cheryl Teo, Bookkeeper firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow us on Twitter @landscapeab Find the Sweet Spot in Snow Pricing Working in the Cold
Green for Life December 2013 I 3
Industry and Association News...
A Strategic Plan for Landscape Alberta On October 23 & 24, committed volunteer members worked together with the Board of Directors and staﬀ to reﬁne and refocus the direction of Landscape Alberta for the next few years. This Strategic Planning Meeting was facilitated by Bob Fitch of Cain Consulting Inc., who brought his considerable industry expertise from 18 years as Executive Director of the Minnesota Landscape and Nursery Association. Participants were guided through exercises aimed to distill the most important issues facing our member organization. After much thoughtful discussion and lively debate, action plans were developed to address four strategic focus areas for our industry association: 1 Governance and Executive Leadership 2 Professional Development 3 Membership Development 4 Alliances and Relationship Building
A draft report on the Strategic Plan has been produced and we will share the ﬁnal version with our members through the Members Only section of the association website when is it available. Many thanks to all the members who gave their time, attention and concern to guiding our association forward. Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program Meeting At a meeting in Lacombe, AB on October 29, 2013 growers and other users of the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP) listened to speakers from the countries that participate in the SAWP as well as representatives from Service Canada. Countries participating in the SAWP include: Mexico, Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados, Jamaica, and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States.
The meeting was organized by the Agriculture Industry Labour Council - Alberta (AILCA) – Landscape Alberta is a founding member of the organisation. There were about 60 people in attendance, including many nursery growers. In July 2013, the federal government made a number of signiﬁcant changes to its foreign worker programs, but the SAWP escaped many of the new rules and regulations. For example: a Labour Market Opinions (LMO) now requires a fee of $275.00 per worker, but SAWP is exempt.
Henry Neufeld of Service Canada told the meeting that SAWP applications should be submitted 12 weeks ahead of when workers are needed. He also said that if a housing inspection for the new season had not been completed at the time of application, that the previous year’s inspection certiﬁcate is acceptable in the interim. 4 I Green for Life December 2013
For complete Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program information see: http://bit.ly/1iuhCum.
A Green Roof for Robert Thirsk School in Calgary Robert Thirsk School opened its doors in September in northwest Calgary. Next to one of the classrooms is a 40’ x 40’ rooftop garden, currently made up of bare cement blocks, with the goal of developing it into a natural classroom. The plan is to have 2 or 3 green roof designers come into the classroom and share their expertise with students. Students would then undertake the development of a design from what they learned. One design will be chosen, and a green roof expert will be asked to review it, helping bring it to life.
The project is currently in the planning stage, with the hope of getting a design approved early in 2014 and construction started in the spring. If you are a green roof designer and are interested in participating in the project, please contact Ian Traquair at email@example.com. Harper Government Supports Job Creation with Three Year Freeze of Employment Insurance Premium Rates The Harper Government announced that it will freeze the Employment Insurance (EI) premium rate for employees at the 2013 level of $1.88 per $100 of insurable earnings for 2014, and additionally that the rate will be set no higher than $1.88 for 2015 and 2016. “While Canada has seen steady job creation since the end of the global recession with over one million net new jobs, signiﬁcant challenges remain in the global economy. Our Government is freezing EI rates and leaving $660 million in the pockets of job creators and Canadian workers in 2014 alone, which will help provide the certainty and ﬂexibility employers, especially small businesses, need to keep growing,” said the Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance. Since July 2009, employment has increased by more than one million jobs. Close to 90% of all jobs created since that time have been full-time positions, with more than 80% in the private sector and two-thirds in high-wage industries. Falling unemployment over the recovery means the EI Operating Account is on track to return to balance, and the premium rate increases previously projected are no longer necessary.
Starting in 2017, as announced in Economic Action Plan 2012, the EI premium rate will be set annually at a seven-year breakeven rate. This will ensure that EI premiums are no higher than needed to pay for the EI program over that seven-year period, and will result in sustainable funding, aﬀordable rates, and ongoing predictability and stability.
Asian Long-Horned Beetle found in Toronto The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has conﬁrmed the presence of Asian Long-Horned Beetle (ALHB) in an industrial area near Pearson International Airport in Mississauga, Ontario.
will feed on healthy elms during the growing season and then breed and over-winter in dead and dying elm trees.
The removal of dead and dying elm wood through pruning (October through March only) helps to reduce beetle breeding habitat and control any potential beetle population. Prompt and proper disposal of the pruned wood is also essential to keep DED from spreading. It is essential that all dead wood be removed and properly disposed of by burning, burying or chipping by March 31 of each year. It is also illegal in Alberta to transport or store elm ﬁrewood. For more information on DED prevention, call the STOPDED hotline at 1-877-837-ELMS (3567) or visit www.stopded.org.
Welcome to Our New Members
The CFIA is working with other federal departments, as well as provincial and municipal governments to survey the area and determine next steps.
Between 2003 and 2007, ALHB was known to exist in the cities of Toronto and Vaughan. A quarantine area was established and control eﬀorts were undertaken. Based on international standards, the pest was considered eradicated from this area in early 2013 after not being detected for ﬁve years.
(September 15 - November 15, 2013)
Grumpy’s Landscaping Ltd. Hawkin Everts Box 2488 Pincher Creek, AB T0K 1W0 Phone: (403) 627-4589 Fax: (403) 627-2909 firstname.lastname@example.org
Landesign Ltd. Jennifer Boyd PO Box 5528 Leduc, AB T9E 2A7 Phone: (780) 980-9244 Fax: (780) 980-9248 email@example.com www.landesignltd.com
This new ﬁnd is outside of the eradicated area. Based on the CFIA’s national plant pest surveillance program, ALHB has never been detected elsewhere in Canada. For more information: http://bit.ly/16TZ9Yu.
Elm-Pruning Ban in Alberta Dutch Elm Disease (DED) is a deadly disease that can aﬀect any elm tree. Since its introduction from Europe in 1930, it has destroyed millions of American elm trees across North America. DED is prevalent in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Montana. At present, Alberta has the largest DEDfree American elm stands in the world. There are an estimated 750,000 mature elm trees in Alberta. To reduce the risk of DED, pruning of elm trees is prohibited throughout Alberta each year from April 1 until September 30. The pruning ban is now over for 2013.
The ban is necessary during the time when DED-carrying beetles are active. Fresh cuts from pruning may attract the beetles that can spread the disease, increasing the chance of an infection. Once they have infected an area, elm bark beetles Green for Life December 2013 I 5
Weed Out Worthless Clients and Guarantee Growth: Just Say No By Bill Arman and Ed LaFlamme, The Harvest Group
One of the best ways to make sure you continue to grow in an existing market, or are able to grow into a new market, is to deﬁne what your core customer looks like. That can mean asking yourself, your sales team and – sometimes – your existing clientele.
When a person asks for a price, we often feel grateful to be asked to provide our services. Our ego is being stroked and it feels good, plus we need the work! As a result, we take on clients who we intuitively know are less desirable to us in the long run, and are just a potential source of revenue. Client selection is the single most important way an organization can increase proﬁts, reduce stress and better serve its customers. But, it’s an aspect that many of us overlook.
You should identify potential problem customers as early as possible, and then avoid taking them on and learn to say the word “no.” Just as important, you should focus your eﬀorts on identifying good customers and bringing them on board. If you think back to all the customers you’ve worked with, you can certainly identify common characteristics of the good ones and the lousy ones.
With some thought and using past experience, you can develop speciﬁc client selection criteria. Apply these criteria with screening questions when talking with prospective customers to decide which ones to take on. The Alphabet Model. One method of ranking your clients is to grade them: A, B, C, D.
6 I Green for Life December 2013
“A” clients are the best: They can aﬀord the services, they pay on time, they appreciate the work you do for them and they send you excellent referrals. You, in turn, really enjoy working with them.
“B” clients are considered very good, but have some minor ﬂaws in a few areas. Maybe they had a previous contractor they parted ways with, amicably or otherwise. Or perhaps they show a medium level of neediness. These are still good clients and well worth taking on. “C” clients are less desirable. They may show some uncooperativeness, have lower budgets or show unreasonable expectations.
“D” clients are the nightmare customers you want to avoid at all costs. They complain about your service, the bill, and think they know more than you. They require a disproportionately high amount of attention and need to be avoided from the start or terminated from your portfolio. Putting it to use. Once you have established the appropriate selection criteria for your company, you should develop a system for putting these criteria to use. Create some good qualifying questions that link to your rating process with your selection criteria.
Make these questions as objective as possible, such as job location, budget, and how many contractors have been used in the last three years. These will allow you to measure the pros and cons of each potential customer and even your existing clients. This system should be implemented during the very ﬁrst point of contact with the client, usually over the telephone.
Have your salespeople or even some well-trained oﬃce staﬀ complete a series of questions with the prospect as they are talking to him or her. This could include asking the potential client for basic information and details of their needs, while simultaneously ranking the client based on each of your selection criteria.
If your sales person or staﬀ determines that the client is not a good ﬁt for your company (i.e., a “C” or a “D” client), then the customer should be appropriately referred to other companies in your area that are willing to accept this type of business.
If the customer is a potential “A” or “B” client, arrangements should be made for an initial personal meeting where you or your salesperson will determine if this is truly a customer worth going after. The sooner you get customer selection criteria in place, the sooner you will learn how to say no and feel glad you did.
This article was reprinted with permission from the February 2013 issue of Lawn & $SSURYHG Landscape. Visit www.lawnandlandscape.com for more information.
Are &KDQJHV They a Good Fit?
Use these 14 statements as a starting point to ﬁgure out whether a prospective – or current – customer ﬁts your own goals and culture as a business. Not all of them apply to every company, but think of this page as a template to determine 6LJQDWXUHBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBB what’s non-negotiable with any business partners.
The client is ﬁnancially stable and ﬁscally healthy; they pay on time.
The client doesn’t have a “body count” type of mentality; they focus on your results, not your methodology.
2 4 5
The job brings in no less than $1000 per month, or is on the site of an existing job. The client understands what you bring to the table and that price is not the primary decision factor. They recognize the importance of the landscape to their business. The client understands the importance of investing in the project to increase value.
The client has stable, productive relationships with other contractors. The client is willing to commit to a multi-year contract.
The client does not call random, unnecessary and frequent “ﬁre drills”. Speciﬁcations are reasonable and can be met.
The client values partnerships that promote a mutually beneﬁcial, long-term relationship; they are collaborative and respectful of others.
The job is related to additional properties that may require future landscape services.
The client and job will serve as a good reference and testimonial; they are likely to refer you to other clients. The job location is within your targeted geographic area. The size of the job may override the distance to the job site. The job ﬁts within your preferred market.
The client is currently doing business with another of your departments or divisions, or have had a positive experience with another division.
Answer Key: Bottom line, the more times you say yes, the better.
Box 1089 Carman, MB R0G 0J0 Toll Free: 1-866-745-6703 firstname.lastname@example.org www.aubinnurseries.ca Green for Life December 2013 I 7
2013: A Year In Review
February 19 - 22: Finning hosts Landscape Management Network (LMN) workshops for members in Calgary and Edmonton
January 8 - 10: Landscape Awards judging takes place in Edmonton January 29 - February 1: CNLA Winter Board meetings
February 1: Landscape Alberta rolls out its new association magazine, Green for Life
March 7 - 8: Bill Arman speaks on recruiting and retaining workers at the GreenPro conference in Calgary
March 20: On-the-Job Training held at Cheyenne Tree Farms
March 26 - 27: Landscape Industry Certified candidates test their skills at Olds College
March 7: Landscape Awards are presented at our annual Presidents Dinner and Landscape Awards ceremony
April 1: Safe Digging Month begins April 2 - 3: Members update their first aid skills with training in Edmonton and Calgary
May 10: Landscape Alberta members participate in Arbor Day celebrations across the province
8 I Green for Life December 2013
May 15 - 16: Landscape Alberta is on hand at the National Skills Competition in Edmonton to promote our industry and take part in the Try-A-Trade challenge
June 18: New Markâ€™s Work Wearhouse discount cards available to members
June 21: Parts of southern Alberta are hit by a devasting flood
June 21 - July 1: The CNLA National Plastics Recycling event takes place
August 20 - 23: CNLA Summer Board Meetings
July 12: Landscape Alberta Nursery Growers Group hosts a bus tour in Abbotsford, BC
August 27: Candidates try their hand at the Landscape Industry Certified - Turf Maintenance test held in Sherwood Park
September 6: Members identify a flood recovery project in the Town of High River. A plan is underway to rehabiliate a baseball field and playground at Birchwood Park
September 11: Landscape Alberta holds its 3rd Autumn Golf Tournament at Springbank Links in Calgary
September 25: National Tree Day
October 16 - 17: Birchwood Park Flood Recovery project, Phase 1
November 13: Landscape Alberta Nursery Growers Group Annual Auction
October 18: 2013 Landscape Awards Entry Deadline October 23 - 24: Members and staff gather to plan and shape the future of the association at a strategic planning meeting in Red Deer
October 29: SAWP Meeting in Lacombe with representatives from Mexico and the Caribbean
November 14 - 15: Industry gathers at the the annual Green Industry Show & Conference in Edmonton. Watch for photos in the January/February issue of Green for Life
Green for Life December 2013 I 9
High River Flood Recovery Project, Phase 1
This summer our association identiﬁed a ﬂood recovery project in need of the support of members. Birchwood Park in High River is an 8.5 acre community recreation area that has been inaccessible to citizens since June’s ﬂood waters receded. The park and surrounding neighborhood were inundated with several feet of ﬂood water that left behind a layer of silt – the entire park was covered in 5-8 inches of silt, hardened into a solid clay cap. The park features a large green space with mature trees, two ball ﬁelds, a children’s playground and a soccer ﬁeld.
On October 16 and 17, 2013 members from southern Alberta gathered at Birchwood Park to begin work on Phase 1 of the restoration, the children’s playground. Members removed the heavy layer of silt and pea gravel from the playground, as well as removed the silt from the bases of surrounding trees. Volunteers also spent time working on cleaning up the benches in the ballpark area. Phase 2 of the playground restoration is planned for spring 2014, plus work will begin on restoring the large ball ﬁeld. Stay tuned for more information. We would like give a huge thank you to all the companies who donated their time and use of their equipment. It is truly appreciated! • • • • • • • • • •
Alpha Better Landscaping JVR Landscape (2006) Inc. K.C. Landscaping & Maintenance Ltd. Countryside Landscapes & Garden Centre Simon Bos Nurseries Ltd. ECCO Chips Nutri-Lawn Calgary Inc. Greentree Landscapes Ltd. G. Goss & Son Construction Ltd. Calgary Landscape Supply
10 I Green for Life December 2013
Find the Sweet Spot in Snow Pricing By Mark Bradley
I could be wrong, but I believe we’re in for a buyer’s market when it comes to pricing snow and ice work. The economy is ﬁlled with questions, we’ve had a few light winters in a row (at least in the Toronto area) and snow companies by and large suﬀered last year, which means they’ll be hungrier this year. It’s likely we’ll see a very competitive market for snow this year, where customers will enjoy a stronger position during price negotiations. For your snow business, this means a few things: • You must absolutely know your costs and be conﬁdent on your costs, breakeven, and proﬁt. This conﬁdence will come across during negotiations and help you win more jobs. • You must also ensure your prices are competitive, but that you can earn a proﬁt at these prices. • It’s the second point that I want to expand on, and for this you need to understand a very handy number and what it means to your business.
Gross Proﬁt is the selling price of the work minus the costs to get all the work done. That’s all. Overhead and proﬁt are what’s left over, but they aren’t counted in gross proﬁt. Gross proﬁt, for snow work, is the price you want to sell the contract, minus the cost of the labour needed, minus the cost of equipment needed, minus the cost of salt/de-icing materials needed, and minus the cost of sub-contractors needed.
The Gross Proﬁt Margin is gross proﬁt divided by the selling price, then multiplied by 100 to get a percentage. Let’s look at a simple example. You have a snow contract that you want to sell for $10,000. The estimated costs (per season) are as follows: • Labour costs (plow operators, shovellers): $2000 • Equipment costs (trucks, plows, salters): $2000 • Material Costs (rock salt): $2000 • Total estimated costs: $6000
To ﬁgure out the estimated gross proﬁt on the job, you simply subtract the estimated costs of the job ($6000) from the estimated selling price ($10,000). That would leave you with a gross proﬁt of $4000. That’s not your actual proﬁt – you still have company overhead to cover.
Now to calculate gross proﬁt margin, you simply divide gross proﬁt ($4000) by the estimated selling price ($10,000) to get a gross proﬁt margin of 40%.
Meaningful number? You might be asking yourself, “What is so useful about this number? If it doesn’t tell me my overhead, and it’s not really my take home proﬁt, then why do I care?” It’s important because gross proﬁt can be one of the best
benchmarking numbers for your business and can help you ensure you’re competitively priced – especially on bids and tenders where you don’t get a second chance to revise your pricing. Look at it this way… let’s say 10 contractors priced the job we did in the example above. All 10 contractors are going to have diﬀerent overhead and diﬀerent proﬁt expectations – sometimes very diﬀerent. However, all 10 contractors will have similar, not exact, but similar, costs to do work.
There are diﬀerences in what we pay our people, but they’re not huge diﬀerences. Usually they range a few dollars per hour. The people who are paid more also work faster (more experience, more motivated) so even when there are diﬀerences in pay, the diﬀerence in productivity (time spent on the job) can often erase the diﬀerence in total labour costs.
As contractors, we all pay similar prices for our trucks, plows, and snow equipment. Bigger companies might negotiate better pricing on new equipment, but smaller companies tend to get longer life out of used equipment. Fuel, insurance, and parts and repair costs don’t diﬀer signiﬁcantly from company to company. Equipment costs only diﬀer signiﬁcantly based on utilization – the more hours we can bill for our equipment, the lower our costs per hour.
Salt prices also have diﬀerences. Bigger companies can negotiate better pricing (bulk discounts) and may be able to stage salt at the yard. You can’t ignore the cost diﬀerence – and it’s often why large companies can enjoy a cost advantage – but between contractors of similar size, this diﬀerence is negligible.
So costs to clear snow will be diﬀerent from company to company, but rarely will they be very diﬀerent. Assuming 10 contractors are pricing the job using similar equipment, and are paying a fair wage with proper government reporting, the costs to do the work will be quite similar. If we all estimate using similar (not exact, but similar) costs to do the job, then looking at the Gross Proﬁt of your bids, and even your competitors’ (you’ll have to estimate their GPM using your costs, but you can look at their prices on winning bids) will show you where your market is pricing work, Green for Life December 2013 I 11
ignoring the diﬀerences in overhead and proﬁt between companies.
If you’re pricing work at a 40 percent gross proﬁt margin (as in the example above) and not winning any work, it’s likely that you aren’t priced competitively. Perhaps your overhead and/or proﬁt is too high to be competitive. Drop your next few bids down to 38 percent or 35 percent gross proﬁt (assuming you can do this and still cover your overhead and proﬁt) to get more competitive. Keep track of the gross proﬁt margin on your winning and losing bids. Look for a pattern, or a gross proﬁt margin where your hit rate goes up. This is the gross proﬁt that is competitive in your market. Since snow contractors have similar costs, knowing the average gross proﬁt margin in your market at which losing bids turn to winning bids will help you identify the sweet spot in your market. Value over time Gross proﬁt margins will also help you see trends. When gross proﬁt margins start to increase, contractors have the upper hand and prices in your market are rising. When gross proﬁt margins decline, it’s the customers that have the advantage and price competition between contractors gets tougher. Knowing which way the market is moving can keep you out in front of shifting economies, and selling work while others bang their heads against the wall wondering where their sales have gone. As valuable as gross proﬁt margin is, it’s very important to remember all of this useful if, and only if: • You know, accurately, the costs of doing the work. You need to know what it costs per hour for your staﬀ, your equipment and what your material and subcontractors costs are. • You know your company’s overhead and net proﬁt.
If you don’t know what it costs to run a pickup and plow per hour, you can’t possibly calculate your gross proﬁt accurately and therefore, gross proﬁt won’t be a meaningful benchmark for you. Even worse, if you don’t know your company or your snow division’s overhead and net proﬁt, your gross proﬁt might be competitive, but you’re waking up at 2:00 am and plowing snow just to lose money on the work you did win. Mark Bradley is president of The Beach Gardener and the Landscape Management Network (LMN) based in Ontario. Reprinted with permission by Landscape Trades.
12 I Green for Life December 2013
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Focus on Human Performance: Working in the Cold
It is important to realize that environmental conditions can have a bearing on your personal safety and your ability to work eﬀectively. Working in the cold can result in hypothermia or frostbite — and even the heavy and bulky clothing worn for protection from the cold can cause problems on the work site.
feels hard and cold, and turns white or grey. Frostnip is a mild form of frostbite aﬀecting only the skin’s outer layers. Either condition aﬀects your health and can inﬂuence your ability to work safely.
Clothing worn in the cold can also aﬀect performance. Hats and hoods may interfere with hearing, vision and movement. Bulky Hypothermia, or below-normal body temperature, is generally the clothing layers may restrict movement, particularly in tight spaces result of a combination of factors, including cold and windy and increase the amount of eﬀort required to move. Gloves, weather, fatigue and clothing that is poorly insulated or wet. mittens and overmitts may reduce dexterity and “feel”, while heavy and bulky footwear may not ﬁt into footholds or onto foot There is a range of outward signs of hypothermia, depending on pedals. Clothing “systems” appropriate for the task and the the severity. temperature can overcome many of these limitations. • Mild hypothermia: mild shivering, discomfort and muddled thinking Source: Work Safe Alberta • Moderate hypothermia: violent shivering, loss of dexterity of the hands and feet, and an inability to think Cold Weather Clothing or pay attention Need to purchase outdoor gear to get you through the winter? • Severe hypothermia: unconsciousness and death Landscape Alberta members receive 10% oﬀ apparel at Mark’s Work Wearhouse. Contact the Landscape Alberta oﬃce at email@example.com to request your discount cards. And the best part – Mark’s Work Wearhouse donates 2% of sales through this program to the Ronald McDonald Houses of Alberta. Yay!
Clearly, the lapses in judgment and attention span that occur even in mild cases of hypothermia can have serious consequences on the worksite.
Exposure to cold can reduce muscle power and grip strength, thus limiting your ability to work for extended periods. Reduced power and strength can make climbing a ladder or similar structure very challenging.
Cold combined with vibration can reduce the ﬂow of blood to the hands and ﬁngers and cause hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS), also known as “vibration-induced white ﬁnger” or “deadﬁnger”. Symptoms include numbness, loss of grip strength and clumsiness with the hands. Many workers rely on their hands to operate equipment controls, adjust process controls, sense surface temperatures and ﬁnishes, and hold heavy or awkward tools. In cold weather, these workers may take longer to perform an action and/or need to attempt an action repeatedly. In some cases, they may be altogether unable to perform an action until they get warmed up or alter their clothing. In addition, exposed skin can be aﬀected by the cold. Frostbite results from thick layers of tissue freezing solid. The aﬀected area
24309TwpRd510,Beaumont,AB Phone:780Ͳ929Ͳ8102Fax:780Ͳ929Ͳ8107 firstname.lastname@example.org Green for Life December 2013 I 13
Winter driving in Alberta can be hazardous. Visibility, road conditions and vehicle If you get trapped in a snow storm or a performance all combine to present drivers with additional risks. Trying to reach your snowpack: destination in spite of bad weather could end in tragedy. If road and weather conditions • Stay in your vehicle unless a building are bad, consider not travelling at all. is in sight. • If possible, use a candle for heat When you travel in the winter, stay on main roads and keep your radio tuned to local instead of the car’s heater. Run your stations for weather reports. If it becomes hard to see the road in front of you, ﬁnd a motor sparingly, not more than 10 place to pull over safely as soon as possible. You should always be prepared to turn minutes every hour. back to seek shelter if the road or weather conditions become unsafe. Let someone • Be aware of carbon monoxide fumes; know your destination and plans before leaving on a road trip. ensure your tailpipe doesn’t become blocked with snow. • If your car is running, open a window on the sheltered side of your vehicle to keep fresh air in your car. • Open and close the doors of your vehicle occasionally so snow doesn’t pile up in front of them. • Do not drink alcohol while stranded. It will impair your judgement and speeds up loss of body heat. Winter Emergency Kit Checklist • Ice scraper and brush • Antifreeze • Booster cables • Lock de-icer • Shovel • Matches and a candle in a can • Sand, salt or kitty litter • Winter clothing and footwear • High-energy snacks • Flares
These items should always be in your car or the cab of your truck: • Road maps • Flash light • First-aid kit • Blanket Keep your vehicle properly maintained for winter driving. Regularly check and maintain: • Battery • Belts • Hoses • Radiator • Block heater • Tires Source: Workers Compensation Board
14 I Green for Life December 2013
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