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The sanitary, environmentally-friendly way to go

Portable bathroom solutions just stink.

When your business is working outside, the options for where your employees can go to the bathroom are limited.

It takes too long for them to go back and forth to a porta potty. Besides, porta potties are just plain disgusting. We have a better solution.

Today, 20,000+ emergency, construction, and other utility workers trust Brief Relief. The on-the-go bathroom solutions can be packed with their first aid kits, gear, and other equipment.

We have been in the business of on-the-job safety and employee satisfaction for more than three decades. Today, we continue to invest in the idea that all mobile workers deserve a comfortable work environment—including an easy, sanitary way to do their business. The rightful comfort and privacy should not matter whether you’re in an office or in the field.

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As the winter months approach, ensuring the safety and well-being of workers exposed to cold temperatures becomes a top priority for employers. Cold weather can pose significant risks to employees, ranging from frostbite and hypothermia to slips and falls on icy surfaces. Properly educating employees about the potential hazards and necessary precautions is crucial for preventing cold-related illnesses and injuries. In this blog post, we’ll explore essential tips for employers on how to keep their workers safe during cold weather.

Educating Your Employees About Cold-Weather Risks

Education is a foundational step that must be considered when keeping workers safe in cold temperatures. Properly educating employees about the potential hazards and necessary precautions is crucial for preventing cold-related illnesses and injuries. Here’s a closer look at how to effectively educate your workforce: 

  • Explain what cold stress is: Help employees understand cold stress — the body works hard to maintain a stable core temperature in cold conditions, and prolonged exposure can lead to serious health risks such as frostbite and hypothermia.
  • Recognizing early signs of trauma: Teach employees to recognize the early signs of cold-related illnesses. Symptoms of frostbite include numbness, tingling, or discoloration of the skin. Additionally, hypothermia can manifest as shivering, confusion, and slurred speech. Encourage workers to find shelter and report any discomfort immediately, even if symptoms are minor. 
  • The importance of dressing appropriately: Educate your employees about wearing proper clothing to trap and conserve body heat. For example, moisture-wicking fabrics, clothes made of insulating materials, and thick fabrics are great for cold outdoor weather. However, they may need to wear more than just these types of clothing. Consider the materials to be worn. For example, merino wool won’t draw body heat from the skin when wet. Employees should add layers and protect extremities with items such as additional jackets, gloves, scarves, hats, beanies, etc. 

Monitor Weather Conditions

Stay informed about weather forecasts in your region. Thankfully, modern technology — such as satellite data — can predict extreme weather patterns (such as snowstorms) days, if not weeks, in advance. You can receive this information by tuning into your local news broadcasts and receiving up-to-date and accurate weather predictions for your geographic area.

The safety of your employees comes first. When icy conditions are predicted, consider delaying work or implementing shorter shifts. The risk of cold-related injuries increases in severe cold weather. Prioritize safety over productivity, you’ll abide by OSHA guidelines, and boost employee morale. 

In addition to monitoring weather conditions, you can also develop a weather policy. Create a clear and well-defined cold-weather policy that outlines how the company will respond to various weather conditions. This policy should include criteria for determining when it’s safe to work in cold temperatures and when adjustments must be made. 

Provide Adequate Breaks

When working in cold temperatures, providing employees with adequate breaks isn’t just about comfort — it’s a crucial safety measure that can help prevent cold-related illnesses and injuries. Adequate breaks allow workers to warm up, maintain their core body temperature, and recharge their energy. 

Frequent and more prolonged breaks are better than shorter ones in cold weather conditions. Also, encourage warm-up periods for employees to engage in physical exercises (e.g., jumping jacks). Not only is this good for their physical fitness, it increases blood circulation and raises body temperature. 

Granting ample breaks also gives workers a mental breather, which helps reduce the stress and anxiety of working in harsh weather conditions.

Encourage Hydration and Nutrition

Drinking fluids and consuming warm, nutritious meals can help the body generate heat and sustain energy levels. Ensure employees have access to hot beverages (such as hot cocoa, tea, and coffee) and warm, nutritious snacks and meals. 

For example, you can set up a table area to place your hot beverages (in insulated canisters/beverage dispensers). Hot meals can be stored in insulated packages. You can even place snacks that are dense in nutrition, such as protein bars and Clif bars. 

Address Slip and Fall Hazards

Due to icy and snowy surfaces, the risk of slips and falls escalates dramatically and makes a big safety issue. These incidents result in injuries and can disrupt operations and decrease worker morale. Employers must prioritize strategies that effectively address slip and fall hazards to ensure a safe and productive workplace. 

Maintain clear pathways by promptly removing accumulated snow and ice. Use snow shovels or snow plows to make walkways, entryways, and parking lots accessible in hazardous conditions. You can also encourage your employees to wear footwear with slip-resistant soles to ensure a safe workplace. Remember, proper footwear can make all the difference in icy conditions by enhancing grip and traction on slippery surfaces. Appropriate footwear provides stability, reduces the risk of falls, and contributes to worker safety. 

Have an Emergency Kit

An emergency kit empowers workers and supervisors to respond effectively in urgent situations, potentially minimizing the impact of injuries or health issues. Here’s what you can include in your emergency kit: 

  • First aid supplies: Provide a first aid kit that includes items such as bandages, antiseptic wipes, adhesive tape, gauze, and trauma scissors. These essential items can quickly address minor injuries and prevent infection.
  • Hand and foot warmers: These small packs generate heat and quickly relieve the symptoms of oncoming frostbite.
  • Flashlight and batteries: Ensure workers can illuminate their surroundings during low light or power outages. 
  • Whistle: A whistle can serve as a signal for help, especially when visibility is limited. 
  • Disposable waste bag: In some cases, your workers may not have easy access to the restroom, or maybe traveling to a nearby toilet would expose your workers to more severe conditions. For scenarios like this, a disposable waste bag can provide your workers with the necessary convenience, safety, and hygiene to take care of their needs. 

By equipping employees with knowledge, proper gear, and effective emergency measures, employers can shield them from harm and empower them to face cold-weather challenges confidently, all the while prioritizing worker safety. Your commitment to their well-being lays the foundation for a resilient and productive workforce, fostering a workplace where safety is paramount. If you want to equip your employees with the essential gear necessary for working safely in cold temperatures, browse our portable restroom solutions here.

Accidents in the workplace are among the worst possible scenarios for utility companies. Workplace accidents can be harmful to an employee’s life in ways that go far beyond what they do on the job, and any good company strives to keep their employees safe, healthy, and happy. 


But on-the-job injuries, especially those that result in workers’ compensation claims, are also detrimental to the company. They result in lower productivity, time spent replacing and training personnel, unplanned overtime for other employees, and a variety of other expenses and setbacks. 


It’s safe to say that for most companies, reducing the accidents that lead to workers’ compensation claims is in the best interest of all parties involved. 


Of course, this is easier said than done. For utility workers working closely with electricity, water, and in potentially hazardous environments, risk is just part of the job. But keeping workers safe must be a primary objective for any utility company, and taking these steps can certainly minimize the risks that lead to workplace accidents. Here are some ways to create a safe workplace environment.


Prioritize Risk Assessment and Prevention


Utility companies must have a dedicated, knowledgeable safety team that can assess risk factors for employees at business facilities and in the field. They should be adequately staffed and trained to meet the company’s needs, as well as understand the hazards that follow your employees wherever they go on the job. 


A good safety team will take steps like these to ensure employee safety:


    • Create a written safety plan.

      Having a written set of policies for safe conduct is vital, along with corresponding procedures for prevention and for reporting incidents. The plan should be based on OSHA requirements for the industry and should be tailored to your business. Making sure all your emergency exits are identified and up to code is also a top priority in any safety plan.
  • Consistently audit, update, and maintain the plan.

    Over time, circumstances and experiences may require additions and changes to the safety plan. Ensure your plan is regularly updated with the most current information available.
  • Engage your insurer.

    Insurance companies are professional risk assessors and may be able to offer advice for best practices to keep workers safe. 


Enact Comprehensive Training Practices

Training is essential for conveying safe practices, even for seasoned pros. Maintaining a rigorous training program creates an environment where safety comes first for everyone. 


Training programs should be job-specific and should be taken seriously, reminding employees that their lives — and the lives of others around them — are often on the line in the field, and safety should be taken seriously at all times. Even neglecting safety in simple aspects of the job, such as lifting heavy objects without proper safety equipment, can lead to problems. 


    • Train at regular intervals.

      Training isn’t just for new employees; it needs to be an ongoing requirement, particularly when safety is at a premium. Anytime there is a new piece of equipment introduced, anyone who may use the machine or even come into contact with it should be trained on its safe use.

      Continuing safety training and “refresher” courses continue to drill in best practices for all employees. Encourage your team to take regular breaks as well.
  • Encourage an ongoing dialogue.
    Encourage employees to report safety matters, and welcome their questions anytime. When an issue is reported, follow up and act on it promptly.
  • Evaluate processes and change them when necessary.

    Conducting regular safety reviews, updating training procedures, and implementing preventive measures will help ensure the rules are clear, accurate, and properly reflect the utility’s needs.
  • Consider multiple training types.

    In-person or classroom training, online modules or webinars, and reading materials can all be effective. Learn which works best for your company, or even better, use multiple methods to make it easier and more convenient for employees and trainers. 


Foster a Culture of Safety First


The best way to create a company that prioritizes safety is to have leadership that demands safety be put first. That priority must begin at the top and be pushed ahead of the normal metrics and goals. When management gives more value to a job done more slowly and safely than one done quickly, the rest of the company will follow suit. 


Implementing processes and procedures is a great first step, but if they are pushed aside when the chips are down, they don’t mean a whole lot. Here are ways to create a workplace culture of safe practices:


  • Reward good safety records.

    Employees who value safety should be rewarded for their efforts. Commending consistently good safety records, or even small accident-avoiding gestures, should come with praise or other incentives.
  • Pay attention to the small stuff.

    Sometimes, seemingly small gestures can have big payoffs. Managing the little details, such as optional equipment like a portable restroom solution, and a secondary portable restroom solution can keep technicians from situations where they do something careless that results in an injured employee..
  • Reinforce safety daily.

    When you talk about safety and the potential consequences every day, you keep it at the top of everyone’s minds. Work to follow best safety practices daily.


Indeed, it is often the little things that prevent costly accidents, higher insurance premiums, and the other pains that come with workers’ compensation claims. Having a safety program in place is a long term effort to reduce workplace injuries.


Brief Relief specializes in portable restroom solutions like the Disposa-John Portable Restroom which can help prevent emergency restroom situations that can lead to careless mistakes. Having the foresight to anticipate these types of scenarios not only prevents unsafe practices, it can save money and effort in the long run by preventing accidents and costly compensation claims. 


Help your utility workers stay comfortable on the job with these workplace safety tips.  Workers whose needs are met are safer workers. See how Brief Relief products can help your workers stay efficient, reliable, and safe when working in potentially hazardous environments. Always remember to create a safe work environment that practices a strong safety culture.

Technology always marches forward, and truck drivers have certainly benefited from technology advancements over the past couple of decades. 


While technological advances surrounding location, mapping, and time logging have already transformed the way truckers work, trucking companies continue to adopt transportation tech as part of their day-to-day operations. 


These advancements continue to help truck drivers reach their destinations and back in a safe, comfortable manner and make their jobs a little easier. 


Today’s leaps ahead aren’t necessarily self-driving trucks or “Jetsons”-like flying vehicles, but modern trucking tech has absolutely improved the truck-driver experience.


Dynamic Routing

Location tracking has been around for quite awhile, and the ability to chart your course with your smartphone makes finding a destination markedly easier. Dynamic routing optimizes delivery routes, reduces time on the road, and saves fuel — all vital metrics for trucking companies. This means slow traffic or stops on the highway, which previously might have cost drivers precious hours, can now be anticipated, giving drivers time to find an alternate route. 


Smartphone Apps

They say there’s an app for everything, and in the trucking world, that’s pretty close to being true. Need to track your driving route, avoid accidents, and optimize your trip? There’s an app for that. Need to find the best place for cheaper fuel? 


There’s an app. Need something to track inspection and maintenance schedules? They have one. Need to track individual driver performance, including mileage, hours, fuel, service costs, and average cost per mile? You know there’s one. 


Smartphone apps make tracking all of these things easier and faster while keeping the information in the palm of your hand, improving tracking and monitoring, safety, and organization. Just be sure to stay off your phone while driving! 


Dash Cams

In-cab cameras have been around for a while, but today’s dash cams have made them mainstream for anyone who wants one. Camera systems provide protection for vehicles, and more recent advancements mean streaming, night vision, and high-definition images uploaded to the cloud. Dash cams also provide protection for trucking companies, particularly in lawsuits involving accidents or fraud. 


Temperature Tracking

When transporting goods that need to stay below a certain temperature, temperature tracking helps ensure your load is safe and sound. As part of the Food Safety Modernization Act, truckers hauling food are required to have a way to ensure sanitary transportation for their cargo. 


As a result, most refrigerated units today are fitted with a temperature-tracking device, which not only monitors the in-trailer temperature, but sends readings to the fleet management platform with GPS positioning. 


As an early-warning device, temperature trackers alert drivers and management to temperature increases, allowing drivers to pull over and investigate (and correct issues if they’re able). The results are increased food safety and a higher rate of safe delivery, which means more money to shippers. 


Collision Mitigation Technology

Though self-driving vehicles are making truck drivers nervous for their jobs, the development of collision mitigation technology undeniably helps prevent accidents, reduces the risk of human error, and saves lives. 


The use of proximity-sensing technology to alert drivers to potential crashes, radar detects hazards both in front of and in the blind spots of trucks. Collision mitigation systems are quickly becoming standard on new rigs and are a vital part of today’s truck-driving experience. They can also be retrofitted to work on existing trucks.


Portable Bathroom Solutions

Time off the road is time wasted, and nothing wastes time like unscheduled stops. Products like Brief Relief’s Daily Restroom Kit® can help truck drivers make a quick stop for relief rather than having to track down a rest stop or resort to using a dirty gas station. With Brief Relief products, it’s a quick stop on the side of the road, and your potty is self-contained, sanitary, and ready to dispose of properly.


Electronic Logging Devices (ELD)

ELDs electronically track and record truck drivers’ hours of service to ensure drivers are operating within the limitations set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Once a certain threshold has been met, the truck is no longer able to drive. 


Meant to enforce driving limits for the safety of drivers and the public, ELDs are required to be installed in trucks. Some owner-operators and small-fleet drivers grouse at the idea, but ELDs are vital pieces of safety equipment that makes truck drivers, company owners, and the general public safer. 


Despite these advancements in technology, today’s truck drivers still have one of the most important jobs in the world. In the age of IoT, they have access to more tricks, tips, and new devices than ever, and they deserve to have all the advantages they can. 

That’s one of the reasons why Brief Relief creates portable bathroom solutions for truckers who know when they have to go. Truck drivers can employ many of Brief Relief’s products to help keep them going when they’re going. Check out Brief Relief’s full line of products, and see which can help you arrive at your destination safely and quickly.

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