October 17, 2018
What IS Snow Anyway?

 
Is Snow White? Maybe, or Maybe Not
The winter landscape paintings above were made by Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artists from Europe and the United States. The color blocks at the right of each painting are just some of the colors of paint that each artist used to portray snow.
Why didn’t they just use white paint to depict snow? Snow is white. Unless a dog passed by or muddy feet walked through, snow is white.
There’s a scientific reason that snow is white. Light is scattered and bounces off the ice crystals in the snow. The reflected light includes all the colors, which, together, look white.  While your red sweater absorbs all colors except red and reflects red back out for people to see and a yellow tennis ball absorbs all colors except yellow and reflects yellow back out for people to see, snow reflects all colors. And all the colors of light add up to white.
But snow can also look blue or purple or even pink depending on how the sunlight hits it and whether it is in shadow. Some artists try to avoid using pure white paint in their paintings entirely and instead think about what colors they see instead of what colors they expect to see. Mixing a little white with other colors might look more like the
snow that they see.
What Exactly is SNOW?
Snow forms when tiny ice crystals in clouds stick together to become snowflakes. If enough crystals stick together, they’ll become heavy enough to fall to the ground.
…Snow is formed when temperatures are low and there is moisture in the atmosphere in the form of tiny ice crystals
What is the temperature for it to snow?
The falling snow passes through the freezing level into the warmer air, where it melts and changes to rain before reaching the ground. When the air temperature at the ground is less than 32 F, the precipitation begins falling as snow from the clouds.
Safety Tips
Snow – 9 Tips for Winter Parking Lot Safety
Parking lots can be dangerous places. A nurse at an Illinois hospital was recently killed by a snowplow in the hospital parking lot. How can you avoid tragedies like this and other parking lot accidents? Keep reading to find out.
One problem with parking lots is that drivers feel they can let their guard down because they’re no longer on the road. But according to a study by the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers Association, 20 percent of insurance claims were related to parking lot accidents. The problem is twofold-limited visibility and distraction. A full lot makes it hard for drivers to see hazards. As well, drivers entering or leaving parking spaces have severely constrained visibility.
Distractions are a major issue. When people get into their cars, they do all kinds of things, such as fiddling with the radio, checking their phones, or starting up the GPS. Unfortunately, many of these activities take place as they are backing up or driving in the parking lot. As a result, they may not see pedestrians, who may also be distracted-especially by their phones-as they walk. All these hazards are made considerably worse in inclement weather.
Avoid causing a parking lot accident or becoming a victim
Share these parking lot safety tips with employees:
  1. Do everything you need to do (adjusting seat, mirrors, etc.) before you exit the parking space.
  2. When walking in a parking lot, stay to the sides of the aisle and watch for cars.
  3. Do not talk on the phone or use headphones in a parking lot.
  4. Obey parking lot speed limits and lane designations; don’t cut diagonally across the lot.
  5. When walking in an icy lot (or any lot for that matter) make eye contact with an approaching driver. Stop if you don’t think the driver has seen you.
  6. Wear boots or shoes with nonslip soles and good ankle support. If necessary, carry your work shoes with you and change inside.
  7. Snow muffles engine sounds; don’t rely solely on hearing to know if a vehicle is coming. Electric and hybrid vehicles are especially quiet
  8. Look out for snowplows and snowblowers. If possible, these should operate when the lot is empty or as empty as possible.
  9. Snowdrifts can prevent drivers from seeing traffic signs and crosswalks. Don’t take shortcuts over snowdrifts or plowed snow.
Winter is Almost Here –
Tips for Keeping Employees Safe
When winter is in full swing, OSHA is reminds employers to protect workers from cold stress, icy conditions, and other winter hazards.
Most injuries during winter storms-70 percent according to the National Weather Service-are a result of vehicle accidents, while 25 percent result from being caught out in a storm. To help prevent these injuries, OSHA urges businesses to anticipate the hazards their workers will be exposed to during a winter storm and plan accordingly to help them stay safe.
Preparing for winter storms
For employees whose work will require them to drive when there is a possibility of a winter storm, it’s important to be prepared. Vehicles should be inspected before use to make sure they’re in good working condition. Tires, oil, brakes, visibility systems, the engine, the cooling system, the exhaust system, and the electrical system should all be included in the inspection.
In addition, drivers should carry an emergency kit containing blankets, a cell phone or two-way radio, a windshield scraper and snow brush, a flashlight with extra batteries, a shovel, extra winter clothing, a tow chain, matches, traction aids such as a bag of sand or cat litter, emergency flares, jumper cables, snacks, water, and road maps.
Employers should also consider having winter storm supplies on their premises. Examples of important items to have on hand include food, water, blankets, a weather radio, flashlights and extra batteries, salt and sand or cat litter for deicing and traction, and snow shovels or a snowblower to clear walkways where employees must travel.
Working during a storm
If your employees will need to work outside during a winter storm, keep the following hazards in mind:
Frostbite and hypothermia
 
Both conditions are a result of extreme cold. Frostbite is severe, sometimes permanent damage to the deep layers of skin and tissue characterized by a loss of feeling and a waxy-white or pale appearance in the fingers, toes, nose, or earlobes. Hypothermia occurs when the body temperature drops below 95° Fahrenheit; symptoms include uncontrollable shivering, slow speech, memory lapses, frequent stumbling, drowsiness, and exhaustion. Severe hypothermia can be fatal.
To prevent frostbite and hypothermia, workers should wear proper clothing for cold, wet, and windy conditions. This typically consists of several layers, including a water-resistant outer layer, a hat, and gloves. In addition, workers should take frequent, short breaks in warm, dry shelters; drink warm, sweet beverages (avoiding those that contain caffeine or alcohol); and eat warm, high-calorie foods.
To help a person with possible frostbite or hypothermia, seek immediate medical assistance and warm the person slowly, starting with the trunk. Arms and legs should be warmed last. Put the person in dry clothing and wrap him or her in a blanket. Never give anything containing caffeine or alcohol to a person with hypothermia or frostbite.
Slips and falls
To avoid injuries, clear walking surfaces of snow and ice and use salt, sand, or other materials to melt ice and provide traction. If employees must walk on snow- and ice-covered surfaces, they should make sure to wear boots with good rubber treads to provide traction. Walking slowly and taking smaller steps also help to prevent slips and falls.
Snow removal hazards. Shoveling show can be physically taxing and can lead to exhaustion, dehydration, back injuries, heart attacks, and other conditions. To reduce the risk of injury, workers should follow the following precautions:
  • Warm up before shoveling.
  • Push snow instead of lifting whenever possible.
  • Shovel small amounts of snow at a time.
  • When lifting snow, keep the back straight and lift with the legs.
If employees are using a snowblower to remove snow, lacerations and amputations can be a hazard. To avoid these injuries, workers should never attempt to clear a jammed machine by hand or while it is running; instead, they should turn the machine off, wait 5 seconds, and then use a long stick or other object to clear out wet snow or debris. In addition, workers should never add fuel to a snowblower while it is running or hot; fueling should be completed before operating the machine.
By Emily Scace, Senior Editor, Safety Magazine
Professional vs. DIY
Top 9 Benefits of Hiring a Professional
Snow Removal Service
Without wasting time on fluffy introductions, we would like to begin with listing down all the advantages of hiring a professional snow removal service, both for your residential property and for your commercial space.
1. Reduce your responsibilities towards the commercial space
One of the biggest worries of property owners after every snowfall is clearing out the parking space or the area just outside the property. It’s either required by law or needed to maintain the flow of customers.
In the case of residential properties, it’s essential for keeping the family members safe as the slippery surface is a very accident-prone area. A homeowner may still be okay with having a snow-clad property that needs to be cleared up every morning.
But, business owners often rush and get stressed up when they have both their home and commercial space to be cleaned up. If you hire a professional snow removal service for say, your commercial property, you wouldn’t need to worry. Just go to work like every average day.
2. No need of investment on equipment
3. No need of knowledge of operations
Many people end up ruining their well-built landscape due to improper snow removal activities. Then it’s about clearing the sidewalks without any kind of surface damage or damage to the property’s foundation. One also has to be quick with the work else it will get tougher and dangerous.
In the case of residential properties, getting the snow off the roof is a tricky task. Keeping it there and letting it melt may damage your roof but at the same time, getting to the roof in bad weather without proper experience can put you at a high risk.  Only professional snow removal service personnel are trained well to do this job.
Such a service professional has the proper experience to deal with any snowfall events. It may be one of a kind record snowfall, or it may be just the usual one that you get every year; they can handle anyone very quickly.
4. Avoid Injuries
Shoveling is a normal activity for most of us who live in areas that receive snowfall. It’s, in fact, a great exercise but only if you’re fit enough to do it. The combination of heavy exercise and extreme cold can turn out to be deadly for old people, people with existing heart problems, people with a history of high blood pressure, people who live a sedentary lifestyle usually and individuals who smoke.
On the other hand, thousands of people get back injuries due to improper snow removal techniques. If you don’t hold the shovel correctly or bend a little wrongly or do it too quickly, you can get a serious injury and ultimately pay a lot for healthcare.
You aren’t saving anything by not hiring a professional company. Rather, you’re causing yourself a lot more health risks if you’re doing the job while not being fit enough to do that.
5. Bid farewell to morning stress
Lots of people experience excessive stress in winter due to this massive activity that just happens. You woke up, and you thought you would have a great day until you opened the window. You see a thick layer of snow outside your house. Your entire schedule gets disrupted, and it ends up being a very stressful day.
But if you outsource the job, you wouldn’t need to worry about it anymore.
6. Reduce liabilities
Let’s get back to commercial properties. As a business owner, you will be liable for any accidents that happen on your property due to improper snow removal. It’s certainly not pleasing to have tons of lawsuits haunting you for next few years of your life. Is it?
You can also avoid fines through timely snow removal. Many municipal corporations impose fines on citizens that don’t clear their driveways and sidewalks on time.
7. Reduced costs
Now, the people who hate mathematics are the ones who need to read this point.  You don’t save money by not hiring a professional snow removal service. The cost of acquiring and keeping up the equipment as well as time spent on doing the job equals more than what you spend on a good snow removal plan.
8. Get clear driveways even during snow storms and holidays
You do not want to spend the Thanksgiving Day or Christmas while clearing the snow from your driveway. Do you?
The best part about a professional snow removal service is that they work even during the holiday season. They are also available during snow storms. You simply don’t want to get out during the bad weather and work around with a shovel.
Most of the employees that you hire for the purpose monitor the weather themselves and show up at the right time without any calls or messages. It’s often the case if you have a yearly contract.
9. Quick work
A professional works much faster than an ordinary individual. It’s partly because of the equipment; which doesn’t matter much, for you can only buy similar stuff (no matter how much it costs) and work around. Right? It’s wrong because a significant factor that affects their speed at work is their experience with the task. They do it every single year and with so many different properties. They’re good at it.
We don’t mean to discourage you through this post. The points just discuss in what situations you’re better off outsourcing the work. But if you’re a young healthy person or trying to live frugally in your apartment and have enough time to do it, you can consider doing it yourself. We have some snow removal tips for you if you want to DIY it.
These are the top 9 reasons why you must hire a professional snow removal service. We discussed every single aspect of what you needed to know before you make your decision.
  • No need of investment on equipment
  • No need of knowledge of operations
  • Avoid Injuries
  • Bid farewell to morning stress
  • Reduce liabilities
  • Reduced costs
  • Get clear driveways even during snow storms and holidays
  • Quick work
Let US know how we can help save you time and money for your Commercial Snow Service Needs.
Call today 330-628-9100
Vitamin D & Deficiency
Vitamin D is one of many nutrients our bodies need to stay healthy. It helps the body absorb calcium, which then builds bones and keeps bones strong and healthy. Severely low levels of vitamin D can result in soft, brittle bones; bone pain; and muscle pain and weakness. What is vitamin D and why is it needed?
Vitamin D is one of many nutrients our bodies need to stay healthy. Among the vitamin’s main functions, it helps the body:
  • Absorb calcium. Vitamin D, along with calcium, helps build bones and keep bones strong and healthy.
  • Block the release of parathyroid hormone. This hormone reabsorbs bone tissue, which makes bones thin and brittle.
Vitamin D may also play a role in muscle function and the immune system. The immune system is your body’s defense system. It helps protect it against infections and other illnesses. Taking vitamin D every day has been shown to reduce the risk of falling in older individuals.
Other ways vitamin D is thought to help us, and how much we would need to take, is an area of active research (and controversy). There have been studies to suggest that it might help prevent colonprostate, and breast cancers. There is also some research that it might help prevent and treat diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and multiple sclerosis. However, the results of many of these studies are either preliminary or under debate. Without other long-term research, even many of the researchers who conducted these initial studies are cautious about recommending vitamin D for the prevention of these diseases.
What are the sources of vitamin D?
You can get vitamin D through sun exposure, your diet, and supplements.
Sun exposure
Vitamin D is produced when your skin is exposed to sunshine. The amount of vitamin D that your skin makes depends on such factors as the season (i.e., there’s usually less sunshine in winter months), the time of day (the sun’s rays are most powerful between 10 am and 3 pm), the amount of cloud cover and air pollution, and where you live (cities near the equator have higher UV levels). It’s the UV (ultraviolet) light in sunlight that causes your skin to make vitamin D.
Food sources (diet)
The best way to get enough vitamin D every day is to eat a variety of healthy foods from all food groups. The vitamin content of various foods is shown in the table.
Vitamin D Content of Various Foods
International Units per serving
  • Cod liver oil, 1 tablespoon: 1360
  • Swordfish, cooked, 3 ounces: 566
  • Salmon (sockeye) cooked, 3 ounces: 477
  • Tuna, canned in water, drained, 3 ounces: 154
  • Orange juice fortified with vitamin D, 1 cup: 137
  • Milk, vitamin fortified, 1 cup: 115-124
  • Yogurt, fortified with 20% of the daily value of vitamin D, 6 ounces: 80
  • Margarine, fortified, 1 tablespoon: 60
  • Sardines, canned in oil, drained, 2 sardines: 46
  • Liver, beef, cooked, 3 ounces: 42
  • Egg yolk, 1 large: 41
  • Cereal, fortified with 10% of the daily value of vitamin D, 1 cup: 40
  • Cheese, Swiss, 1 ounce: 6
Source: Vitamin D. Health Professionals. Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet. National Institutes of Health. Office of Dietary Supplements.
It is important to check product labels, as the amount of added vitamin D varies when it is artificially added to products such as orange juice, yogurt, and margarine.
Supplements
Since there is a limited number of foods that contain vitamin D, getting enough vitamin D from your diet alone is difficult. While sun exposure does produce vitamin D, too much sun exposure can increase the risk of skin cancer. Therefore, the addition of vitamin D supplements may be needed.
How much vitamin D is needed?
In healthy people, the amount of vitamin D needed per day is shown in the chart (according to the Institute of Medicine). It is important to know that these are general recommendations. If your doctor is checking your blood levels, he or she might recommend higher or lower doses based on your individual needs.
According to the American Academy of Clinical Endocrinologists, it may be appropriate to do a blood test of vitamin D in many patients with osteoporosis. The amount of vitamin D supplement can be customized for each person, based on the results. For many older patients, a vitamin D supplement containing anywhere between 800 to 2000 IU daily, which can be obtained without a prescription, can be both safe and beneficial. It is important to speak with your doctor about your individual needs.
Daily Recommended Vitamin D Intake
Infants 0 – 6 months
*Recommended Dietary Allowance (IU/day): 400 Upper Level Intake (IU/day): 1,000
Infants 6 – 12 months
*Recommended Dietary Allowance (IU/day): 400 Upper Level Intake (IU/day): 1,500
1 – 3 years old
*Recommended Dietary Allowance (IU/day): 600 Upper Level Intake (IU/day): 2,500
4 – 8 years old
*Recommended Dietary Allowance (IU/day): 600 Upper Level Intake (IU/day): 3,000
9 – 70 years old
*Recommended Dietary Allowance (IU/day): 600 Upper Level Intake (IU/day): 4,000
Over 70 years old
*Recommended Dietary Allowance (IU/day): 800 Upper Level Intake (IU/day): 4,000
14 – 50 years old, pregnant/lactating
*Recommended Dietary Allowance (IU/day): 600 Upper Level Intake (IU/day): 4,000
Source: Institute of Medicine, released 11/30/2010
Are there medical conditions that can cause a vitamin D deficiency (shortage)?
Yes. Vitamin D deficiency can be caused by specific medical conditions, such as:
  • Kidney and liver diseases. These diseases reduce the amount of an enzyme needed to change vitamin D to a form that is used in the body. Lack of this enzyme leads to an inadequate level of vitamin D in the body.
  • Cystic fibrosisCrohn’s disease, and celiac disease. These diseases do not allow the intestines to absorb enough vitamin D.
  • Gastric bypass surgery. This weight-loss surgery removes part of the stomach and/or the intestines. Reducing the size of these organs lowers the amount of vitamin D-containing nutrients that can be absorbed.
  • Obesity. A body mass index greater than 30 is associated with lower vitamin D levels. It is thought that the fat actually holds onto the vitamin D and does not allow it to be released into the bloodstream.
Other factors that can lead to vitamin D deficiency:
  • Age. The skin’s ability to make vitamin D lessens with age.
  • Mobility. People who are home-bound or are rarely outside (e.g., in nursing homes and other facilities) are not able to use sun exposure as a source of vitamin D.
  • Skin color. Dark-colored skin is less able to make vitamin D than fair-colored skin.
  • Human breast milk. A woman’s breast milk only contains a small amount of vitamin D. Infant formulas often do, too. Therefore infants, particularly those who are breastfed exclusively, are at risk for not receiving enough vitamin D.
Are there medications that can cause a vitamin D deficiency?
Yes. Vitamin D levels can be lowered by certain medications. These include: laxativessteroids (e.g., prednisone), cholesterol-lowering drugs (e.g., cholestyramine and colestipol), seizure-control drugs (e.g., phenobarbital and phenytoin), a tuberculosis drug (rifampin), and a weight-loss drug (orlistat).
Always tell your doctor about the drugs you take and any vitamin D supplements or other supplements or herbs/alternative health products that you take.
How often do I need to get my vitamin D level checked?
Routine checks of vitamin D levels are not currently recommended. However, your doctor might need to check your levels if you have medical conditions, risk factors for vitamin D deficiency, or are taking certain medications, as already discussed. Sometimes vitamin D levels can be checked as a cause of symptoms such as long-lasting body aches and a history of falls, or bone fractures without significant trauma.
What health problems can occur if a person doesn’t get enough vitamin D?
Severely low levels of vitamin D can result in a disease called osteomalacia in adults, and rickets in children. If left untreated, both conditions lead to soft, brittle bones, bone pain, and muscle pain and weakness. Osteoporosis is associated with reduced bone density, which leads to an increased risk of falls and bone fractures.
Can a person ever have too much vitamin D?
Yes. See the table, “Daily Recommended Vitamin D Intake.” This table lists the upper limits for vitamin D levels by age.
Symptoms of too much vitamin D include:
Do not take higher-than-recommended doses of vitamin D without first discussing it with your doctor. However, your doctor might recommend higher doses of vitamin D if he or she is checking your blood levels and adjusting your dose accordingly.
How is vitamin D deficiency treated and how can it be prevented?
The goals of treatment and prevention are the same — to reach, and then maintain, an adequate level of vitamin D in the body.
A combination of methods is used to do this, including:
Eating more foods that contain vitamin D. See vitamin D food sources table included in this article. Keep in mind that foods alone usually don’t meet the daily recommended levels of vitamin D.
Getting some exposure to sunshine — but not TOO much. Exactly how much sun exposure is needed is not clear. Five to 15 minutes of sun exposure two to three times a week to the face, arms, legs, or back may be all that is needed to absorb a suitable amount of vitamin D. Older patients, those with darker skin color, and those living in northern climates might need more sun exposure (especially in early spring and late fall). The use of sunscreen, and standing behind a window, prevents vitamin D from being produced in the skin.
However, know that too much sunshine increases the risk of skin cancer and ages the skin. The American Academy of Dermatology advises that when in the sun, use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.
Using vitamin D supplements. Vitamin D comes in two forms: D2 (ergocalciferol) and D3 (cholecalciferol). Studies have shown that these two forms are equally good for bone health. Work with your doctor to determine if you need to take a vitamin supplement and, if so, how much to take. It is important to discuss how much vitamin D you are taking with your doctor, especially if you are taking more than what is listed in the chart above. Though higher doses are often safely used, too much vitamin D can build up in the body if used incorrectly.

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