With record setting low temperatures across the nation it’s a good time for us to review the potential hazards associated with extremely cold working conditions. The two major concerns are hypothermia and frost bite. Hypothermia results from the loss of body temperature. Symptoms include shivering, apathy, loss of consciousness, decreasing pulse rate, and decreasing breathing rate. Frostbite occurs in freezing conditions. The nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers and toes are the body parts most likely to be affected. Remind your workers to protect themselves by:
- Dressing in layers to block the escape of body heat;
- Choosing clothing that provides good insulation to the head, armpits, and groin area where most body heat escapes;
- Keeping their nose, ears, cheeks, and chin covered;
- Wearing moisture wicking wool socks, and insulated work boots;
- Staying dry;
- Keeping out of the wind;
- Eating nutritious high protein foods; and
- Staying well hydrated.
For more information about cold stress, visit the U.S. Department of Labor’s website article… Cold Stress at DOL, and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health website article… Cold Stress at NIOSH.