Working in Cold ConditionsDecember 4, 2019
Working in cold conditions can be challenging. Employees who work outside in cold temperatures should be aware of safety precautions be provided with proper gear by their employers. Employers should also provide a warm, dry place for employees to avoid cold stress injuries, which is stress on the body due to working in cold temperatures for too long. The following are safety tips for workers performing their job duties in cold conditions:
- Workers should use a knit mask to protect their faces from frostbite.
- Wear a wool or synthetic layer as the first and middle layer to provide insulation and to keep moisture away from the body.
- Dampness can increase the loss of heat in the body, so reducing perspiration is key.
- Clothing should be loose-fitting. Tight-fitting clothing can reduce blood flow in the body that counteracts efforts to keep warm.
- Workers should use insulated gloves provided by the employer
- Wear insulated and waterproof boots.
- Keep extra clothes, including underwear and socks, on the worksite in case your clothing becomes wet.
Periodic breaks should be taken by workers and there should have available warm drinks that are sweetened to help warm up. Additionally, high calorie foods should be available to workers since working in cold environments can sap energy. When employers know their employees will be working in cold conditions for an extended amount of time, they should train employees to recognize the signs of cold stress, including hypothermia, trench or immersion foot, and frostbite.
Symptoms of Cold Stress Injuries
Hypothermia can move from mild to moderate and once a person moves into moderate symptoms, that person could die if they do not receive medical attention. Mild symptoms of hypothermia include shivering or stomping feet to create warmth with some fatigue. Moderate symptoms occur as body temperature decreases. In this stage, shivering will stop, and there may be a loss of coordination, as well as confusion and disorientation. In this stage, a person may turn blue with a slowed pulse and even a loss of consciousness. At that point, medical assistance should be called.
Steps to Take When Experiencing a Cold Stress Injury
The following are steps to take while waiting for medical assistance:
- Remove wet clothing
- Put a vapor barrier around the person so that they do not lose moisture through the skin
- If the person is conscious, give them warm, sweetened fluids
- If the person is unconscious and no pulse is detected, give rescue breaths for three minutes. Follow any other instructions given by a 911 operator; they may recommend chest compressions
- Put warm bottles or warm packs in the armpits, in the groin area, and on the sides of the chest.
West Chester Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at the Law Offices of Deborah M. Truscello Assist Workers Suffering Cold Stress at Work
If you are injured as a result of cold stress on the job, the West Chester workers’ compensation lawyers at the Law Office of Deborah M. Truscello can help. We will fight to obtain the benefits you deserve for your injuries. Located in Media, Pennsylvania, we serve clients throughout Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Lancaster, Montgomery County, Norristown, Philadelphia, Reading, and West Chester. For a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 610-892-4940 today.