Workers who are exposed to extreme cold or work in cold environments—like outdoors during winter—could be at risk of cold stress. Extremely cold or wet weather is a dangerous situation that can cause occupational illness and injuries such as hypothermia or frostbite. Do the following to protect yourself from cold stress:
- Monitor your physical condition and that of your coworkers. Watch for signs of cold stress such as shivering, loss of coordination, fatigue and numbness in hands or feet. If you notice symptoms get into a warm environment immediately to warm up.
- Wear appropriate clothing.
- Wear several layers of loose clothing for insulation.
- Tight clothing reduces blood circulation to the extremities.
- Be aware that some clothing may restrict movement resulting in a hazardous situation.
- Protect your ears, face, hands and feet in extremely cold or wet weather.
- Wear waterproofed and insulated boots.
- Wear a hat to reduce the loss of body heat from your head.
- Move into warm locations during breaks. Limit the amount of time you spend outside.
- Keep an extra pair of socks, gloves, a hat, a jacket, blankets and maybe even a full change of clothes handy.
- Use chemical hot packs.
- Avoid touching cold metal surfaces with bare skin.
For more information contact EHS at 801-581-6590.