Cold Weather Hazards

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The weather in Central NY has been unseasonably warm, but as we all know, that will change at some point and it will really hit us hard when it does. We recently got a bulletin from our friends at Gallagher -Bassett that addresses some issues related to cold weather exposure-- be ready and keep yourself and your employees safe!

Facts to Know:

Most cold weather injuries affect extremities such as hands, feet, fingers, or toes. Cold weather does not necessarily mean freezing temperatures only. Wind chill factor is the affect of moving air in cold weather. Moving air removes heat faster than still air. Water removes heat 240 times faster than air. Cold, wet, and damp conditions also increase the possibility injury.

 

Effects of Overexposure:

Trench Foot - Feet are exposed to cold water for an extended period of time and become cold and numb.

Hypothermia - General cooling of the entire body which can be fatal. The first symptoms of hypothermia is severe and, sometimes, uncontrollable, shivering, followed by numbness, drowsiness, and difficulty in doing even simple tasks.

Frost Bite - Occurs when temperatures are below freezing and portions of the body actually freeze.

 

Cold Weather Safety Precautions:

  • Regular work boots may not provide enough thermal protection. Wear several pairs of socks and insulated water proof boots when necessary.
  • Make sure socks and other items of clothing are not too tight. Tight clothing restricts blood flow which reduces the amount of body heat going to the affected area. 
  • Wear several layers of loose, bulky clothing to provide better insulation against cold weather.
  • Follow your work rules about length of exposure to cold weather and keep yourself as warm as possible. 
  • Periodically, move to a warm location and drink warm fluids only.

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