Safety Tips for Working in Frigid Temps
The recent cold weather blast in Northeast Ohio is a stark reminder that frigid temperatures can be just as dangerous as stifling heat. If you are employed in an industry that requires outdoor work, it is critical to take precautions and preparedness is a top priority.
OSHA does not have specific standards for cold weather safety, but it does outline the dangers of ‘cold stress’ and provides specific information for staying safe as temperatures plummet. The NOAA (The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) releases storm warnings, winter weather advisories, wind chill advisories and warnings. Weather reporting combined with individual experience are the best options for determining when cold weather precautions are necessary.
Cold Stress, as defined by OSHA, occurs when external skin temperature declines ultimately leading to a decline of internal body temperature. When your body is unable to effectively warm, dangerous health risks can occur. While OSHA may not have specific safety regulations regarding the cold, it is your employers’ responsibility to provide a safe working environment in any climate.
Cold Related Illness and Risks
Cold Stress and decreasing body temperatures open the door for a variety of cold related illnesses. Hypothermia, frost bite and trench foot are the most common. Failure to recognize dangerous temperatures and failure to prepare accordingly can lay the groundwork for disaster. Permanent nerve and tissue damage can mean lifelong ramifications.
Risk Factors When Working in Cold Temperatures
- Improper dress
- Exposed skin
- Wet or damp exposure
- Health conditions like diabetes, hypothyroidism, hypertension
- Prolonged exposure
Safety Tips for Working in the Cold
Having a safety plan for the cold is essential. OSHA standards make your employer responsible for your safe working conditions.
- Proper training
- Symptom recognition
- Proper monitoring
- Warming breaks
- Proper hydration
- Heat supplements
- Proper scheduling
- Relief teams and buddy system
- Proper attire
- Effective communication
It is important to not only recognize temperature but also wind chill to determine cold risks.
If you or a loved one suffered serious injury as a result of prolonged exposure to the cold, you must contact our offices immediately. The attorneys at Nager, Romaine and Schneiberg have extensive workers’ compensation law experience, and will do our utmost to ensure you obtain the compensation you deserve.
Contact us today by phone, or use our easy online form.