You may consider yourself a thick blooded northerner, but the reality is that the cold affects everyone, regardless of where they’re from. Whether you’re on a jobsite for 8 hours or making the trek across the parking lot to your office, remember that frostbite is a real danger anytime you find yourself in extreme cold.
Fortunately for employees in Minnesota, if you suffer frostbite as a result of your job, you most likely will be able to recover workers’ compensation to help with your medical bills and other expenses.
Windchill is a greater danger than temperature
Windchill, otherwise known as the “feels like” temperature, is determined by the standing temperature and the speed with which the wind is blowing. The windchill can easily dip well below -20 degrees during a Minnesota winter, a temperature so cold that frostbite can occur in just a half hour.
The Old Farmer’s Almanac gives perspective on how quickly frostbite can occur in extreme temperatures. Say the temperature is -15 degrees; a completely reasonable temp for a Minnesota winter. If it is a windy day with gusts of 20 miles per hour, the windchill is -42 degrees. In that kind of weather frostbite can occur in just 10 minutes.
Never take the cold lightly
Your body tissue will begin to literally freeze after just 10 minutes of exposure to those temperatures. This typically begins with earlobes, the tips of the nose, fingers and toes. If left unchecked frostbite can lead to:
- Long-term or permanent numbness
- Increased sensitivity to cold
- Loss of nails
- Frostbite induced arthritis
- Loss of body part
The State of Minnesota takes frostbite, and all injuries suffered as a result of working, seriously. Nobody should be forced to work in an unsafe environment – if you suffered an injury in the line of duty, be sure to speak with a professional attorney as soon as possible.
They will do their best to help you recover the resources you need to make a full recovery as soon as possible. This means money to cover medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, rehab costs and even live-in healthcare in some situations.
It is still a long road before spring breaks through the snow and there are sure to be several work-related injuries before then. If you find yourself in that situation, be smart and make use of your rights as a worker.