There is no doubt that individuals who work in cold weather conditions are at a greater risk of injury. Although some of these injuries are unavoidable, workers can also take some precautions to protect themselves.
Most common injuries that workers sustain while working in cold weather
The most common is frostbite, which occurs when the skin and underlying tissues freeze. Its symptoms include a loss of feeling or numbness, white or bluish skin color, swelling and pain. Frostbite can lead to permanent tissue damage and even amputation in severe cases.
Another common cold-weather issue that leads to workers’ compensation claims is hypothermia, which occurs when the body’s temperature falls below 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Its symptoms include shivering, confusion, slurred speech, drowsiness and loss of consciousness. Hypothermia can lead to organ failure or even death.
In addition to these two cold-weather injuries that workers should be aware of, workers who perform tasks outside in the winter are also more likely to suffer from chronic conditions such as arthritis and back pain.
How can workers prevent these cold-weather injuries?
One of the most effective ways that workers can prevent injury is by wearing appropriate clothing to stay warm. In addition to gloves, workers should wear hats as well as protective eyewear when working outside in winter conditions. Workers should be sure that their jackets have enough insulation or are windproof so that they don’t become too cold.
Additionally, workers should make sure they are properly hydrated because dehydration can lead to heat stress, which is another common cold-weather injury. It’s important for workers to take regular breaks in a warm, sheltered area when necessary to avoid becoming too cold.
Lastly, avoiding fatigue is crucial because tired workers do not pay as much attention to their work, which can lead to injuries. Workers should try to get plenty of rest before they go outside in winter weather so that they aren’t too sleep-deprived.
As a worker, you may experience issues while working in cold weather. When that happens, seek medical attention immediately. By taking the necessary precautions, you can effectively reduce your risk of injury while working in cold weather conditions.