What's New at Park Derochie | Working In The Cold
Thursday, April 15, 2021
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Working In The Cold Daniela Soto
Working In The Cold

When you work in extreme cold, most of the body’s energy is expended to maintain a consistent inner temperature. However, there are limits to what your body can adapt to. Cold stress occurs when your internal body temperature is lowered. Cold stress can be dangerous to yourself and your co-workers.

Early Warning Signs:
■ Unusual “–umbles”:
■ Stumbles
■ Mumbles
■ Fumbles
■ Grumbles
■ Feeling cold and shivering
■ Trouble moving your fingers, hands and toes
■ Trouble doing tasks
■ Loss of feeling or tingling in fingers and toes
■ Frost nip, when the top layer of exposed skin freezes

Severe Cold Stress Signs:
■ Violent shivering
■ Loss of muscle coordination, slow movements and laboured breathing
■ Amnesia or confusion
■ Chilblains: when exposed skin is blue or red, swollen and tingling
■ Frost Bite: when the skin freezes deeply
■ Trenchfoot or Trenchhand: caused by prolonged exposure to damp, cold environments
■ Loss of consciousness

How to Stay Warm:
■ Cover exposed skin
■ Work in sunny areas when possible
■ Take breaks inside
■ Wear good quality, insulated clothing
■ Keep footwear dry
■ Keep moving to generate body heat but stop before you sweat; if your inner clothing layer gets wet, you will lose heat. 

What Employers Can Do:
Cold weather is a workplace hazard. Like all hazards, employers must have a plan to control or eliminate dangers associated with working in the cold. Some things employers can do include:

■ Providing an on-site heater or heated shelter
■ Using a work/warm-up schedule
■ Using a buddy system so workers don’t work alone in the cold
■ Scheduling work during daylight hours
■ Allowing workers to work at their own pace and take extra breaks if needed
■ Educating workers on cold weather hazards, and plans in place to protect them
■ Giving workers time to adjust before assigning a full work schedule in the cold
■ Providing insulated clothing

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