Cold temperatures and increased wind speed (wind chill) cause heat to leave the body more quickly, putting workers at risk of cold stress. Anyone working in the cold may be at risk, e.g., workers in freezers, outdoor agriculture and construction.
Common Types of Cold Stress
* Normal body temperature (98.6°F) drops to 95°F or less.
* Mild Symptoms: alert but shivering.
* Moderate to Severe Symptoms: shivering stops; confusion; slurred speech; heart rate/breathing slow; loss of consciousness; death.
* Body tissues freeze, e.g., hands and feet. Can occur at temperatures above freezing, due to wind chill. May result in amputation.
* Symptoms: numbness, reddened skin develops gray/white patches, feels firm/hard, and may blister.
Trench Foot (also known as Immersion Foot)
* Non-freezing injury to the foot, caused by lengthy exposure to wet and cold environment. Can occur at air temperature as high as 60°F, if feet are constantly wet.
* Symptoms: redness, swelling, numbness, and blisters.
* Dressing improperly, wet clothing/skin, and exhaustion
How to Protect Yourself and Others
* Know the symptoms; monitor yourself and co-workers.
* Drink warm, sweetened fluids (no alcohol).
* Dress properly:
– Layers of loose-fitting, insulating clothes
– Insulated jacket, gloves, and a hat (waterproof, if necessary)
– Insulated and waterproof boots
If you experience any of these symptoms you must report to your Supervisor and PLS immediately.
Thank you all for working SAFE!