Cold weather stress is a serious issue that needs to be addressed – especially with winter around the corner. And Minnesota gets COLD – we all know that! You and your workers need to be safe and take precautions in the event of cold weather. Freezing temperatures can affect the entire body and it can happen quickly.
Cold, water, snow, ice, and wind put workers at risk of cold weather stress. Let’s look at the ten things you should know about cold weather stress and how MC Tool & Safety, a safety distributor in Blaine, MN, can help.
• Cold stress is a broad turn that refers to cold-related illness. This happens when your body temperature is driven down by the weather, causing the internal temperature around vital organs to become colder, too.
• This is why when someone is in an extremely cold environment, it is vital for the trunk of the individual to be properly insulated – wearing appropriate coats, vests, sweatshirts, etc. on the worksite. Most of your vital organs are in the trunk of your body, so let’s protect them!
• Higher winds are a cause for colder temps – increasing the risk of cold weather stress.
• Wind chill occurs when temperatures drop as wind speed increases. How much can the wind affect the temperature? Click here to view the National Weather Service’s wind chill calculator.
• Take a look at the weather each day and factor in wind chill! Each day the weather conditions may change which will make an impact on the working environment.
• Wetness causes heat loss (that means sweat!).
• To combat this, it’s important to wear moisture-wicking clothing. When on the worksite, employees are working hard and will definitely be sweating! This can lead to heat loss. Plus, who loves sticky, sweaty clothing? Not us!
• This balaclava can help your team keep their domes dry.
• Provide the appropriate gear for working conditions.
• The right gear will save lives – it’s not to be taken lightly. Make sure you and your workers are safe by giving them the correct winter & cold-weather gear.
• Click here to check out our selection of jackets, featuring PIP, Ergodyne, and Radians.
• Frostbite is the freezing of human tissue (more common in the outer extremities).
• This can look like red/pink tissue with white/gray spots on the outer extremities with tingling sensations and numbness with blisters occasionally.
• It’s extremely serious and it’s important to protect the area by wrapping it with a dry cloth, don’t restrict it!
• Don’t rub or smack the area or break blisters.
• Wait until you seek medical attention before applying warm items to the area (like heating pads, hot water, etc.)
• Hypothermia is when the body temperature drops below 95 degrees Fahrenheit – the normal temperature is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit (OSHA).
• Signs of hypothermia may include the following: uncontrollable shivering, slow heart rate, confusion, loss of consciousness, loss of coordination, and even death.
• If you see someone with hypothermia (or possible hypothermia), here is what you should do, according to OSHA:
• Call 911.
• Move the individual to a warm, dry area.
• Remove any wet clothing and replace it with dry blankets by wrapping the entire body except for the face.
• Wrap again with a vapor barrier like a trash bag.
• Place warm items in the armpits, sides of the chest, and groin.
• Don’t forget to be safe when you drive in the winter!
• An emergency kit for the road is a great idea. Here are some items to include in it: blankets, ice scraper, jumper cables, first aid kit, shovel, and tow chains.
• Hypothermia can develop in less than 5 minutes in environments minus 50 degrees Fahrenheit if not properly equipped (LiveScience).
• It can happen fast in really cold environments. Fight this by wearing protective gear and taking breaks from extreme cold. Remember that prolonged exposure is dangerous.
• Train, remind, and encourage employees often!
• When employees have the knowledge, they can fight and be proactive against cold weather stress. Train your workers properly on how to identify, prevent, and address cold-weather stress.
• Encourage them to wear the appropriate clothing and gear.
• You should also encourage your employees to use the buddy system – that way others can recognize cold-weather stress in other team members.
• Based on death certificates from 2006-2010, a CDC report found that 63% of the studied deaths were accredited to exposure to natural cold, hypothermia, or both (Berko et al., 2014).
• Don’t include one of your workers in this statistic, take proactive action now.
In order to combat cold weather stress, it’s important for employees to be trained in situations and how to protect themselves and others. It is also extremely important to provide the correct cold weather gear – which we have!
A reminder to order now to get logoed apparel by winter! We do custom screen printing and embroidery. *No setup fee for orders over 25 pieces.