When it comes to working outdoors in cold weather conditions it can become uncomfortable and dangerous. These conditions pose a great risk to construction workers but there are precautions that can be taken.
There are three cold-related illnesses and injuries that construction workers should be aware of: hypothermia, frostbite, and trench foot. Hypothermia occurs when your body loses heat faster than it can produce heat. Common symptoms of hypothermia are shivering, confusion, exhaustion, slow breathing, and bright red skin. Frostbite happens when the skin and tissue just below the skin freeze because the skin has been exposed to cold conditions. Common signs of frostbite are stinging sensation, blue skin, numbness, and blistering. Trench foot is a serious condition that happens when the feet are wet for too long. Trench foot symptoms include tingling, pain, itching, swelling, blotchy skin, and numbness.
To ensure you are prepared for working in cold weather, we have some safety tips for you. Dressing appropriately for cold weather is extremely important. Wear at least 3 layers of warm, loose clothing that keeps you insulated even when wet. Bring an extra change of clothes to work in case your clothes become wet. Make sure exposed skin is covered with gloves, hats, and scarves before going outside. Stay hydrated with warm beverages. Take breaks away from the cold every two hours to warm your body temperature. Know the signs and symptoms so you can keep yourself and your coworkers safe. For more information on cold weather safety guidelines go to https://www.osha.gov/emergency-preparedness/guides/cold-stress.