Cold Stress occurs by dropping skin temperatures which can eventually cause falling body temperatures if not addressed right away. When the body is unable to warm itself up, serious cold-related illnesses and injuries may occur, and permanent tissue damage and death may result.
Risk Factors for cold stress include:
- wetness/dampness, dressing improperly, and exhaustion
- predisposing health conditions such as hypertension, hypothyroidism, and diabetes
- poor physical condition
- enviromental cold can effect any worker exposed to cold air temperatures and put workers at rish of cold stress
- as wind speed increases, it causes the cold air temperatures to feen even colder
The most common type of cold stress is:
- caused by freezing of the skin and tissue
- can cause permanent damage
- symptoms include: reddened skin develops grey/white patchers, tingling, aching, loss of feeling, firm/hard tissue, and blisters
First Aid treatment to Frostbite:
- Protect the frost bitten area(s) by wrapping loosely in a dry cloth until you can seek medical attention
- DO NOT rub the affected area(s)
- DO NOT apply snow or water, do not break blisters
- DO NOT try to rewarm frost bitten area(s) before seeking medical attention. If the frost bitten area is re-warmed then freezes again more tissue damage will occur.
- Monitor your phycial condition as well as the physical condition of those around you
- Schedule frequent short breaks in a warm, dry area
- Select proper clothing for cold, wet and windy conditions
- Consume warm, sweet beverages
- Avoid alcohol as it lowers body temperature
- Keep moving to get the blood flowing in your body
Winter HazardsIn addition to cold stress, there are other winter weather related hazards such as driving in the snow, being stranded in a vehicle, shovelling snow, using snow blowers, and slips.
- Maintain your vehicle: check battery, tire tread, windshield wipers, and antifreeze
- Clear vehicle of all snow and ice before departing
- Have on hand emergency kit which includes a flashlight, jumper cables, shovel, snow brush, warning devices (flares) and blankets.
- the Three P's of Winter Driving
Plan your route: allow plenty of time, let others know your route and arrival time
Stopped or stalled: stay in your car, call for emergency assistance, don't over exert, put bright markers on antenna or windows, run your car just enought to stay warm.
Protect yourself - buckle up and use child safety seats properly.
Prevent crashses: slow down and increase distance between cars, keep your eyes open for pedestrians, avoid fatigue, never consume drugs or alcohol prior/during operating a vehicle.
- This can be a strenuous activity, particularily because cold weather can be tasking on the body
- There is potential for exhaustion, dehydration, back injuries or heart attacks
- To prevent injuries you should warm up before the activity, scoop small amounts of snow, push snow instead of lifting, and use proper lifting techniques when it's unavoidable.
Using Snow Blowers:
- Commonly cause lacerations or amputations when operators attempt to clear jams while the equipement is turned on
- Turn snow blower off and wait for all parts to stop moving before servicing
- Use a stick to clear wet snow or debris from the machine
- Refuel snow blower prior to starting the machine
- To walk on ice keep your center of gravity over your front leg
- Walk flat footed and take short steps
- Wear footwear that provides traction
- Step down - not out from curbs
- Use your arms for balance
- Carry only what you can