Working Safely in Cold Weather
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), there is no exact temperature at which the environment becomes hazardous. Instead, factors such as low temperatures, wind speed and wetness contribute to cold-induced injuries and illness.
- Exposed skin freezes within one minute at -20° F when the wind speed is five miles per hour (mph), and will freeze at 10° F if the wind speed is 20 mph.
- When skin or clothing is wet, injury or illness can occur in temperatures above 10° F, and even above freezing (32° F).
- When the body is unable to warm itself, hypothermia and frostbite can set in, resulting in permanent tissue damage and even death.
Signs of Injury and Illness
These are some of the very common symptoms that show that you are experiencing illness due to the cold. If you notice that these symptoms do not go away go inside, or call for medical attention.
- Uncontrollable shivering
- Slurred speech
- Clumsy movements
- Confused behavior
- White or grayish-yellow area(s) of the skin
- Skin that feels “waxy”
Make sure to look out for these symptoms for not just your self but your fellow co-workers.
These are some of the easy ways to reduce the risk of cold-induced injuries and illnesses:
- Layer clothing to keep warm enough to be safe, but cool enough to avoid perspiring excessively. It should also contain the following:
- Inner layer – a synthetic weave to keep perspiration away from the body
- Middle layer – wool or synthetic fabric to absorb sweat and retain body heat.
- Outer layer – material designed to break the wind and allow for ventilation.
- Wear a hat. Almost 40 percent of your body heat escapes from your head. If you wear a hard hat, add a winter liner that covers your neck.
- Place heat packets in gloves, vests, boots and hats to add heat to the body.
- Watch out for the effects of cold temperatures on common body functions, such as:
- Reduced dexterity and hand usage
- Cold tool handles reducing your grip force
- The skin’s reduced ability to feel pain in cold temperatures
- Reduced muscle power and time to exhaustion
(This information has been provided by: Mid-State Insurance)
For all your fire damage, water damage, mold mitigation, asbestos abatement, deodorization and other general cleaning services, call the professionals at SERVPRO of SW Waukesha County at (262) 542-0900
SERVPRO wishes all a safe and enjoyable winter season.