It’s cold outside: Avoid frostbite and cold-weather hazards

On Behalf of | Nov 12, 2021 | Workers' Compensation

Working in Philadelphia or the surrounding areas, you know how cold the days and nights can get in the fall, winter and early spring. As a worker who is employed to be outside most of the time, it is essential that you take steps to stay warm and comfortable when the temperatures begin to drop.

There are many cold weather hazards that you need to watch out for. For example, you could get frostbite from having your hands exposed or might experience trench foot if your feet get wet in chilly temperatures. How can you avoid these injuries? By knowing the risks and taking steps to mitigate them.

Working safely in cold weather

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recognizes that outdoor workers are at risk of serious cold weather-related injuries related to:

  • Cold stress
  • Frostbite
  • Hypothermia

That’s why it’s important for you to dress appropriately for the weather, to be trained on recognizing the symptoms of cold stress and to focus on staying dry and warm. Teams working together should monitor and check in with each other throughout the day to make sure that all workers are safe and accounted for in cold temperatures. The cold is dangerous, so tell someone if you are feeling unwell or have symptoms of cold stress, so you can get help right away.

To keep you safe in the cold, it may be necessary to take more frequent breaks in warmer areas, like inside a heated vehicle or office. Your employer should allow you to have access to warm beverages or provide them to you on site. This helps keep your core warmer and reduces the likelihood of cold stress.

Of course, you should also keep an eye on the weather and wind chill. A high wind-chill factor could make it dangerous to work outside, and that’s something that your employer should have strategies to mitigate.

If you suffer an injury due to the cold, remember that you may be able to seek workers’ compensation. This could help cover lost wages and other financial losses that are a result of suffering an injury on the job.