How should I prepare for working in cold weather?

Cold weather safety is important for radio frequency workers, construction workers, telecommunication experts, delivery drivers, and law enforcement officials who are all professionals that may find themselves working in cold weather during the winter.

Cold Weather Precautions

Even cold temperatures cannot stop you from getting a job done right. Follow these cold-weather precautions to stay safe:

  • Dress warmly with layers of loose-fitting clothing. Wear gloves and socks as well as a head covering such as a hat or hood.
  • Make sure your boots can grip ice and snow, so you don’t slip around on the surface of the concrete.
  • Check your vehicle’s battery and other essentials before setting off into unknown cold conditions, especially if it has been some time since you last drove it.
  • If you get stuck, stay in the car, and run the engine for about ten minutes an hour to keep warm.

How cold weather affects your body

Your body works harder to keep itself warm in cold temperatures and this causes changes inside that can affect your health. These cold weather symptoms may include:

  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Fever or Chills

Cold Weather Injuries on the job

Out of all cold injuries, cold exposure is one of the most common. This happens when a worker’s skin meets cold metal or water while working outside. Symptoms of cold exposure include:

  • Frost nip” – a mild form of cold exposure where frozen skin turns red and starts to hurt
  • Frostbite” – a more severe cold exposure where the skin first turns cold, pale, and numb then stiff and hard with possible blistering. If not treated, may result in permanent tissue damage
  • Trench foot” – cold injuries from being exposed to cold water too long without proper insulation against cold temperatures. Also known as immersion foot or caisson disease

If you experience cold injury symptoms while at work:

  • Call for medical help right away
  • Dry off all wet clothing and remove shoes immediately before getting into warm conditions. Get your body temperature up slowly by removing layers of cold clothing and putting on several dry blankets until the shivering stops (a sign that your body is no longer cold).
  • Drink warm drinks or eat something high in sugar to boost your blood circulation quickly.

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