It’s that time of year again and winter is knocking at our door. It is important to remember to bundle up if you plan on working out in the cold this winter. As an employer it is also a good idea on very cold days to schedule periodic times to come inside and warm up if possible. Cold weather is no joke and should not be taken lightly. People have lost toes and fingers due to working in in the cold for long.
Hypothermia occurs when the core temperature of your body falls below the normal level. If your body becomes too cold, your organs stop functioning properly. If left unrecognized in the early stages, hypothermia can eventually result in death. Symptoms of hypothermia include shivering, chattering teeth, confusion, slurred speech, lack of coordination and eventually unconsciousness. Frostbite is when your flesh actually freezes. It can occur even without the symptoms of hypothermia. Your extremities, such as your ears, feet, fingers and cheeks, are prone to frostbite in extremely cold weather. Symptoms of frostbite are quite different from hypothermia. The exposed skin will first appear reddish, and then a greyish-white color. You’ve probably seen on movies where mountain climbers have been rescued and their noses or fingers are jet black. It is because the skin has died.
So it is very important to remember to remember to plan the day before and find all of your winter weather gear such as hats, gloves, insulated boots, coveralls etc. It’s also important to keep in mind, 0 degrees Fahrenheit and a wind speed of 15 mph creates a wind chill temperature of -19 degrees Fahrenheit. Under these conditions frost bite can occur in just 30 minutes. If you have become too cold here is what you are to do
-Get into a warm room as soon as possible.
-Unless absolutely necessary, do not walk on frostbitten feet or toes—this increases the damage.
-Immerse the affected area in warm—not hot—water (the temperature should be comfortable to the touch for unaffected parts of the body).
-Or, warm the affected area using body heat. For example, the heat of an armpit can be used to warm frostbitten fingers.
-Do not rub the frostbitten area with snow or massage it at all. This can cause more damage.
-Don’t use a heating pad, heat lamp, or the heat of a stove, fireplace, or radiator for warming. Affected areas are numb and can be easily burned.
All in All, cold weather is nothing to be taking soft, many people have died and also lost feeling in their extremities from working in cold weather. Remember to pack as many winter clothes the night before, you can always take layers off, but you can put layers on. As an employer as remember to schedule breaks to warm up on extremely cold days. Stay Safe, Stay Warm!