Sunday, February 04, 2007

Tips for Working Safely in Cold Weather

Working in the cold has its own hazards ...

"With much of the eastern half of the nation in the clutches of a deep freeze, the Maine Department of Labor is reminding workers and employers to take precautions to prevent cold weather-related health problems.
"Maine has many occupations that involve working in very cold conditions," Maine Labor Commissioner Laura Fortman said. "Men and women who work in construction, fishing, farming, and road clearing, as well as people who work in the woods, should take precautions to protect themselves from the elements."

According to OSHA, prolonged exposure to freezing or cold temperatures can cause serious health problems such as trench foot, frostbite, hypothermia and, in extreme cases, death. Workers face an increased risk of cold-related health problems when they take certain medications, are in poor physical condition or suffer from illnesses such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.

OSHA's Cold Stress card – in English and in Spanish – provides a reference guide and recommendations to combat and prevent many illnesses and injuries due to cold stress.

Tips include:

• Recognize conditions that can lead to prolonged exposure to cold.
• Learn the signs and symptoms of cold-induced illnesses and injuries and what to do if they occur.
• Danger signs include uncontrolled shivering, slurred speech, clumsy movements, fatigue and confused behavior. If these signs are observed, call for emergency help."    (Continued via Occupational Hazards)    [Ergonomics Resources]

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