Today’s post was shared by the U.S. Labor Department and comes from blog.dol.gov
The weather is unpredictable, to say the least, this winter. I would add the following professions to the list of workers who have potential for problems with the cold but are out in the cold on a regular basis: truck drivers, agricultural workers, and as the picture implies, utilities workers, though the list is not exhaustive. It is a certainty that there are workers who are risking themselves in the cold because they aren’t ready for the “polar vortex” mentioned in the post because the weather has been so up and down this winter.
The NWS Windchill Chart is especially helpful, since it shows the amount of time it takes for frostbite to set in under a variety of temperatures and wind speeds.
Even though this corner of the Great Plains appears to be warming up a bit in the next couple of days, a fairly impressive snowstorm – there’s an 80 percent chance of snow on Tuesday with estimated accumulations of 5 to 8 inches – may be coming. So keep this information handy, and be certain to take care when working outside or sending employees to work outside.
Please be sure your loved ones are protected from the elements, whether they are outside by choice or necessity, during the winter.
Remember that work injuries associated with the elements are also covered under most states workers’ compensation laws, so speak with an experienced lawyer about questions regarding a specific situation.
The National Weather Service is warning much of the country about the polar vortex, an arctic air mass that is pushing much of the eastern and central U.S. down to record cold temperatures.
During this wave, workers are at increased risk of cold stress. Increased wind speeds can cause the air temperature to feel even colder, further increasing the risk of cold stress of those working outdoors, such as:
- Snow cleanup crews
- Construction workers
- Recreational workers
- Postal workers
- Police officers
- Baggage handlers
- Support workers for oil and gas operations
When the body is unable to warm itself, cold-related stress may result in tissue damage and possibly death. Four factors contribute to cold stress: cold air temperatures, high velocity air movement, dampness of the air, and contact with cold water or surfaces.
How cold is too cold?
A cold environment forces the body to work harder to maintain its temperature. Cold air, water and snow all draw heat from the body. The most common problems faced in the cold are hypothermia, frostbite, and trench foot.
What preventive measures should I take?
Plan for work in cold weather. Wearing appropriate clothing and being aware of how your body is reacting to the cold are important to preventing cold stress. Avoiding alcohol, certain medications and smoking can also help minimize the risk.
Protective Clothing is the most important way to avoid cold stress. The type of fabric even makes a difference. Cotton loses its…