Cold stress isn't just a hazard for outdoor workers. What are the best ways to prevent cold stress injuries and illnesses and what is the best clothing to wear in cold environments?
Anyone working in a cold environment may be at risk for cold stress. This could include an indoor workplace like cold storage or an outdoor job in construction or agriculture. Prolonged exposure to cold and/or freezing temperatures while on the job may cause serious health problems such as trench foot, frostbite and hypothermia. In extreme cases, exposure to cold temperatures can lead to death.
Although OSHA does not have a specific standard that covers working in cold environments, under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) of 1970, employers have a duty to protect workers from recognized hazards, including cold stress hazards, that are causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm in the workplace.
Risk factors for cold stress include:
IMPORTANT TIPS TO PREVENT COLD STRESS
Dressing properly is extremely important to preventing cold stress. Wear at least three layers of loose fitting clothing. Layers provides better insulation.
Tight clothing reduces blood circulation and warm blood needs to be circulated to the extremities.
Other important clothing that can help prevent cold stress:
Workers who are exposed to cold weather conditions are at greater risk of injuries brought on by cold stress. Keep yourself protected with these cold weather safety tips and download an awesome infographic to share with your teams.
If employees are working in cold environments, indoors or outdoors, then they should have access to cold stress prevention safety training and it's also a great topic for a safety meeting.
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