Taking Measures to Prevent Injuries from Working in the Cold
Prince George, B.C.- Another week of bone chilling temperatures lies ahead for the Prince George region, and that poses a major danger to those who must work outside.
Exposure to cold has been blamed for injuries to 72 workers and one death in B.C since 2011. “Construction labourers, trucking and transportation drivers, utility and maintenance workers and ski hill operators are just a few of the many different occupations that require workers to perform their duties outside and employers and workers need to ensure they are ready to work safely in these conditions” says Dan Strand, Director of Prevention Field Services at WorkSafe BC.
Frostbite, hypothermia and trench foot are some of the injuries that can be suffered when working outside during a cold snap. “In extreme temperatures, frostbite can occur in a matter of minutes without the proper clothing and equipment” adds Strand .
- Keep an eye on temperature and wind chill forecasts from Environment Canada and the Weather Channel
- Minimize exposed skin to cold temperatures and wind chill
- Layer clothing to allow perspiration to escape and trap heat
- Keep clothing dry
- Keep bare hands away from metal objects
- Stay hydrated but limit the amount of coffee and tea
- Work rested – fatigue is a risk factor in the cold
- Wear a hat – body heat escapes through the head
- Pace any vigorous work with scheduled breaks in warm and dry areas