01/07/2004

Tips To Protect Workers In Cold Environments

In cold weather necessary precautions must be taken to prevent and treat
cold-related health problems. Workers in construction, commercial fishing,
maritime and agriculture are among those who need to take precautions.

Prolonged exposure to freezing or cold temperatures may cause serious health
problems such as trench foot, frostbite and hypothermia. In extreme cases,
including cold water immersion, exposure can lead to death. Danger signs
include uncontrolled shivering, slurred speech, clumsy movements, fatigue and
confused behavior. If these signs are observed, call for emergency help.

How to Protect Workers

- Recognize the environmental and workplace conditions that may be dangerous.

- Learn the signs and symptoms of cold-induced illnesses and injuries and what to
do to help workers.

- Train workers about cold-induced illnesses and injuries.

- Encourage workers to wear proper clothing for cold, wet and windy conditions,
including layers that can be adjusted to changing conditions.

- Be sure workers in extreme conditions take a frequent short break in warm dry
shelters to allow their bodies to warm up.

- Try to schedule work for the warmest part of the day.

- Avoid exhaustion or fatigue because energy is needed to keep muscles warm.

- Use the buddy system - work in pairs so that one worker can recognize danger
signs.

- Drink warm, sweet beverages (sugar water, sports-type drinks) and avoid drinks
with caffeine (coffee, tea, sodas or hot chocolate) or alcohol.

- Eat warm, high-calorie foods such as hot pasta dishes.

Further information


AplusA-online.de - Source: European Agency for Safety and Health at Work