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How to work safely in the cold

On Behalf of | Nov 12, 2023 | Workers' Compensation |

While some people wish they could get outdoors more at work, others are exposed to extreme weather and must protect themselves. Here are some tips to help outdoor workers combat the Minnesota cold.

Warning signs

Some of the main risks of being out in the cold on the job that may lead to workers’ compensation include frostbite, hypothermia and trench foot. It’s wise to learn the symptoms of these common dangers to watch out for yourself and others on the job.

It’s common for someone suffering from hypothermia to shiver, which is already such a common response to the cold that it may be hard to tell when you should worry. It’s a cause for concern if someone is shivering hard and uncontrollably, especially when combined with other key symptoms. They may appear confused, fatigued and uncoordinated. Watch out if they start to breathe slowly, slur their words or if their skin turns bright red.

With frostbite, the skin often turns red and numb with patches of blue, white or gray. The skin may also become hard and blistered after you’ve heated the area back up. Trench foot often involves a swollen, numb foot that might feel heavy and itchy. Blisters may also form.

The right clothes are essential

Dressing for the job in inclement weather is more important than ever. Attire makes all the difference. Look for waterproof clothing made of wool, silk or synthetics, and layer up. If you get too warm, you can always shed a layer later.

Before you expose yourself to the elements, take care of the parts of your body that need the most protection. The less unprotected skin, the better, and it’s always best to cover up before heading out.

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