Safety Tip of the Week – Cold Stress

cold stressCold stress or hypothermia can affect workers not protected against it. When the body cannot maintain its warmth, serious cold-related illnesses and injuries can occur. This may lead to permanent tissue damage or even death.

Cold Stress Controls:

Employees must recognize the early stages of cold stress in themselves and others. The first warning sign may be pain in the extremities. Workers in cold conditions should:

  • Be medically fit for the cold exposure;
  • Eat a balanced diet that includes increased carbohydrates to burn more fuel and increase your body heat. Carbohydrates burn faster than protein and give you quicker energy;
  • Understand the risk imposed by the chill factor and be prepared for the conditions;
  • Avoid caffeinated or alcoholic drinks that increase water loss and blood flow to the extremities;
  • Have a back-up plan when working in isolated areas or use a buddy system to keep an eye on each other and watch for signs of cold stress; and
  • Clothing should be suited for the cold and your level of physical activity. Here are tips to remember when working in the cold:
    • Wear several levels of clothing to capture insulating air between the layers;
    • To allow for ventilation, wear cotton or synthetic layers next to the skin;
    • Wear waterproof or water-repellant outer clothing when working in wet conditions;
    • Protect your head from heat loss. When you do not cover your head, you can lose 40 percent of your body heat. Use hats, hoods or hard-hat liners; and
    • In case your work clothes become wet, keep a change of clothing available.
Download flyer: STOTW_751_Cold Stress

Download Spanish flyer: STOTW_751_Cold Stress_esp

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