Staying safe while working in cold environments

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Not all workers have the luxury of staying warm in their office cubicle this winter. Some workplaces call for prolonged exposure outside in dangerously cold conditions.

Ski instructors, construction workers, mail carriers, and television journalists are just some of the positions that are exposed to cold temps while on the clock.

Freezing temperatures may cause serious health problems such as frostbite, hypothermia, and even death.

Symptoms of temperature-related health issues can include uncontrolled shivering, slurred speech, clumsy movements, fatigue, and confusion.

Here are several tips from the U.S. Department of Labor to protect employees who work in cold environments:

  • Recognize the environmental and workplace conditions that may be dangerous.
  • Learn the signs and symptoms of cold-induced illnesses and injuries.
  • Train workers about cold-induced illnesses and injuries.
  • Encourage workers to wear proper clothing for cold, wet and windy conditions.
  • Be sure workers in extreme conditions take a frequent short break in warm dry shelters.
  • Try to schedule work for the warmest part of the day.
  • Avoid exhaustion or fatigue because energy is needed to keep muscles warm.
  • Work in pairs so that one worker can recognize danger signs.
  • Drink warm, sweet beverages and avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol.
  • Eat warm, high-calorie foods such as hot pasta dishes.

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