How to Prevent Injuries Common in Wintery Conditions
As the weather starts to cool down, workers must anticipate colder outdoor temperatures, hazardous icy conditions, and other unsafe winter-related dangers for both their safety and the safety of those around them. Below are some common winter weather injuries as well as tips to keep yourself and others safe during cold winter conditions.
Were you injured while working in cold weather? If so, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. Contact Freeburn Law to learn more about your rights as an injured worker by calling (717) 777-7777 today. Speak to a Harrisburg workers’ compensation lawyer for FREE.
Types of Cold Weather Injuries
Knowing the risks you face while working in freezing temperatures is vital in helping you avoid illness or injury throughout the winter months. Some workers are at high risk of injury, which include the following:
Hypothermia – While our bodies are good at maintaining a constant temperature, exposure to cold for an extended period of time can result in a low body temperature. A body temperature under 95°F can result in shivering, confusion, increased breathing rate, high pulse rate, and even death.
Frostbite – Prolonged exposure to the cold can damage the skin, nerves, and tissue. The hands, feet, ears, and nose are especially prone to frostbite due to their lower blood circulation.
Trench Foot – When a worker is exposed to a cold and wet environment for a prolonged period of time, they can develop “trench foot.” Symptoms of trench foot include itching, numbness, a sensation of heaviness in your feet, and difficulty walking.
Brain, Neck, or Back Injuries – TBIs can be caused by a wide range of cold weather accidents, including slips and falls and weather-related car accidents.
Broken Bones – Similar to the above, broken or fractured bones are commonly sustained in falls or motor vehicle accidents.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning – Often referred to as the “silent killer,” carbon monoxide poisoning can lead to symptoms ranging from headache, nausea, and dizziness to heart problems, cognitive impairment, and even death.
Workers Most at Risk for Winter Weather Injuries
Most workers who spend their days outdoors don’t have the luxury of stopping during the winter months. Workers in many sectors must continue working outside, even in freezing temperatures. These professions include:
- Construction workers
- Police, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians (EMTs)
- Truck drivers
- Public transit workers
- Mail carriers
- Delivery drivers
- Utility workers
- Airport ground crews
- Agricultural workers
- Oil and gas workers
Tips on How to Stay Safe While Working in Cold Conditions
Winter may be the season of holiday festivities, but it is also the season for dangerous slip-and-falls and cold-related injuries and illnesses. Awareness is critical for preventing tragedy, but practicing safety precautions could save you from the burden of lost work, wages, and even lives due to workplace injuries. Here are some tips to keep in mind when working in cold weather conditions:
- Know the symptoms of cold stress. Reddening skin, tingling, pain, swelling, leg cramps, numbness, and blisters are all signs of cold-related distress that, if left unmonitored and unattended to, could result in severe injury and even death.
- Dress appropriately for the cold. If working outside in cold weather, you should wear at least three layers of loose-fitting clothing, insulated gloves and boots, and a warm head covering.
- Be mindful of your physical condition and that of your coworkers. Be on the lookout for conditions like chilblains, which are the painful and potentially life-threatening inflammation of blood vessels in the skin that could result in trench foot, frostbite, and hypothermia. Symptoms include rash, itching, burning, ulcers, and red patches on the skin.
- Avoid damp environments. Damp, cold conditions are especially hazardous, as moisture can increase heat loss from the body.
- Take frequent breaks in warm and dry areas. You should limit your exposure to the extreme cold and take breaks in a safe, warm place.
- Drink warm beverages. A quick and simple way to warm up in the bitter cold outside conditions is to drink tea, coffee, hot chocolate, or any other warm drink.
What to Do If You Were Injured While Working in Cold or Freezing Conditions
If you have been hurt or harmed at work while working in cold conditions, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney in Central Pennsylvania can help you recover compensation for lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering.
At Freeburn Law, our team of experienced attorneys will work tirelessly to recover the best possible compensation for your workplace injury. Contact us today by submitting an inquiry form online or calling our office at (717) 777-7777. At Freeburn Law, we will fight for you.