Working in extreme temperatures, like working outside during an extreme winter season, is not an easy job. The freezing temperatures expose you to different injuries, so you should take care to prevent them. Here are some tips for preventing cold-related injuries:
Keep Your Clothing Layered
If you want to stay warm, you need to put on multiple layers of clothing; that will help you better than wearing a single piece of thick clothing. This means you should dress appropriately while leaving home for work or carry extra clothing if you will be working partly in the office and partly out in the cold.
Ensure You Are Always Dry
In addition to preventing cold exposure, you also need to stay dry. Getting your body wet when the temperature is low is dangerous because the moisture will not dry off easily; it may even freeze on your skin and cause an ice ban. This is why your first layer of clothing, the one that actually comes into contact with your body, should be made from a material that wicks away moisture from your body and helps you keep dry (polyester is a good choice).
Protect Your Extremities
The extremities of the body (think fingers and toes) are particularly susceptible to cold weather, so you need to give them special protection. Here are a few tips to protect your extremities:
· Wear gloves or mittens; choose the type that allows you to work with ease
· Wear shoes with thick soles
· Put insulating liners under your socks
Take Regular Breaks
Working in the cold is exhausting because the body has to work extra hard to keep warm and maintain the organs at safe temperatures. Do your part by taking regular breaks to allow your body to heat up and rejuvenate if the temperatures are particularly low. In fact, your employer or supervisor should have a policy that allows employees to take regular breaks (perhaps a rotational policy) to prevent workplace injuries.
Take Hot Drinks and Food
The main danger of working in the cold is that you can get frostbite and hypothermia. Both of these can be prevented by keeping your body warm, and one of the best ways to do this is to take regular hot drinks and food. You can combine this with your regular breaks if you don't want to take time away from work.
If you do get injured on the job, know that you are entitled to workers compensation benefits. The good thing is that with workers compensation claim you don't have to prove that someone's negligence caused your injury; you just need to prove that you were working at the time of your injury and possibly work with a worker's compensation attorney.