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This month’s featured article comes straight from the desk of the Director of Health, Safety and Environment, Dr. Tray Hood and addresses the importance of awareness of Cold Stress in the work place.
Released: November 8, 2019
Author: Dr. Tray Hood, Director of Health, Safety and Training, Atlas Industrial Outsourcing, LLC
Featured: November 2019 Monthly Article (view here)
Hell Team Atlas, Doc here, I want to start off by thanking you for taking the time to read this article. As we get into the slow season which normally occurs around November to December time frame, we also become exposed to the changing elements of mother nature. In comes a cold front, season begins to change and those who have allergies can relate, our bodies can react negatively to these changes! In our industry, we are exposed to drastic changes in working conditions from extreme hot, to extreme cold and everywhere in between. Throughout this transition, we have to be mindful of our exposure to these elements and with the addition of water to this equation can make matters more hazardous. It could make it a messy situation for everyone if you do not know the signs and symptoms of certain cold-related injuries or illnesses. The best way for us to combat exposure is to limit it and monitor it. Like we always say in the safety world, if we cannot fully eliminate a hazard, we must mitigate it (control and lessen it). I want to start off by thanking you for taking the time to read the below article and I also advise all readers to take this information and apply it to your daily JSA meetings and ensure that all employees are adequately engaged in discussion. You never know when this information might save your life!
Topics covered in this article will revolve around the following:
When working outdoors in the winter, you need to be especially mindful of the weather, its effects on the body, proper prevention techniques, and treatment of cold related disorders.
When the body is unable to warm itself, serious cold related illnesses and injuries may occur, and permanent tissue damage and death may result.
Cold related illnesses can slowly overcome a person who has been chilled by low temperature, brisk winds or wet clothing.
What is Frost Bite? Frost bite is an injury that occurs when the area of the skin and underlying tissues freeze. Your skin becomes very cold and red, later your skin may reflect a pale, waxy-white skin color; skin becomes hard and numb; usually affects fingers, hands, toes, feet, ears and nose. Even while wearing gloves and other clothing, you can still be a victim of Frost Bite.
Treating Frost Bite: If you or a fellow worker start to show signs of Frost Bite, see below on how to treat:
Hypothermia can set in when a person’s normal body temperature drops to or below 95° degrees F (35° C). Symptoms of Hypothermia include a feeling of fatigue or drowsiness, uncontrolled shivering, cool bluish skin, slurred speech, clumsy movements, irritable, irrational or confused behavior. Hypothermia is a medical emergency. Hypothermia occurs at very cold temperatures, but it can occur even at cool temperatures (above 40 degrees F), if a person becomes chilled from rain, sweat or submersion in cold water.
Treating Hypothermia: If you or a fellow worker start to show signs of Hypothermia, see below on how to treat:
Further resources available are located on OSHA’s website below: https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/emergencypreparedness/guides/cold.html
As always, if you have any questions regarding cold stress illnesses/injuries, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I wish all of you a safe and prosperous holiday season and looking forward to providing further safety tips in the very near future!