Deadly Cold Exposure – Cold Weather Safety Tips – Safety Training Video

Deadly Cold Exposure - Cold Weather Safety Tips - Safety Training Video



preventing cold weather injuries is both a leadership as well as a personal responsibility cold exposure can cause multiple injuries the key to working safely starts with an understanding of cold-weather injuries and the ways to prevent them here are some of the most common cold-weather injuries with tips on how to prevent them chillblains is a cold injury resulting from repeated prolonged skin exposure to cold and wet temperatures above freezing exposed skin becomes red tender hot to the touch and usually accompanied with itching this can worsen to an aching pins and needles sensation followed by numbness chilblains can develop an exposed skin and only a few hours the most commonly affected areas are the ears nose fingers and toes immersion foot also called trench foot is an injury caused by prolonged exposure to wet conditions between 32 and 60 degrees with damp socks and boots immersing feet in cold water not changing socks frequently poor hygiene and allowing sweat to accumulate in boots or gloves will soften the skin caused tissue loss and can lead to infection blood vessels constrict and the affected areas become cold swollen and discolored there can be sensations of pins and needles numbness and pain in extreme cases flesh dyes and amputation may be necessary frostnip is one the top layers of skin tissue freeze it is the first degree of frostbite frostnip usually results from short duration exposure to cold air or contact with cold objects like metal expose the skin like cheeks ears fingers and wrists are more likely to develop frostnip the top layer of frozen skin becomes white and feels hard and rubbery but the deeper tissue is still soft the affected area feels numb and may become swollen frozen skin thaws quickly becoming red and painful with eventual peeling of the skin complete healing can take ten days but the injury is usually reversible frostbite occurs when skin tissue freezes through all skin layers it can freeze the muscle and bone frozen skin turns red then gray blue with blisters and in worst cases the skin dies and turns blue-black at this stage amputation is often required instantaneous frostbite can occur when the skin comes in contact with supercooled liquids like lubricants fuels antifreeze and alcohol all of which remain liquid to temperatures as low as minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit hypothermia is a potentially life-threatening condition that is defined as the general cooling of the body core temperature below 95 degrees normal body temperature is 98.6 hypothermia sets in when the body heat lost exceeds the body's heat production due to prolonged cold exposure although hypothermia is usually associated with cold climates it can occur at temperatures well above freezing especially when a person has exposed to extended wet conditions signs and symptoms of hypothermia change as the body temperature falls mental functions typically decline first including an inability to make decisions slurred speech disorientation incoherence irrationality and unconsciousness muscle functions deteriorate with shivering loss of fine motor ability such as being unable to control your hands followed by stumbling clumsiness and falling in severe cases shivering ceases and the victim becomes stiff and unable to move pulse and respiration rates decrease causing unconsciousness irregular heartbeat and death unfortunately early signs and symptoms of hypothermia can be difficult to recognize and may easily go undetected dehydration is a lack of water in the body and most people associate dehydration with hot weather conditions however it is very easy to become dehydrated in cold weather and many individuals fail to drink enough liquid and underestimate fluid loss from sweating for more see our video on winters hidden hazard what risk factors contribute to cold injuries these include temperature wind rain immersion and altitude workload duration of cold and or wet exposure individual risk factors include physical fitness fatigue general health prior history of cold injury medications alcohol nicotine and poor nutrition anyone working in a cold environment must be properly prepared and should understand basic control measures to prevent cold weather injuries keep your body warm keep moving by exercising the big muscles of your arms and legs to keep warm avoid alcohol because it impairs your body's ability to shiver and it gives a false sense of warmth avoid tobacco products because they decrease blood circulation to the skin eat properly to maintain energy drink water or other fluids to prevent dehydration drinking warm liquids like tea and hot chocolate that contains sugar provides energy to help the body generate additional heat limit the amount of time outside on extremely cold days periodically move into a warm area where proper clothing several layers of loose clothing rather than one or two bulky layers air is trapped between these layers and acts as insulation against the cold the layers can be removed if you become too hot to prevent sweating loose clothing allows the blood to circulate to the extremities ensure all clothing is in good condition clean and dry and change wet damp clothes immediately protect your feet carry an extra pair of socks and change damp socks right away use foot powder to help absorb moisture wear water-resistant boots or over shoes to keep shoes and socks clean and dry protect your hands wear insulated gloves keep gloves clean and dry change damp gloves immediately avoid skin contact with snow ice or any liquids or bare metals that have been exposed to the cold protect your head face and ears wear a hat as much as 70% or more of the body's heat is lost through an uncovered head exercise facial muscles offer to help maintain circulation above all protect each other watch for signs of frostbite and other cold-weather injuries in your coworkers and immediately get help for anyone showing any sign or symptom of cold injury

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