Winter is right around the corner, and for those working in construction, that means increased awareness of winter safety. Employers must ensure that workers that work outside are safe and protected against cold stress which leads to cold-related illness and injuries. In Florida, we typically worry about heat-related hazards, but as OSHA defense lawyers, we know that winter can have destructive effects if not taken seriously.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) takes winter safety serious and so should you. Failing to protect and train workers can result in a knock on the door from OSHA. If you need an OSHA lawyer, don’t hesitate to contact our office.
Most Common Cold-Related Illnesses and Injuries
When it comes to determining the cause of illness and injuries, attention to factors such as low temperatures, wind speed, and wetness are the key to preventing common cold-related illnesses and injuries such as those below:
- Immersion foot
Keep in mind that suffering can range from minor to severe and will lead to a decrease in worker health and performance as well as a loss of productivity.
Who is at Risk?
Every construction worker is at risk for cold-related illnesses and injuries but those who are in poor physical condition, are older, or have health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease are at an increased risk.
How to Protect Yourself
Employers and workers alike can be proactive in protecting themselves by taking heed to the following tips:
- Know the signs and symptoms of cold-related illnesses and injuries.
- Wear the right clothing based on weather conditions (avoid wearing wet clothing too long).
- Take breaks in warm areas and consume and eat warm beverages and food.
- Get sufficient rest and find ways to increase energy levels.
- Plan work according to weather forecasts and complete the bulk of work during the warmest part of the day.
- When possible, work in pairs so someone is available to respond immediately to a worker in need.
These are just a few ways to protect everyone on the job-site. For more in-depth guidance, The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is an excellent resource for addressing the hazards that outside workers are faced with.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.