With the cold snap that hit Southern Ontario last week, we thought it would be fitting that this weeks #SafetyMemo cover the topic of Cold Stress.

Cold weather and environments pose many hazards to employees who work in these conditions. A cold environment forces the body to work harder to maintain its temperature.

Some Cold Stress health hazards include:
– FROST BITE: causes a loss of feeling & colour. It can lead to permanent damage or amputation of the affected area.

– TRENCH FOOT: an injury of the feet resulting from prolonged exposure to wet and cold conditions. Wet feet loose heat 25 times faster than dry feet. To prevent heat loss, the body constricts blood vessels to shut down circulation to the feet and skin tissue begins to die.

– HYPOTHERMIA: when exposed to cold temperature, your body begins to lose heat feast than it can be produced, this will eventually use up your body’s stored energy. A body temperature that is too low affects the brain, making the victim unable to think clearly or move well.

Remember these safe work practices when working in cold environments:
– Layer up clothing & keep clothes dry
– Drink warm beverages to help warm your core temperature
– Take breaks in warm areas/vehicles as needed
– Allow for acclimatization to cold environments/weather

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