Working Through Winter: Educating Your Employees

Winter Construction Safety > Health Risks

In this series of blogs, we’ve gone into great detail regarding the safety requirements necessary for working outdoors through the winter. Start by limiting your employees’ exposure to the elements and preparing the worksite for optimal safety. Finally, educate your employees of the dangers they face on the job and how to identify key signs of hypothermia, exhaustion and frostbite. These practices can keep your employees safe and reduce your Santa Fe Workers’ Compensation insurance claims.

Frostbite.

Not only is this dangerous, it’s incredibly painful. Frostbite most often occurs in the extremities, such as fingers and toes, and on uncovered patches of skin such as your chin, cheeks and nose. According to the National Safety Council, superficial frostbite affects the skin surface, while the underlying tissue remains soft. The skin appears waxy, white or grayish-yellow, and is cold and numb.

If you suspect frostbite:

  • Get indoors immediately
  • Seek medical attention
  • Remove constrictive clothing and jewelry that could impair circulation
  • Place dry, sterile gauze between toes and fingers to absorb moisture and keep them from sticking together
  • Elevate the affected area to reduce pain and swelling
  • For superficial frostbite, you may also place the affected area in water that is 100 to 105 degrees until the tissue softens

Hypothermia.

This occurs when the internal body temperatures dips below 95 degrees. Severe shivering, one of the first signs of hypothermia, is beneficial in keeping the body warm. But as hypothermia progresses, shivering gives way to drowsiness or exhaustion, confusion, shallow breathing, irregular heartbeat, slurred speech, loss of coordination and, eventually, unconsciousness and even death.

If you suspect you or someone else on your team is suffering from hypothermia, take the following corrective actions immediately:

  • Get medical attention immediately
  • Go indoors and remove wet clothing
  • Keep person in horizontal position until medical help arrives
  • Cover them in blankets, towels, newspapers, or any other material you have on hand, especially their heads

Educating your employees on the signs of hypothermia and frostbite can save their lives on the job. As we mentioned previously, limiting exposure and building a tolerance to the cold is the most important factor of working outdoors in winter. Providing shelter and warmth to your employees is a great way to prevent these extreme cases of injury from occurring in the first place. So, before sending your team out to tackle a project, check the weather and determine if the productivity is worth the danger.

About Daniels Insurance, Inc.

At Daniels Insurance, Inc., we have a unique understanding of the risks that businesses like yours face on a regular basis. With the backing of our comprehensive coverages and our dedication to customer service and quick claims resolution, your business will be fully protected. For more information, contact us today at (855) 565-7616.

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