Protecting Worker’s in Extreme Cold

Every summer we hear a lot about heat stress and how to combat it and yet, equally important is cold weather protection for winter.

In order to function properly, your body strives to keep your core temperature at 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. In order to keep the core at that temperature in cold weather it constricts the blood vessels to the skin, the arms and the legs (the less cold blood that is brought back to the heart the easier it is to keep the core temperature elevated). The unfortunate results of prolonged exposure to cold is that the skin and extremities, not getting enough blood, can begin to die. That’s frostbite.

The stronger the wind, the harder it is for our bodies to keep the body warm and therefore the risks of frostbite and hypthermia increase. The National Weather Service provide us with this wind chill chart:

windchill

The Electronic Library of Construction Occupational Safety and Health has come up with the following threshold limit values work/warm-up schedule for a four-hour shift:

TLVchart

Learn how to recognize the onset of hypothermia and frostbite and what to do to protect yourself on the Electronic Library of Construction Occupational Safety and Health website.

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