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November 17, 2014

Protect Workers from Frostbite

first aid kit inside
Snow and frigid temperatures have spread across the U.S., and many outdoor workers are not yet accustomed to the cold. Now is a good time to remind employees of the risk, symptoms and appropriate first aid response for cold stress. 

Extremely cold or wet weather is a dangerous situation that can cause occupational illness and injuries such as hypothermia, frostbite, trench foot, and chilblains. Here are some frostbite tips from NIOSH:

What is Frostbite?
  • An injury to the body that is caused by freezing, which most often affects the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers, or toes.
  • Symptoms
  • Reduced blood flow to hands and feet
  • Numbness
  • Aching
  • Tingling or stinging
  • Bluish or pale, waxy skin
Appropriate First Aid:
  • Get into a warm room as soon as possible.  
  • Unless necessary, do not walk on frostbitten feet or toes.  
  • Immerse the affected area in warm (not hot) water, or warm the affected area using body heat. 
  • Do not use a heating pad, fireplace, or radiator for warming. 
  • Do not massage the frostbitten area; doing so may cause more damage.

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