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A Source for Workplace Safety News and Notes - from ComplianceSigns.com

November 17, 2014

Protect Workers from Frostbite

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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.
Resources:

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