Tips to stay safe while working outside in extremely cold conditions

Frigid temperatures close to -40 C in the Stuart Nechako region today: Environment Canada

It is definitely cold out there, and such extreme cold warrants a precaution for people to stay safe while working outdoors.

In a Jan. 10 media release, WorkSafeBC is reminding employers and workers to take precautions working in such cold weather conditions.

The most common cold-weather injury is frostbite, which can occur in extreme temperatures, especially when wind or wet clothing are factors, the agency states.

Cold stress can lead to hypothermia, where a worker becomes so cold they lose more heat, than their body produces.

Hypothermia can be fatal.

READ MORE: Extreme cold warning in effect for Stuart-Nechako region

“Working in cold conditions can lead to serious injuries if you’re unprepared — frostbite can occur in a matter of minutes without proper clothing and equipment,” says Barry Nakahara, senior manager, prevention field services for WorkSafeBC.

Transport truck drivers, recreational instructors, operators and attendants, construction workers, and utility and maintenance workers usually are the most at-risk as their occupations can involve substantial outdoor cold-weather exposure.

According to WorkSafeBC, employers need to do a cold-stress assessment and implement a plan to protect workers from cold exposure.

The agency has stated the following safety tips for working in cold weather:

· Wear warm head covering. Most body heat is lost through the head.

· Layer clothing to allow sweat to escape and trap heat.

· Protect hands and feet. Wear waterproof boots and always wear gloves or mittens.

· Pace any vigorous work with scheduled breaks away from the cold. Fatigue is a risk factor in the cold.

· Stay hydrated. Limit the amount of coffee or tea and avoid alcohol.

· When possible, heat the working environment. For example, heated shelters help protect construction workers from cold and damp environments.


Aman Parhar
Editor, Vanderhoof Omineca Express

aman.parhar@ominecaexpress.com

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