The last couple weeks here in Minnesota have been cold! While we Minnesotans think of ourselves as a hardy breed of people able to tolerate the cold, even the toughest among us need to take precautions to stay warm and safe during the cold winter weather.
Minnesota workers who have jobs that require them to be outside, such as road workers, construction workers, firefighters, police officers, paramedics, electrical workers, and laborers should be mindful of the hazards of cold weather work. These individuals should be aware of ways to prevent cold weather injuries. Cold stress can occur when the body is unable to warm itself. It can lead to tissue damage and possibly even death. Factors that can contribute to cold stress include:
1) Cold air temperatures
2) High velocity air movement (wind chill)
3) Air moisture
4) Contact with cold water or surfaces
A cold environment forces the body to work harder to maintain its temperature. The most common types of injuries and illnesses that occur due to cold stress are hypothermia, frostbite, and trench foot.