Published Date: 10/13/2014
By Reneé Watkins
This year the early winter forecast for the Mid-Atlantic region of the US calls for a much colder winter than last year. We will likely see a snowier winter, with well-below average temperatures. The region is expected to see wetter-than-average conditions over the winter months and will be impacted by several large winter storms. We are also predicted to see a pre-season winter storm in advance of the usual start of colder weather.
Employers are advised to consider proactive preparedness plans to take extra care of employees who work in cold conditions. What constitutes cold conditions and cold stress and its effects can vary across different areas of the country. In regions relatively unaccustomed to winter weather, near freezing temperatures are considered factors for “cold stress.” Whenever temperatures drop decidedly below normal and wind speed increases, heat can more rapidly leave your body. These weather-related conditions may lead to serious health problems and even accidental injuries.
If the body is unable to warm itself, it will begin to lose heat faster than it can produce it. This condition can be hastened by cold winds or wet clothing in colder temperatures. To stay warm under these conditions, the body will begin to use amounts of stored energy, lowering body temperature to a dangerous level and perhaps causing hypothermia. Hypothermia affects the brain and inhibits clear thinking and quick reflexes. The victim will usually feel sleepy and confused in most cases. This is the time when injuries can occur.
To help you better understand cold-related illnesses, how to prevent and treat them, and the issues they can cause your employees and your organization, refer to the following links:
OSHA Cold Stress Guide:
CDC Cold Stress Guide:
We encourage you to visit these web pages today and to bookmark them for quick access.