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Cold snap prompts safety reminder from WorkSafeBC

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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The cold has hit all over B.C. and WorkSafeBC is reminding workers to take extra caution while working.

According to WorkSafeBC, from 2011 to 2016 year to date, 72 workers in B.C. were injured, one fatally, resulting from exposure to cold. Cold-related injuries include frostbite, hypothermia and trench foot. Hypothermia can come on gradually and, if untreated, can lead to death.

“In extreme temperatures, frostbite can occur in a matter of minutes without the proper clothing and equipment,” says Dan Strand Director of Prevention Field Services. “Construction labourers, trucking and transportation drivers, utility and maintenance workers and ski hill operators are just a few of the many different occupations that require workers to perform their duties outside and employers and workers need to ensure they are ready to work safely in these conditions.”

With Fort St. John seeing temperatures near the -40 mark with the wind chill, frostbite can occur very easily. WorkSafeBC recommends employers do a cold stress assessment and implement a cold exposure control plan to help eliminate injuries. A cold exposure control plan must determine who is working where, what they will be exposed to and for how long.

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