Heightened risk to outdoor workers due to extreme cold

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Richmond, B.C. – WorkSafeBC is reminding employers and workers with the cold weather temperatures in Northern B.C., to prepare and have a plan to manage the risks of working outside in sub-zero temperatures.
68 workers have been injured in B.C from 2013 to 2018 due to cold exposure with one death in 2014 taking place in the Okanagan. Injuries due to weather include frostbite and hypothermia which can cause death if untreated.
“In Fort St. John our winter has been milder than usual this year, but we’re now seeing a bitterly cold snap,” says Budd Phillips, Manager of Prevention Field Services for WorkSafeBC. “When that happens, employers must conduct risk assessments and have a control plan in place to ensure workers are safe.”
Frostbite, which accounted for 60 of the 68 cold-related injuries over the last five years, can happen fast, in just a few minutes when in extreme temperatures shares WorkSafeBC.
Wind or wet clothing are factors in frostbite and some at-risk occupations are; transport truck drivers, recreational instructors, operators and attendants, construction workers, and utility and maintenance workers.
The following tips will help prepare outdoor workers and prevent injury:

 

  • Keep an eye on temperature and wind-chill forecasts from Environment Canada
  • Minimize skin exposure
  • Layer clothing to trap heat and allow perspiration to escape
  • Keep clothing dry
  • Keep bare hands away from metal objects
  • Stay hydrated and limit intake of coffee and tea
  • Work rested — fatigue is a risk factor in the cold
  • Wear a hat to help retain body heat
  • Pace any vigorous work with scheduled breaks in warm and dry areas

To read more about preventing cold-weather injuries; CLICK HERE

 

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