OSHA Offers Tips To Protect Employees During Cold
Washington, DC (CompNewsNetwork) - Some areas of the
nation have already experienced the harsh, sometimes damaging effects of winter. With the
cold weather upon us, OSHA is encouraging employers and employees to take necessary
precautions to prevent and treat cold-related health problems. Employees who work outside -
such as in construction, commercial fishing, maritime and agriculture - are especially
Exposure to freezing and cold temperatures for extended periods of time may cause
serious health problems such as trench foot, frostbite and hypothermia. In extreme cases,
including cold water submersion, exposure can lead to death. Danger signs include
uncontrolled shivering, slurred speech, clumsy movements, fatigue and confused behavior. If
these signs are observed, call immediately for emergency help.
OSHA's Cold Stress Card provides a reference guide and recommendations to combat and
prevent many cold weather-related illnesses and injuries. Available in English and Spanish,
this laminated card is free to employers, employees and the public. Tips on how to protect
-- Recognize the environmental and workplace conditions that may be dangerous.
-- Learn the signs and symptoms of cold-induced illnesses and injuries and what to do to
-- Train employees about cold-induced illnesses and injuries.
-- Encourage employees to wear proper clothing for cold, wet and windy conditions,
including layers that can be adjusted to changing conditions.
-- Be sure that employees in extremely cold conditions take frequent, short breaks in
warm dry shelters to allow their bodies to warm up.
-- Try to schedule work for the warmest part of the day.
-- Avoid exhaustion or fatigue because energy is needed to keep muscles warm.
-- Use the buddy system: Work in pairs so that one employee can recognize danger
-- Drink warm, sweet beverages (sugar water, sports-type drinks) and avoid drinks with
caffeine (coffee, tea, sodas or hot chocolate) or alcohol.
-- Eat warm, high-calorie foods such as hot pasta dishes.
-- Remember that employees increase their risks when they take certain medications, are
in poor physical condition or suffer from illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension or
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for
providing a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure the
safety and health of America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards;
providing training, outreach, and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging
continual process improvement in workplace safety and health. For more information, visit
U.S. Labor Department releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be
made available in alternate format upon request (large print, Braille, audiotape or disc)
from the COAST office. Please specify which news release when placing your request at (202)
693-7828 or TTY (202) 693-7755. The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to providing
America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to
comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.
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