OHS Canada Magazine

Cold-Weather Protection: Top Seven Tips on How to Prevent Frostbite

November 15, 2016
By Mila Adamovica

Folks experienced in working under harsh conditions are usually great at keeping themselves warm. Nevertheless, it is a good idea to review some cold-weather-protection basics with your workers before the temperature hits extremes. Now is a good time to hold a safety meeting and explain the importance of hypothermia prevention. In general, the objective should be learning or refreshing the knowledge of best practices on how to conserve body heat and avoid bare-skin exposure when working in cold weather conditions.

Here are top seven tips on how to prevent frostbite:

  1. Wear thermally insulated jackets, heavy coats and coveralls that provide superior protection combined with a good range of motion.
  2. Use your helmets and hardhats with insulating liners and a mouthpiece to effectively protect your head and neck.
  3. Wear gloves with a double-layer lining, or insulated mittens for better manual dexterity and comfort. Seamless string-knit gloves have excellent thermal insulation properties and a snug, comfortable fit that does not chafe or irritate skin.
  4. Sometimes, in warmer climates, it is sufficient to wear a beanie and a warming scarf to cover the head, neck and chest from cold and wind. Fleece liners with drawstring perform both functions and are ideal for use in cold-weather work conditions in such industries as construction, woodwork, refineries, oil drilling, maintenance and mining.
  5. If you are continuously walking on extremely cold surfaces, wearing double-layer thermal socks and insulated boots with steel or composite toes is a good idea.
  6. Create an instant barrier between the frozen ground and the feet by standing on a mat. Go inside the building during your break and have a hot beverage.
  7. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in Washington, D.C., “protecting workers’ eyes from wintry conditions is an important, yet easily overlooked, part of an overall eye safety program. Without the proper cold-weather eyewear, workers are vulnerable to an array of hazards, and the chances for injury increase significantly.” Goggles with a Thermo Lens System are perfect for protecting those at risk of eye damage.

Following these basic safety practices will help you make sure you don’t fall prey to the chill.

Mila Adamovica is an e-commerce specialist and blogger with PK Safety in Alameda, California.

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