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Safety in cold weather

December 1st, 2014 / By: / Safety & Codes

Tips to protect workers on cold job sites.

Winter weather may slow tent rental but it rarely stops it. From polar plunges and ice fishing tournaments to holiday markets and the bride who wants a winter wedding, tenting needs continue despite cold climates.

Prolonged exposure to freezing or cold temperatures on tent installation sites may cause serious health problems such as trench foot, frostbite and hypothermia. Danger signs include uncontrolled shivering, slurred speech, clumsy movements, fatigue and confused behavior. If these signs are observed, call for emergency help.

OSHA’s Cold Stress QuickCard™ provides a reference guide and recommendations to combat and prevent many illnesses and injuries. This free laminated fold-up card is available in English and Spanish. Tips include:

  • 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 help workers.
  • Train workers about cold-induced illnesses and injuries.
  • Encourage workers to wear proper clothing for cold, wet and windy conditions, including layers that can be adjusted to changing conditions.
  • Be sure workers in extreme conditions take frequent short breaks in warm, dry shelters to allow their bodies to warm up.
  • Schedule work for the warmest part of the day.
  • Avoid exhaustion or fatigue because energy is needed to keep muscles warm.
  • Work in pairs so one worker can recognize danger signs in another.
  • 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.
  • Workers who take certain medications, are in poor physical condition or suffer from illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension or cardiovascular disease may face increased risks.

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