Feeling that chill in the air? Yes, it’s cold weather season, that time of the year when accidents and illnesses are common. The Powering America team of the National Electrical Contractors Association and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers want to prepare for working outside during cold weather this winter by following recommended practices, which are listed below.
Here are some things to keep in mind to protect yourself and other workers in cold environments:
- 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 a frequent short break 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 worker can recognize danger signs.
- 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.
It is important to remember that workers face increased risks when they take certain medications, are in poor physical condition or suffer from illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension or cardiovascular disease.
Prolonged exposure to freezing or cold temperatures may cause serious health problems such as trench foot, frostbite and hypothermia. In extreme cases, including cold water immersion, exposure can lead to death. Danger signs include uncontrolled shivering, slurred speech, clumsy movements, fatigue and confused behavior. If these signs are observed, call for emergency help.
About Powering America
The Powering America Team consists of craftsmen of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and their signatory contractors—including those who are members of the National Electrical Contractors Association, supported by the electrical training ALLIANCE. Supplying the determined, dependable talent that the critical work around the U.S. requires. Find more at Powering-America.org