Prolonged exposure to freezing or cold temperatures may cause serious health problems such as trench foot (prolonged exposure of the feet to damp, cold conditions), 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.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has specific cold stress guidelines and ‘Cold Stress Cards’, which provide a quick reference guide to recognize and prevent many cold-weather related illnesses and injuries. Available in English and Spanish, this laminated fold-up card is free to employers, workers and the public. To order copies of the ‘Cold Stress Card’, go to www.osha.gov or call (800) 321-OSHA.
OSHA offers these tips for keeping workers safe in cold weather:
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