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How to Prevent Cold Weather Injuries  

Many people in the world still have jobs and positions that require them to complete work outside no matter the weather. Worker’s compensation benefits were indoctrinated to help protect those who work in labor-intensive positions. While we can lean on the workers’ compensation benefits to cover work-related injuries, it is in everyone’s best interest to try and avoid all potential harm that could occur. Winter is in full force and those workers who are out on the job should keep in mind the potential dangers that come with the territory. Working outdoors in cold, wet, icy, or snowy conditions can lead to cold-related illnesses and injuries such as hypothermia and frostbite. Below we’ve reviewed some of the best ways to help prevent any winter weather-related injuries from happening to you or your staff.  

Who Is at Risk? 

As mentioned previously, those who work in a cold environment may be at risk of cold-related illnesses and injuries, or “cold stress.” There are many professions where workers must be subject to the harsh weather that comes in the winter months. These professionals include police officers, snow cleanup crews, sanitation workers, farmers, construction workers, and many others. If your employees take certain medications, are in poor health, or suffer from any illness (diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease) it could mean they will face high risks in the work field.  

Prominent Winter Injuries and Illness  

There are three prominent illnesses that can be contracted through working in a cold-weather position. Below we have listed the three illnesses, what causes them, and how to prevent them from occurring. 


What Causes It: 

When exposed to cold temperatures, the body begins to lose heat faster than it can be produced. Once outside for a prolonged period of time, the heat that your body has stored will be used up. As your body heat is released the temperature of the body will become abnormally low and begin the process of hypothermia. Early symptoms of hypothermia include shivering, fatigue, loss of coordination, confusion, or disorientation. 

How to Prevent:  

Hypothermia is an illness that affects the brain. This will cause the victim to be unable to think clearly or perform normal functionality. To combat this, work with another coworker or work in groups.  


What Causes It: 

Your fingers, toes, nose, and ears are the most prominent body parts that are affected by frostbite and the most prone to it. Frostbite occurs when a part of the body freezes, causing damage to the tissue. Signs of frostbite beginning include numbness or tingling, stinging, or pain on or near the affected area.  

How to Prevent: 

Checking the weather and wearing protective clothing to combat the weather of that day. If working in icy and snowy conditions items such as warm gloves, insulated footwear, and warm hats will be the best choices. 

Trench Foot  

What Causes It: 

If your feet are kept wet and cold for an extended period of time, you may come down with trench foot. Moisture causes your feet to lose heat, and this can slow the blood flow and damage tissue. As an example, trench foot can happen when it is as warm as 60 degrees. 

How to Prevent: 

Be mindful of your footwear and the maintenance of them in order to help keep your feet warm and dry. 

If you need to add worker’s compensation to your business insurance plan or would like to know more about the policy, talk with your local agent today.