If your job requires you to be outside working in the elements, you understand how long and cold Ohio winters can be. Changes in the seasons do not necessarily mean changes in your job requirements, and it can be particularly important to know how to stay warm and safe during the winter months. There are things that employers can do to help you avoid injuries and complications from cold stress.
Cold stress can happen when workers are outside in cold or freezing temperatures, especially in weather exacerbated by wind chill and other factors. Cold stress can lead to various medical issues, and employers should know what the wind chill is and how to protect the health of outdoor workers. They should be as safe as reasonably possible while working in extreme conditions.
Who is at risk?
Anyone who has to be outdoors for his or her job could be at risk for health issues related to cold stress. This risk greatly increases when there are various factors that can make it feel colder than it actually is outside. Some of these factors include:
- Improper clothing to protect against cold
- Wind chill
- Lack of physical training and conditioning
- Health conditions exacerbated by working in extreme cold
Those who may be particularly at risk during the winter months may include sanitation workers, garbage collection workers, police officers, firefighters and many more. Cold stress can lead to lower internal body temperatures, which ultimately can have negative health consequences for these workers and others who have to be outdoors for work.
In extreme conditions, employers can do certain things that will make it easier for workers to stay safe and healthy. Workers should be able to take frequent breaks, wear clothing that allows them to stay warm and allowed to do the most demanding tasks when it is warmest during the day.
When workers suffer
When Ohio workers suffer injury in a work accident or become ill due to work conditions, they have the right to seek benefits through a workers’ compensation claim. If you believe you have grounds to file a claim, it is in your interests to act quickly and initiate your claim as soon as possible.
You may find that it can be difficult to seek benefits for a work injury related to cold stress, but it may be helpful to seek an explanation of your rights and the legal options available to you.