Sheffield Occupational Health Advisory Service has produced a factsheet for workers who have to work outside when its cold which you can download here:
In wet, windy or extremely cold conditions all but emergency outdoor work should be stopped.
- Look out for frostbite freezing of tissue: especially for ears, nose, fingers and toes.
- Hypothermia- drop in core body temperature this can lead to coma or death if the body temperature falls below 32°C.
Signs of hypothermia to watch out for in yourself and your work mates:
• Persistent severe shivering.• Fatigue, incoordination, drowsiness, apathy, hallucinations and resistance to aid.• Skin may go blue, or later, pale, cold and dry.• As body temperature drops, shivering stops and muscles become rigid.• Breathing and heart rates become slower.• Finally loss of consciousness.
The early stages of hypothermia must be treated by moving the person to a warm place, and warming them up slowly, even if they resist your help. Get medical help -call 999- as soon as possible.
- wearing protective thermal outdoor wet weather clothes in lots of layers- the employer should provide these
- taking frequent breaks in a warm cabin
- having lots of warm drinks and hot food (facilities for heating up food must be provided)
- having systems to check on those working in extreme cold – who may not recognise warning signs
- training about symptoms of hypothermia
- preparing for vehicle breakdown – warm clothes, gloves, blankets hot drinks