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Baby it’s cold outside: Snow team safety in sub-zero temperatures

By:
  • SIMA
- Posted: January 30, 2019
The arrival of the Polar Vortex means snow and ice crews are faced with working in extreme temperatures. Educate your team on the importance of working safely in winter weather, including understanding the Cold Stress Equation, which shows the impact of the elements:

Low temperature + Wind speed + Wetness = Injuries and Illness

The equation identifies the temperatures and other factors when winter-related injuries can occur and offers emergency protocol for treatment.

Frostbite & Hyphothermia

Workers exposed to the elements during a brutally cold winter weather event may put themselves at risk of frostbite and hypothermia if they are not properly prepared. Permanent damage or even death can occur, which is why it is important for snow & ice management companies to educate team members on how to identify the symptoms, protect themselves and offer treatment if someone on the team falls victim to the conditions:
Frostbite Symptoms
  • Waxy-white or pale appearance in fingers, toes, nose or earlobes.
  • Skin becomes hard and numb.
  • Workers predisposed to health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and hypertension are at increased risk, as are those who are in poor physical condition, have a poor diet or are older.
Hypothermia Symptoms
  • Uncontrollable shivering
  • Slow or slurred speech
  • Memory lapses
  • Shallow breathing
  • Weak pulse
  • Frequent stumbling
  • Cold, bluish skin
  • Irritability, irrational or confused behavior
  • Drowsiness and exhaustion
cold stress equation
OSHA has developed best practices to consider for teams that must be in the field during such temperatures. Learn more here.

Is it even too cold for your team to continue working in the elements? Take our quick 3-question survey.
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