As you may have noticed through several of our past blog posts, safety is one of the most important priorities here at Compass. Our team believes in putting OHS at the forefront of everything we do, every single day. With that in mind, it’s our pleasure to welcome Vanessa Rolheiser to our safety team. Vanessa has been with us since early August, diligently working behind the scenes to make our day to day operations seamless and secure! As an expert, Vanessa would like to share her top safety risks and tips for cold weather. Check out her advice below!
Dress for the weather
Many of the most common workplace injuries during the colder months are those caused by exposure to the elements. Even on milder days, making sure you’re equipped with the right gear to keep yourself warm can be the difference between staying comfortable and risking hypothermia. In addition, it’s best to take this a step further and to ensure your gear is easily accessible, just in case the weather shifts suddenly.
Know the signs of frostbite and hypothermia
Two dangerous but avoidable winter injury culprits are frostbite and hypothermia. Protect yourself by knowing the signs listed below, as well as how to treat them.
Frostbite occurs in several stages. Knowing the first symptoms can save you from severe pain and permanent damage. Look out for the following signs:
- Cold, tingly, or numb feeling skin: this is often your first indicator that you’ve been exposed to the cold for too long and need to layer up or head indoors
- Loss of full muscle movement due to stiffness
- Red skin, or skin that has begun to whiten from lack of circulation
- Lack of sensation (sign of severe frostbite from prolonged exposure)
- Removing any damp clothing
- Rewarming affected areas slowly. Start with soaking in lukewarm-warm water until normal feeling starts to return to the area. Hot water may lead to burns due to lack of proper sensation.
- Seek medical help immediately if you are in moderate pain, notice lasting discoloration, or prolong loss of feeling.
- Slurred speech
- Lack of coordination
- Mental disorientation
Hypothermia is typically hard for individuals afflicted to self-identify, so if you notice one of your peers exhibiting any of these symptoms step in by:
- Bringing the individual to a warm environment
- Remove wet clothing immediately and warm the person with blankets
- Provide warm beverages (non-alcoholic and non-caffeinated)
- Get medical help as soon as possible.
In addition to staying warm by wearing the proper clothing on site, it’s important to remember to stay hydrated and well fed when exposed to the elements. Doing so will give your body the extra energy needed to ward off the cold. Remember to abide by your company’s adverse weather policies, and to make sure that help is just a radio away!
Learn more about Compass’ commitment to safety and our services by contacting us today