Cold stress is a serious issue that you should take time to learn more about in New Jersey. With temperatures that regularly reach below freezing, anyone who works outside should be aware of how factors such as wind chill, rain, sleet, snow and your own physical health can impact the way the cold affects you.
Of all the cold-stress conditions that can arise, hypothermia is among the most dangerous. In cold or cold and wet conditions, hypothermia is a real possibility, especially if you’re not prepared to work in the conditions with the appropriate protective gear.
What is hypothermia?
Hypothermia happens when your body loses heat faster than it can make it. This leads to a dangerous condition where your body temperature drops to 95 degrees Fahrenheit or less.
How can your employer help prevent cases of hypothermia on the job?
Your employer can help by making sure every employee knows the signs of hypothermia. For example, some signs of hypothermia and the body rapidly cooling include:
- Confusion and memory loss
- Weak pulse
- Slow, shallow breathing
- Slurred speech
- Passing out or losing consciousness
- A lack of coordination
These symptoms usually come on gradually, and the person who is suffering from them might not recognize them. Co-workers need to keep an eye on each other, and they should help anyone who begins to show these symptoms of hypothermia by taking them to a warm place quickly. You can then call 911 and wait for help to arrive.
If you suffer from hypothermia on the job, workers’ compensation may be available to cover your medical costs and to provide you with other benefits.