The weather can get quite frigid here in Minnesota. Temperatures can plummet to below zero, while high winds and blizzards can make working outside almost unbearable. For construction workers and those in the contracting industry, working outside can slow products and render some equipment almost useless. Even worse, however, is the threat of cold stress on the workers.

 

By cold stress, we mean conditions that could lead to hypothermia, frostbite, and other winter-related illnesses. During the harsh cold season, it’s vital for you to identify cold-related health conditions correctly. We can help by providing industrial safety equipment that will keep your crew warm while being outside.

 

Understanding the Body’s Reaction to Cold Temperature

To grasp the severity of working in the cold, you should have an understanding of how the body reacts to freezing temperatures. Once the body senses that it’s cold outside, it works harder to maintain its internal temperature of 96.8 degrees Fahrenheit (37 degrees Celsius). This reaction causes the body to draw blood closer to the core. Since there is less blood in the appendages, they are now more exposed to the low temperature.

 

The exposure is what causes accelerated frostbite in areas such as the feet and hands. It’s at this point that the body can begin to experience cold stress, which becomes evident due to various symptoms. These symptoms may include:

 

●        Shivering

●        Extreme fatigue

●        Confusion or disorientation

●        Blue and chapped skin

●        Low heart rate

●        Total loss of consciousness

 

Cold-Related Health Conditions

If the body temperature starts to fall to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (24 degrees Celsius), a worker will exhibit symptoms of various health conditions. Some of these conditions include:

 

Hypothermia. Symptoms include shivering, loss of coordination, stumbling, confusion, slurred speech, or altered personality. Move the worker to a warm area and keep him or her actively moving around. Cover with dry clothes. Take to a hospital if necessary.

 

Frostbite. Symptoms include white, gray, or blue skin, hardened skin, itching or burning sensations, numbness, and blistering. The worker should immediately get a warm place. Do not, however, flash-warm the skin. Also, do not rub affected areas. It is better to warm up gradually. Wrap affected areas. Take to a hospital, if necessary.

 

Trench Foot. Symptoms include numbness, swelling, and blisters. Remove all wet clothing including pants, socks, and shoes. Clean the foot and ankle area with warm (not hot) water. Dry the feet. While he or she is resting, keep the feet exposed in an open, warm area. Seek medical treatment, if necessary.

 

McClellan Sales Can Protect You This Winter

While the weather outside can be frightful, you can stay protected with industrial safety equipment from McClellan Sales. We provide a wide range of industrial supplies, landscaping equipment, and winter-ready products that will protect you from the cold. Visit our website to find out more about all the products we carry. You can also contact us at 888-206-2569, or you can message us at sales@mcsales.com.