Preparation is the best way to protect against the dangers of working in extreme cold this winter. Exposure to low temperatures can lead to hypothermia and frostbite.
The following items can be critical attire to be worn during cold weather:
- Hat or headband that covers the ears
- Scarf or knit mask to cover face and mouth
- Sleeves that fit snug at the wrist
- Mittens rather than gloves when possible
- Water-resistant coat and shoes
- Layers of loose-fitting clothing
Take extra measures to keep warm during these times such as:
- Use hand and feet warmers
- Stay hydrated and eat plenty of calories
- Keep moving to increase body temperature and avoid sitting on cold solid objects such as concrete or metal
- If possible, tuck sleeves and pant layers into gloves and socks to trap in heat
- Change any item that is not water resistant if it gets wet
Be sure the outer layer of clothing is tightly woven, preferably wind resistant, to reduce body-heat loss caused by wind. Wool or silk inner layers of clothing will hold more body heat than cotton. Excess perspiration will increase heat loss, so remove extra layers of clothing whenever it is too warm.
Do not ignore shivering. It is an important first sign that the body is losing heat. Persistent shivering is a signal to return indoors and warm up.