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More than 800 people in the U.S. die from hypothermia each year. But a few simple precautions can help protect workers in frigid environments.
OSHA has provides these ten basic tips for working outdoors safety:
- Recognize the environmental and workplace conditions that may be dangerous.
- Learn the signs and symptoms of cold-induced illnesses and injuries and what to do to help workers.
- Train workers about cold-induced illnesses and injuries.
- Encourage workers to wear proper clothing for cold, wet and windy conditions, including layers that can be adjusted to changing conditions.
- Ensure workers in extreme conditions take a frequent short break in warm dry shelters to allow their bodies to warm up.
- Schedule work for the warmest part of the day if possible.
- Avoid exhaustion or fatigue; energy is needed to keep muscles warm.
- Use the buddy system. Work in pairs so that one worker can recognize danger signs.
- Drink warm, sweet beverages (sugar water, sports-type drinks) and avoid drinks with caffeine (coffee, tea, sodas or hot chocolate) or alcohol.
- Eat warm, high-calorie foods such as hot pasta dishes.