Cold Safety Critical

Safety should be Priority One when your dealership staff is working outside in the cold.

Despite cold temperatures, the activity of winter work may fuel a false sense of protection against cold weather hazards. If unprepared, laborers can be numbed into serious cold stress injuries, including hypothermia, frostbite and trench foot, says Tamela Brown, environmental health and safety officer with Ohio State University’s Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center.

"Planning for work in cold weather is the most important defense. Be aware of how the body reacts to cold and wear appropriate clothing. Proper insulation and good ventilation is critical," says Brown.

Some of the more common cold stress injuries are:

  • Hypothermia: Hypothermia literally means “low heat” and develops when body heat is lost faster than it is replaced. Symptoms range from shivering, slurred speech, memory loss, pale or cold skin, confusion, severe muscle stiffness, loss of consciousness, and death. "Temperatures do not have to be below freezing for hypothermia to occur, especially in vulnerable individuals," says Brown. "Older adults can develop low body temperatures after exposure to a mild cold which would only produce discomfort in younger people." Proper treatment depends on the severity of the hypothermia. With mild cases (body temperature of 98–90 degrees Fahrenheit), move to a warm area, replace any wet clothes, cover the head, and drink warm (not hot), non-alcoholic liquids. For more severe cases, call 911 for an ambulance and cover all extremities completely.
  • Frostbite: Frostbite occurs when skin temperature drops and blood flow to the surface of the skin decreases as the blood vessels constrict. The fluid in the cells and tissues begins to form ice crystals. Frostbite typically affects the extremities, particularly the feet and hands. Symptoms include cold, stinging, or achy feelings in the frostbitten area, followed by numbness. The skin turns red, then purple, then white or very pale and is cold to the touch. If these symptoms occur, call 911. Do not rub the affected area and wrap it in soft cloth.
  • Trench foot: Also known as immersion foot, trench foot develops when the feet are cold, damp, and confined in constricted footwear. It is similar to frostbite and can also result in gangrene and amputation. Trench foot can result in swelling, tingling, itching, loss of skin, or skin ulcers. If these conditions develop, soak feet in warm water, then wrap with dry cloth bandages, and consume warm, non-alcoholic drinks.

Brown says that cold stress injuries are avoidable if the proper precautions are taken.

"Employers can help protect workers from cold stress by providing training, controlling temperature, and wind with heaters and windbreaks if possible, and rotating workers in cold jobs," says Brown. She also recommends scheduling work at the warmest times, providing extra breaks as necessary, establishing a buddy system, and keeping first aid supplies and equipment available.

Leave a Reply

Latest News
Allen Summers Asmark Institute PSM Training
EmployeesAsmark Institute Sponsors 25 ResponsibleAg Auditor Trai…
June 21, 2016
The Asmark Institute has announced plans to provide 25 scholarships through their affiliated State fertilizer and agrichemical associations to help encourage Read More
Kennebec Elevator
CropLife 100Wheat Growers Celebrates Kennebec Elevator Grand Openin…
June 21, 2016
Over 250 patrons and guests were on hand to celebrate Wheat Growers’ Kennebec Elevator grand opening. South Dakota Secretary of Read More
Land O Lakes
Industry NewsLand O’Lakes To Acquire Ceres
June 20, 2016
Land O’ Lakes, Inc. and Ceres, Inc. have announced that they have signed a definitive merger agreement under which Land O’Lakes Read More
Food IT
Industry NewsCalifornia Event Will Mix Ag And Tech Professionals To …
June 20, 2016
Silicon Valley is hot on agriculture, and an upcoming event in California will bring together the food and tech industries Read More
LegislationVilsack Christens WinField Crop Adventure, Talks Monsan…
June 17, 2016
The WinField Crop Adventure grand opening ceremonies at Fair Oaks Farms (near Winemac, IN) welcomed USDA Secretary of Agriculture Tom Read More
Crop InputsFields of the Future: WinField Doubles Down with Agri-E…
June 16, 2016
Land O’Lakes, Inc., joined by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, today will host Fields of the Future, a live broadcast about Read More
Bayer sign
Crop InputsMonsanto Turns Back Bayer Again
June 14, 2016
Bayer AG’s bid to buy Monsanto Co. for more than $60 billion has hit an impasse that could pose a Read More
Young Corn Field
Crop NutritionNext Generation Of Nitrogen Efficiency Technology Conve…
June 13, 2016
Commodity price projections indicate farmers will continue to face tight margins again this year. Delivering higher yields and more bushels Read More
Industry NewsLa Crosse Seed Acquires Cover Crop Solutions Brand
June 10, 2016
La Crosse Seed announces that it is the new and exclusive owner of the entire family of brands of Cover Read More
ManagementTravel Plans and EU Rejection of Glyphosate, Biotech Cr…
June 9, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about upcoming trips and the latest in the European Union’s moves against glyphosate Read More
Aspire with Boron
Crop InputsStudy: Aspire with Boron Ups Alfalfa Yields
June 8, 2016
Alfalfa growers are successfully improving yields through the cutting season by applying an important micronutrient. In a recent study, The Read More
Industry NewsAGCO Announces Tragic Death of Longtime Employee
June 8, 2016
It is with deepest regret that we announce the passing of our dear friend, colleague and customer advocate-in-chief Kevin W. Read More
Wheat Field North Dakota
Industry NewsBASF Inks Northern Seed for Clearfield Wheat R&D Li…
June 6, 2016
BASF has licensed Northern Seed LLC to perform research and development of BASF’s proprietary and patented Clearfield technology in wheat. Read More
ManagementBayer/Monsanto, EU/Glyphosate, Corn/Soybeans
June 2, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss the latest regarding industry mergers, the glyphosate debate in Europe, and an update Read More
Growers looking at soybeans
Industry NewsKoch Licenses 2 Marrone Products For North American Dis…
June 2, 2016
Koch Agronomic Services (Koch), with support from its affiliate, Koch Biological Solutions, has secured exclusive rights to sell REGALIA Rx Read More
Gypsum
Industry NewsBeneficial Reuse Management Launches GYPSOIL BLENDABLE
June 2, 2016
Beneficial Reuse Management (BRM) has introduced GYPSOIL BLENDABLE, a new high-quality pelleted gypsum fertilizer that supplies 17% sulfate sulfur and Read More
StewardshipAgrible Joins Field To Market To Pursue Sustainable Sou…
June 1, 2016
Agrible, Inc. has joined Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture as an associate member. As a leading multi-stakeholder Read More