Working outside in the winter is always a little dangerous. There are slick ladder rungs, slippery floors and biting cold. As discussed in a prior article, working outside during the winter is fraught with dangers. Not to mention the ongoing El Nino pattern that's resulting in more extreme weather. It seems like there are record-breaking winter storms every year. This article will expand on the safety tips outlined in the previous post.
Frostbite is another common injury from prolonged exposure to the elements. Frostbite generally affects extremities like the nose, ears, toes and fingers. Prolonged exposure to the cold can result in permanent tissue damage, which may require amputation. The common symptoms are numbness, tingling or stinging, bluish or pale skin and aching muscles. If you believe that you are suffering from frostbite then you must get out of the elements as quickly as possible.
You will need to attempt to warm the affected areas. You can do this with body heat; for example, affected fingers can be warmed with the armpits. Do not try and warm the affected extremities with a stove, radiator or fireplace. Your body has likely gone partially numb and you could very easily get burned. Another good trick, if your hands or feet were affected, is to submerge them in warm water. Think slightly warmer than room temperature. Finally, if possible, do not walk on or massage frostbitten toes or feet. This could cause permanent nerve damage or worse.
Your employer should provide you with a wheelchair, crutches or even a rolling chair to minimize your injuries. Your employer should monitor you and your fellow workers for signs of illness or injury. The goal is to minimize the long-lasting damage to your nerves and body.
If you were working out in the cold and you caught some frostbite or something else, then you may want to speak to an attorney. You have a right to workers' compensation because you were injured on the job. You may also have a claim against your employer if they did not provide adequate safety equipment to shield you from the cold.