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Some areas of the nation have already experienced the harsh, sometimes damaging effects of winter. With the cold weather upon us, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is encouraging employers and employees to take necessary precautions to prevent and treat cold-related health problems. Employees who work outside – such as in construction, commercial fishing, maritime and agriculture – are especially vulnerable.
Exposure to freezing and cold temperatures for extended periods of time may cause serious health problems such as trench foot, frostbite and hypothermia. In extreme cases, including cold water submersion, exposure can lead to death. Danger signs include uncontrolled shivering, slurred speech, clumsy movements, fatigue and confused behavior. If these signs are observed, call immediately for emergency help.
OSHA's Cold Stress Card provides a reference guide and recommendations to combat and prevent many cold weather-related illnesses and injuries. Available in English and Spanish, this laminated card is free to employers, employees and the public. Tips on how to protect employees include: