While the weather outside might be getting a bit frightful with winter closing in on the northern hemisphere and summer’s relentless heat gripping the southern hemisphere, most of us can’t just go home and wait it out.  Whether it’s cold and snowy or it’s hot and humid, your employees need to be prepared for all sorts of extreme conditions with the proper PPE and training to identify the risks of frostbite, hypothermia, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke.

Warning Signs & Symptoms

Symptoms can be subtle, so it’s important that employees pay attention to their own bodies as well as keep an eye on their co-workers for signs and symptoms of these conditions and take immediate action to prevent serious complications.

Cold Weather Conditions

As core body temperature decreases, muscular and cerebral functions become impaired. Hypothermia occurs most often when someone is exposed to cold and/or wet conditions, which makes working outdoors during the winter months quite dangerous. Frostbite, on the other hand, is an injury caused by freezing the skin and underlying tissue. The first signs of frostbite may be missed or ignored, but without proper treatment, people can lose appendages or develop blood clots. Frostbite typically occurs when weather conditions are cold (below freezing) and windy. It also usually affects the fingers, toes, nose, and ears, cheeks, and chin. Just like with hypothermia, dressing in layers and taking frequent breaks indoors where there’s heat are the best ways to prevent injury.

Frostbite

Hypothermia

As body temperature decreases, the severity of hypothermia symptoms increase. If not properly treated in a timely manner, death can occur. Here are signs and symptoms you should watch out for:

Hot Weather Conditions

As the body becomes unable to cool itself down, your body temperature will rise, which can damage your brain or other vital organs if it gets too high. In severe cases of heatstroke, this can lead to multi-organ system failure and death. Here are the key warning signs that someone may be suffering from heat exhaustion or heat stroke:

Heat Exhaustion

If left untreated, heat exhaustion can progress to heatstroke, which is life-threatening.

Heat Stroke

How Cority Helps

Safety Managers can leverage Cority’s risk management and job hazard assessment module to identify weather-related risks and hazards and develop countermeasures to protect your employees who are working safely regardless of the weather conditions. Also, our inspections solution enables Safety Managers to track behavior-based safety to ensure that employees are properly prepared to do their jobs safely based on weather conditions. Learn more at cority.com or contact your Account Manager to get more information on our health and safety solutions.