Working in a cold environment is not only uncomfortable but can sometimes be lifethreatening. The body must maintain an internal temperature of a bbou 370C to work properly. A couple of degrees above or below this and the body begins to have problems. Brain function decreases and organs begin to malfunction. The body’s ability to create and retain heat must not exceed the heat that is being lost. The body loses heat via radiation (caused by the temperature difference with the environment), conduction (when we touch a cold object), convection (via surrounding air as it comes in contact with the body), and evaporation (via sweating).
If body temperature drops it is referred to as hypothermia. This condition can affect anyone working outdoors in cold weather (e.g. construction or road workers, emergency response workers, fishermen, hunters, etc), but also indoor workers if the environment is cold (e.g. refrigerated warehouses). Factors that might make someone more susceptiple include; age, blood circulation diseases, previous hypothermia, fatigue, certain medications, and a low level of body fat.
Warning Signs Of Hypothermia
If the body temperature remains normal, but certain body parts, such as fingers, toes, ear lobes, begin to get very cold, then we call this frostbite. This usually happens if a body part is exposed to the cold environment, or if it gets wet.
Warning Signs Of Frostbite
Treatment For Hypothermia And Frostbite
More first aid informaiton