The winter weather is at its peak in Chicago, so workers are at risk of suffering from cold-weather injuries. These are often preventable if employers take simple steps to protect their workers. While many think of cold weather as a way of life in this area, it’s also the cause of some deaths.
Conditions like cold stress or hypothermia can turn fatal if they aren’t addressed swiftly. Even frostbite can lead to lifelong damage, but this is just as preventable as the other conditions.
Cold weather protection
One of the most important things to remember is that you need to have a warm, dry area to take a break in when you’re working. Drinking warm liquids, such as coffee from an insulated cup, can also help.
Anyone who has signs of cold stress, hypothermia, or frostbite should get out of the cold and warm up immediately. These signs include:
- Pain or leg cramps
- Numbness or tingling
- Reddened skin or swelling
Dressing in layers can also help workers to remain safe. Ideally, at least one of those layers will be insulated. If you’re likely to get wet while you work, bring extra clothing that you can change into so you can stay dry.
All workers should ensure they have the proper gear to remain safe in their working conditions. Employers have a duty to keep them safe. If a worker suffers a cold weather injury, such as frostbite or a broken bone due to a fall on the ice, they can seek workers’ compensation benefits to cover the medical care they need, as well as partial wage replacement and others. The laws surrounding workers’ compensation can be complex, so workers should ensure they have someone familiar with them on their team.