With temperatures dropping into the 20s and below in many states across the U.S., cold weather is definitely a safety concern.
Operators of open-air equipment are exposed to wind, freezing rain and snow. Enclosed cabs afford some protection from the elements, but unless they are heated, operators can still be exposed to the cold.
It is important to not only dress warmly, but to be aware of the effect that cold weather and wind can have on your body.
When the body is unable to warm itself, serious cold-related illnesses and injuries can occur.
Hypothermia is the most dangerous cold-related illness and results when the body’s core temperature drops to less than 95 degrees. Early signs include uncontrolled shivering, slurred speech, fatigue, a weak pulse, followed by confusion and drowsiness, or a drop in blood pressure. This condition can even lead to death. Contrary to popular belief, most hypothermia cases occur at air temperatures between 30 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit. This goes to show, you should never underestimate the power of cold weather.
Frostbite is caused by freezing of the skin and underlying tissues, and typically affects the hands, feet and other extremities. Frostbite symptoms include pale, waxy-white skin and hard, numb skin.
Wearing properly insulated cold-weather clothing along with a hat and gloves should be a given. It is important to also take frequent breaks in warm and dry shelters offering warm, non-caffeinated beverages and warm, high-calorie foods in order to avoid cold injuries.
Also, have a buddy system when working in cold weather so that co-workers can keep an eye on each other.
If possible, work should be scheduled during the warmest time of the day with planned warm-up periods in heated shelters for the operators. The lower the temperature and the higher the wind speed, the more operator breaks should be taken.
Neff Rental delivers heated and closed cab equipment to job sites during the winter, contact your local Neff Rental or call 888-709-6333 to reserve yours today. We care about your operators’ safety and comfort.