What Is Frostbite?

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Frostbite is an injury to the body that is caused by freezing of the skin and underlying tissues. The lower the temperature, the more quickly frostbite will occur. Frostbite typically affects the extremities, particularly the feet and hands. Amputation may be required in severe cases.

Frostbite can result in serious injury and lost work time

Frostbite can result in serious injury and lost work time

It is critical for workers in cold weather to know “What are the symptoms of frostbite?” and “What can be done for a person suffering from frostbite?” Learn these and many more key safety facts, and comply with OSHA training requirements, through LBA University online Cold Weather Safety Training at http://www.lbagroup.com/cold-weather-safety-training.

LBA University offers a variety of online and onsite safety and OSHA compliance courses. Contact Bryan Dixon for more information at 252-757-0279 or bryan.dixon@lbagroup.com.

Lawrence Behr is CEO of LBA University and has many years of experience in RF safety and management.

Lawrence Behr is CEO of LBA University and has many years of experience in RF safety and management.

6 Comments on "What Is Frostbite?"

  1. Eduard Mangubat January 9, 2014 at 2:48 pm · Reply

    Is there any mandate to implement to lessen the working hour during the cold season. I raise this query coz during hot season we implemented the change schedule of working hour. ln

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  2. Bryan Dixon January 9, 2014 at 2:48 pm · Reply

    In the USA, I am not aware of any mandate or ruling that specifically addresses reduction of work hours or what you must do during cold weather other than the OSHA General Duty Clause which states employers have a responsibility to provide workers with employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards, including cold stress, which are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to them (Section 5(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970).

    How you provide the hazard free environment or protection will vary depending on the extremes encountered along with the protection levels provided. Many combinations of things can accomplish this requirement from OSHA. The following list provides accepted methods to ensure their safety.

    Employers should, therefore, train workers on the hazards of the job and safety measures to use, such as engineering controls and safe work practices, that will protect workers’ safety and health.

    Employers should train workers on how to prevent and recognize cold stress illnesses and injuries and how to apply first aid treatment. Workers should be trained on the appropriate engineering controls, personal protective equipment and work practices to reduce the risk of cold stress.

    Employers should provide engineering controls. For example, radiant heaters may be used to warm workers in outdoor security stations. If possible, shield work areas from drafts or wind to reduce wind chill.

    Employers should use safe work practices. For example, it is easy to become dehydrated in cold weather. Employers therefore, can provide plenty of warm sweetened liquids to workers. Avoid alcoholic drinks. If possible, employers can schedule heavy work during the warmer part of the day. Employers can assign workers to tasks in pairs (buddy system), so that they can monitor each other for signs of cold stress. Workers can be allowed to interrupt their work, if they are extremely uncomfortable. Employers should give workers frequent breaks in warm areas. Acclimatize new workers and those returning after time away from work, by gradually increasing their workload, and allowing more frequent breaks in warm areas, as they build up a tolerance for working in the cold environment. Safety measures, such as these, should be incorporated into the relevant health and safety plan for the workplace.

    Dressing properly is extremely important to preventing cold stress. The type of fabric worn also makes a difference. Cotton loses its insulation value when it becomes wet. Wool, silk and most synthetics, on the other hand, retain their insulation even when wet. The following are recommendations for working in cold environments:

    Wear at least three layers of loose fitting clothing. Layering provides better insulation. Do not wear tight fitting clothing.

    An inner layer of wool, silk or synthetic to keep moisture away from the body.
    A middle layer of wool or synthetic to provide insulation even when wet.
    An outer wind and rain protection layer that allows some ventilation to prevent overheating.
    Wear a hat or hood to help keep your whole body warmer. Hats reduce the amount of body heat that escapes from your head.
    Use a knit mask to cover the face and mouth (if needed).
    Use insulated gloves to protect the hands (water resistant if necessary).
    Wear insulated and waterproof boots (or other footwear).

    Extreme conditions are real hazards! Prepare your employees for the environments they work in and never assume everyone already knows all they need to know! Training and more training is the best approach to ensuring your workers are protected.

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  3. Gary Eugene Becknell January 10, 2014 at 11:33 am · Reply

    Good article.

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  4. David Longdon January 10, 2014 at 11:35 am · Reply

    Well Put : I agree 100 percent.

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  5. Eduard Mangubat January 10, 2014 at 11:35 am · Reply

    It helps a lot to train them and aware about their own protection during extreme weather condition. Anyway, thanks for info and advisory… ln

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