If you work outdoors in the state of Pennsylvania, you know that the fall and winter months can pose a challenge. In addition to rain, snow and ice, temperatures are often below freezing.
With so many risks of working outdoors in cold weather, it’s important to focus on your health and well-being above all else. Here are some tips to follow:
- Dress accordingly: This is the most important thing you can do, as the clothes you wear can be the difference between staying warm and developing a serious cold-related condition such as hypothermia. It’s always better to overdress than to underdress.
- Watch for symptoms of cold-related conditions: These include but are not limited to shivering, fatigue and confusion.
- Get warm every now and again: For example, if you work eight hours a day outdoors, it doesn’t mean you have to stay in the cold the entire time. During breaks, such as when you’re eating, seek shelter in a warmer environment.
- Work during the warmest parts of the day: Even if temperatures will be low all day long, attempt to do most your work when it’s warmest. For instance, if the sun is out midday, this is when you want to hit your stride.
- Stay hydrated: Many workers shy away from drinking when it’s cold outside. They don’t realize that they can sweat despite the fact that temperatures are so low. Stay hydrated by drinking water and/or sports drinks throughout the day. Avoid caffeinated beverages and alcohol, as these can lead to dehydration.
- Fuel your body: Cooler temperatures can lessen your appetite, but you need to eat to keep your body running at peak performance. Opt for hot food, such as soup, when working outdoors in cold weather.
You may not look forward to working outdoors during the fall and winter months, but if it’s part of your job, you must plan accordingly.
If you suffer a cold-related injury or illness, stop what you’re doing and seek medical advice. For example, hypothermia and frostbite are serious ailments that require immediate medical treatment.
Once your doctor explains what went wrong, you can decide what to do next. If you’re unable to return to work right away, file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. This can help you financially as you recover.