There are no two ways about it. Hypothermia is a medical emergency that requires immediate treatment. Without this, severe bodily harm or even death is possible.
When working outdoors during the winter months, it’s your responsibility to take steps to protect against hypothermia. Here are some of the things you can do to help your cause:
- Wear warm clothing: It all starts with the clothes you wear. While it’s important to protect every inch of your body, pay close attention to the areas where heat is most likely to escape, including your head, neck and face.
- Don’t push yourself too hard: Activities that result in sweating can cause you to quickly lose body heat, as wet clothing and cold air don’t mix well.
- Stay dry: Even if you’re working in wet conditions, take steps to remain dry. For example, wear a protective outer layer that is waterproof.
- Take breaks: In extremely cold temperatures, regular breaks are a must. When possible, move to a warm area, such as a vehicle or building, as this provides the opportunity to increase your core temperature.
If you suspect hypothermia, stop what you’re doing and move indoors. Also, call 911 to request an ambulance, as you want to receive immediate medical treatment at a local hospital.
Depending on the severity of your hypothermia and the injuries it caused, your medical team may suggest that you avoid cold temperatures for an extended period of time.
If you’re unable to do your job as a result of your treatment and recovery plan, file a workers’ compensation claim.