VANCOUVER – As a cold snap and winter conditions such as snow and ice envelop many areas in British Columbia, WorkSafeBC is advising workers and employers to take precautions when working outdoors.
Between 2015 and 2018, 30 B.C. workers were injured as a result of cold exposure, a WorkSafeBC release stated, with frostbite as the most common cold weather injury. Cold stress can also lead to hypothermia which can be fatal.
“Working in cold conditions can lead to serious injuries if you’re unprepared — frostbite can occur in a matter of minutes without proper clothing and equipment,” WorkSafeBC senior manager of prevention field services Barry Nakahara said.
Industries affected by cold conditions include construction, utility and maintenance workers and transport truck drivers.
WorkSafeBC recommends wearing warm head covering, layered clothing to allow seat to escape and trap heat, and to protect hands and feet including gloves, mittens and waterproof boots. Vigorous work should be scheduled with breaks from the cold as fatigue is a risk factor.
When possible, the release stated, the working environment should be heated, such as when heated shelters are used to help protect construction workers from cold and damp environments.
More information on cold stress and prevention measures is available at WorkSafeBC’s site