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Cold stress while working

| Jan 29, 2019 | Workers' Compensation |

Some New Jerseyworkers should take extra care to protect themselves from the effects of extremely cold temperatures. They should be particularly aware of cold stress and other potential dangers that can result from these types of weather conditions.

Cold stress can take place when the human body is unable to warm itself. This can result in numbness, frostbite, dehydration and hypothermia. High-velocity air movement, freezing air temperatures, having contact with cold surfaces or water and the humidity in the air are all factors that can help create cold stress.

The most common indication of cold stress and the first symptom to become apparent is shivering. Blood in the body begins to travel away from the extremities when the body temperature falls below 98.6 degrees. As a result, any exposed skin begins to cool, which can make the onset of hypothermia more likely. If the body temperature continues to drop, speech may become incoherent and dexterity may decrease. Hypothermia will occur if the body temperature falls to 85 degrees Fahrenheit, and if the body temperature falls to 78 degrees or lower, the sufferer will have a high risk for incurring brain damage.

The people who are at risk of cold stress include those who work in the commercial fishing, agriculture, maritime and construction sectors, as their job duties usually require that they work outside, exposing them to extreme temperatures. However, people who work in food processing, cold storage or other inside work environments where there is no heat are also at risk of suffering from cold stress.

People who contract this type of job injury often require lengthy medical care and treatment. They might want to meet with a workers’ compensation attorney in order to learn what benefits they might be entitled to receive.