Newsletter of the Canadian Association of Recycling Industries
Volume 6, No. 12, December 2014
WORKING IN COLD WEATHER
Working in cold weather can increase an employee’s risk of injury and of dangerous conditions such as trench foot, frostbite, and hypothermia. Wearing appropriate clothing and understanding the warning signs of cold exposure can reduce the risks of these dangerous conditions.
Layering light, loose clothing will help provide thermal insulation. Outer layers should be waterproof and appropriate to the temperature range and type of activity of the work environment. Protecting the face, hands and feet is essential, even under safety equipment. Add a liner under a hard hat to help prevent heat loss.
Working in moderate (above-freezing) cold temperatures increases the risk of musculoskeletal injuries, so employees should be encouraged to warm up with stretching exercises before handling heavy material. Prolonged exposure to moderate cold and damp while wearing constricting footwear may also result in a condition known as trench foot.
Mild symptoms include reddening of the skin, numbness, swelling, and pain; more serious cases can result in nerve damage or gangrene. Keep a spare pair of dry socks on hand and remove boots and wet socks after work.
Frostbite afflicts extremities such as fingers, nose, toes, ears and cheeks, causing them to become numb and hard. In its early stages (“frostnip”), skin may look blotchy or pale and there may be a feeling of “pins and needles.” A tiny white dot may appear on the nose or on the tip of one or more fingers. Symptoms of full frostbite include numbness, itching, burning or sharp pain in the affected area. Use warm body surfaces to heat the affected area, and get into a warm, dry environment as soon as possible. If caught quickly, the effects of frostbite are reversible.
Hypothermia is a condition that sets in when a person’s core body temperature drops below 95 degrees, and can be fatal. In extreme cold temperatures, employees should work in pairs—never alone. Hypothermia can impair the brain and muscles so a victim will be unable to recognize their own signs and symptoms. Early signs of hypothermia include mumbling or slurred speech, stumbling, and difficulty holding onto objects. As it progresses the person may begin shivering uncontrollably and be unable to think straight. Anyone suffering these symptoms should be taken immediately to a warm environment.
If the person’s symptoms do not to improve within a short time, seek medical attention.
The member who presented Bill 193 to the Quebec National Assembly is M. Marc Picard. He was erroneously named in the November issue of the PULSE newsletter. CARI apologizes for the error.
CARI’S 74th Annual Convention
June 25–27, 2015
Delta St. John’s
St. John’s, Newfoundland
OTHER UPCOMING EVENTS
14th International Electronics Recycling Congress 2015
January 21-23, 2015 Salzburg, Austria
MRAI Indian Metals Recycling Conference
February 5 & 6, 2015 Powai, India
OARA Trade Show & Convention
March 26-28 Toronto, ON
ISRI’s Annual Convention and Exposition
April 21-25, 2015 Vancouver, B.C.
Canadian Association of Recycling Industries
130 Albert Street Suite 1906
Ottawa, On K1P 5G4