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frost bite

  • Recognize Frostbite

    We share a bit about Frostbite last year and want to remind all that it is a danger this time of year.

    Don’t let Jack Frost nip at your nose. Protect yourself from frostbite with information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).


    Frostbite is an injury caused by freezing. It most often affects the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers, or toes. Frostbite can permanently damage the body and severe cases can lead to amputation. The risk of frostbite is increased in people with reduced blood circulation and among people who are not dressed properly for extremely cold temperatures.

    At the first signs of redness or pain in any skin area, get out of the cold or protect any exposed skin—frostbite may be beginning. Any of the following signs may indicate frostbite:

    • White or grayish-yellow skin area.
    • Skin that feels unusually firm or waxy.
    • Numbness.

    As soon as you detect the symptoms of frostbite, seek medical care. If immediate medical care is not available, proceed as follows:

    • Get into a warm room as soon as possible.
    • Don’t rub the frostbitten area with snow or massage it at all. This can cause more damage.
    • Unless absolutely necessary, do not walk on frostbitten feet or toes as this increases the damage.
    • Immerse the affected area in warm—not hot—water (the temperature should be comfortable to the touch for unaffected parts of the body).
    • Don’t use a heating pad, heat lamp, or the heat of a stove, fireplace, or radiator for warming. Affected areas are numb and can be easily burned.

    Taking preventive action is your best defense against having to deal with extreme cold-weather conditions. For more information on frostbite, visit the CDC’s Frostbite page.

    Also read:

    Cold Stress & Related Illness and How can cold stress be prevented?

  • How can cold stress be prevented?

    cold-stress-2We've talked about Hypothermia & Frostbite, but how does this affect the workplace?

    Although OSHA does not have a specific standard that covers working in cold environments, employers have a responsibility to provide workers with employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards, including cold stress, which are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to them (Section 5(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970). Employers should, therefore, train workers on the hazards of the job and safety measures to use, such as engineering controls and safe work practices, that will protect workers’ safety and health.

    Employers should train workers on how to prevent and recognize cold stress illnesses and injuries and how to apply first aid treatment. Workers should be trained on the appropriate engineering controls, personal protective equipment and work practices to reduce the risk of cold stress.Cold-Work

    Employers should provide engineering controls. For example, radiant heaters may be used to warm workers in outdoor security stations. If possible, shield work areas from drafts or wind to reduce wind chill.

    Employers should use safe work practices. For example, it is easy to become dehydrated in cold weather. Employers therefore, can provide plenty of warm sweetened liquids to workers.  Avoid alcoholic drinks. If possible, employers can schedule heavy work during the warmer part of the day. Employers can assign workers to tasks in pairs (buddy system), so that they can monitor each other for signs of cold stress. Workers can be allowed to interrupt their work, if they are extremely uncomfortable. Employers should give workers frequent breaks in warm areas. Acclimatize new workers and those returning after time away from work, by gradually increasing their workload, and allowing more frequent breaks in warm areas, as they build up a tolerance for working in the cold environment. Safety measures, such as these, should be incorporated into the relevant health and safety plan for the workplace.

    Learn more: Cold Stress & Related IllnessCold-stress

  • Frostbite

    While Spring may be right around the corner, it is still bitter cold in many places... Do you know how to recognize, avoid, and treat Frostbite?

    Frostbite is a condition in which skin and the tissue just below the skin freeze

    FrostbiteWhat to look for:  With Frostbite, the skin appears waxy, is cold to the touch or discolored (white, gray, yellow, blue, or flushed) and the person with frostbite will often experience a lack of feeling in the affected area.

    Mild frostbite cases can be treated with gradual warming. Severe cases require medical care to prevent complications.

    How to care for Frostbite / First Aid measures:

    Note: Do not attempt to re-warm the frostbitten area if there is a chance that it might freeze again or if you are close enough to a medical facility to get advanced medical care in place of responder treatment.

    • Check to assure that the scene is safe for you to come to the injured person's aid and the check the person for any more serious or life threatening emergencies.
    • Send someone to CALL 9-1-1 (or the local emergency number).
    • Try to remove wet clothing and any jewelry on or near the affected area.
    • DO NOT rub the affected area - Handle the frostbitten are gently.
    • For minor frostbite, rapidly rewarm the affected part using skin-to-skin contact such as with a warm hand. (warmers may be used cautiously.)
    • Warm gently by soaking affected area in warm water (100°F - 105°F / 37°C - 40°C) until normal color returns and the frostbitten part feels warm.
    • Loosely bandage area with dry, sterile dressing.
    • If fingers or toes are frostbitten, place dry, sterile gauze between the digits to keep them separated.
    • Avoid breaking any blisters.


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