Being a construction worker in the middle of a New York City winter is not for the faint of heart. It gets very cold, snowy and icy — sometimes dangerously so. These wintry weather conditions can exacerbate the dangers that construction workers face every day on the job.
Read on to learn about the added hazards New York City construction workers face when working in the winter.
Extended exposure to cold takes its toll
Almost everyone can withstand the occasional short blast of freezing cold. But when an individual has to work outside in freezing, wet and icy conditions for prolonged periods, the damage can accrue.
Below are some of the conditions these workers can develop:
- Trench foot – Also known as immersion foot syndrome, this condition occurs when people’s feet get and remain wet for long periods of time.
- Frostbite – Any exposed body parts can get frostbitten in cold weather.
- Hypothermia – This deadly condition is the result of exposure to the cold. Signs of hypothermia include acting erratically, slurring the words and shivering uncontrollably.
Protect yourself against cold weather injuries
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issues guidelines to follow when working in very cold weather. They include the following:
- Be aware of the daily forecast and any environmental conditions on the jobsite that might present problems.
- Understand how cold weather injuries develop and how you can avoid them.
- Layer your clothing to add or remove items as needed in the weather conditions.
- Take short breaks to warm up in a heated environment.
- Bring dry clothing to change into if you get wet.
- Work during the warmest hours of the day when you have maximum exposure to the sun.
- Work in groups or pairs so coworkers are aware of any mental or physical status changes.
Did you suffer a cold-weather injury on the job?
If you were working on a job site and suffered an injury due to exposure to the cold weather, you may be able to make a claim for the losses and damages that you suffer. A successful claim can cover your medical bills and also put some money in your pocket while you are recovering and are unable to work.