Cold Weather Worker’s Compensation Injuries

During the cold winter months, some Ohio workers face long days spent outside in frigid air. It is important for workers to take preventative measures when working in the cold, and learn how to react if experiencing injury or illness. Learn more about cold weather worker’s compensation injuries.

In cold conditions, the body reduces blood flow to the extremities in order to keep the core organs warmer. This can cause the extremities (hands, fingers, feet, toes) to cool rapidly, increasing the risk for cold-related injuries. Some injuries and illnesses associated with exposure to the cold are hypothermia, frostbite, frostnip, chilblains, and immersion injury or trench foot.

Preventative Measures for Extremely Cold Temperatures:

  • Plan for conditions – alter the work schedule or plan around certain projects according to weather
  • Engineering controls – take into account that some machines don’t work as well in extremely low temperatures
  • Work practices – allow for increased number of breaks for workers to warm up when necessary
  • Appropriate clothing – recommend warmer clothing, and give tips on what to wear in certain conditions
  • Personal protective equipment – recommend or provide equipment to protect against the elements

It is also very important for employers to train employees and supervisors to recognize and treat cold-related injuries appropriately. Workers should be allowed to interrupt their regular work schedule if they are extremely uncomfortable. Working for extended periods of time in extreme cold can lead to various injuries and illnesses.

Workers with an increased risk of cold-related injuries and illnesses include:

  • Building, road and other construction workers
  • Airport and ground personnel
  • Ski resort employees
  • Ferry and dock workers
  • Trucking and other transportation
  • Agriculture
  • Food processing, packing, storage
  • Cold storage, warehousing
  • Ice making
  • Window cleaning
  • Police, fire and emergency response
  • Postal delivery services
  • Sanitation, trash collecting
  • Utilities and communication

The above professions involve risk of exposure to very low temperatures, so employers have a responsibility to express to workers the importance of combating the cold, and protecting against injury during frigid temperatures. Employers must allow opportunities for workers to warm up, providing 10-minute warm up breaks, at least once every two hours.

Contact a Lawyer

If you or someone you know has suffered from a cold-related injury or illness while at work, call our Ohio workers’ compensation lawyers today at 800.637.8170 for a free case evaluation, or order your free copy of The Ohio Work Injury Book.  If you want to file for a cold weather worker’s compensation injuries, call one of our lawyers today.