OSHA Publishes Cold Stress Card
In an effort to encourage employers and employees to take necessary precautions to prevent and treat cold-related health problems, OSHA has created a Cold Stress Card reference guide that contains recommendations to combat and prevent many cold weather-related illnesses and injuries.
Available in English and Spanish, this laminated card is free to employers, employees, and the public. Tips on how to protect employees include:
- Recognize the environmental and workplace conditions that may be dangerous.
- Learn the signs and symptoms of cold-induced illnesses and injuries and what to do to help employees.
- Train employees about cold-induced illnesses and injuries.
- Encourage employees to wear proper clothing for cold, wet, and windy conditions, including layers that can be adjusted to changing conditions.
- Be sure that employees in extremely cold conditions take frequent, short breaks in warm dry shelters to allow their bodies to warm up.
- Try to schedule work for the warmest part of the day.
- Avoid exhaustion or fatigue because energy is needed to keep muscles warm.
- Use the buddy system: Work in pairs so that one employee can recognize danger signs.
- Drink warm, sweet beverages (sugar water, sports-type drinks) and avoid drinks with caffeine (coffee, tea, sodas, or hot chocolate) or alcohol.
- Eat warm, high-calorie foods such as hot pasta dishes.
- Remember that employees increase their risks when they take certain medications, are in poor physical condition, or suffer from illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension, or cardiovascular disease.
For free copies of the Cold Stress Card in English or Spanish go to www.osha.gov, or call 202-693-1888.