Cold weather can cause serious health emergencies to workers who are exposed to the elements. Don’t wait until it’s too cold to take cold weather protection seriously. Cold stress can occur when temperatures drop below freezing and the wind speeds increase, causing the body to rapidly lose heat.
In this article, we will explore several serious illnesses caused by cold weather exposure and introduce you to several products from Agilix Solutions designed to protect your team from the ill effects of low temperatures.
Illnesses Related to Cold Weather
There are several illnesses caused by exposure to cold temperatures that you need to help your team proactively prevent.
Cold stress occurs when the skin temperature drops, causing the internal body temperature to decrease. This could lead to serious health problems, tissue damage and possibly death.
Hypothermia, the most common form of cold weather illness, occurs when the body loses heat quicker than it can be replaced, meaning the normal body temperature (98.6°F) drops to less than 95°F. Hypothermia isn’t only a concern when temperatures are below freezing. It can occur at air temperatures above 40°F if a person becomes chilled from sweat, rain or submersion in cold water.
Frostbite is caused by the freezing of the skin and its underlying tissues. The lower the temperature drops, the more quickly frostbite can occur. Frostbite most commonly affects the extremities, specifically the feet and hands. In severe cases, frostbite may require amputation.
Trench foot, also known as immersion foot, is caused by prolonged exposure to wet conditions and cold temperatures. Surprisingly, trench foot can occur at temperatures as high as 60°F if the feet are constantly wet. To prevent heat loss, the body constricts the blood vessels to stop circulation to the feet. This causes the skin tissue to begin to die because of the lack of oxygen and nutrients needed and the buildup of toxic products.
Chilblains are caused by repeated exposure of the skin to temperatures ranging from just above freezing all the way up to 60°F. This exposure to the cold causes damage to the capillary beds in the skin. This damage is permanent and the redness and itching will return with additional exposure to the cold. This typically occurs on ears, cheeks, fingers and toes.
Protective Clothing to Prevent Cold Weather Illnesses
Heated Jackets, Hoodies & Vests
Now that you see the potential ailments brought on by the cold weather, how do you protect yourself and your employees? The main way to protect yourself is by wearing the proper cold weather clothing. We offer a wide range of products in our inventory that will help insulate you from the cold weather and prevent illness.
Milwaukee Tool M12™ Heated TOUGHSHELL™ jackets are designed to protect you from the cold and weather elements on the job site. Powered by M12™ REDLITHIUM™ Battery Technology, these heated work jackets use carbon fiber heating elements to create and distribute heat to the chest, back and shoulders.
A one-touch LED controller heats up the battery heated jacket to three heat settings, creating a comfortable heat for any environment or weather. This MILWAUKEE® heated jacket has a new Quick-Heat function that allows you to feel heat three times faster than our previous jackets and market competitors. Like all of Milwaukee Tool’s products, their jackets are built strong to last long with new hybrid TOUGHSHELL™ Stretch Polyester providing a lightweight, compressible design that can be used as an inner layer or mid-layer jacket and protects you from wind and water penetration. The heated coats are available in black, blue, gray and red color options with sizes ranging from small to 3XL.
MCR Safety Ninja® gloves are engineered to provide the highest level of innovation. Each of the offerings in the Ninja® series include a unique shell and polymer combination incorporating the latest in hand protection technology. The Ninja® Glove Line offers the greatest assortment of dexterity, sense of touch, and protection. The Ninja® Ice N9690 features a 15-gauge black nylon shell with a 7-gauge acrylic terry interior liner and has black HPT coated palm and fingertips. An acrylic terry liner keeps hands warm while HPT repels liquids for wet or dry grip. Looking for the best winter work gloves for dexterity? Look no further than MCR Safety insulated work gloves.
Hats/Protective Head Gear
PIP offers several great cold weather head protection options that are perfect for cold weather work applications such as construction, woodworking, oil drilling, maintenance, refineries and much more.
The PIP 2-Layer Cotton Twill/ Fleece Winter Liner is perfect for under a hard hat or helmet to keep the neck, shoulders and ears warm and protected from the wind.
The PIP Rib Knit Hard Hat Tube Liner is the perfect option to keep the ears and neck warm and protected from the wind. The design stretches to fit snugly over most hard hat styles.
We can also add custom logos to sweatshirts, hats and other cold weather items, and we offer a custom size selection. We will bring samples in various sizes to your team to try on, ensuring each employee is ordering the correct size, saving time on returns.
Interested in learning more about cold weather protection or placing an order? Reach out to your Agilix Solutions Account Manager or your nearest branch to learn more.