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Construction Workers At Risk For Injuries During Cold Weather

Philadelphia Construction Accident Lawyers

Cold Weather Increases Risk Of Injuries For Philadelphia Construction Workers

Threat to workers’ safety shouldn’t be underestimated

To say that construction work is dangerous is putting it mildly. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) data indicates approximately 20 percent of all workplace deaths in 2014 involved construction workers. Falls, electrocution, being hit by something or getting “caught between” unspecified objects were the leading causes of fatalities for construction workers that year

Because they usually work outdoors, construction workers in the Philadelphia area are also at risk of dying or being seriously hurt in extreme weather. And while spring and summer hazards probably come to mind right now, it’s never too soon to start thinking about the cold.

On construction jobs, exposure to freezing temperatures, harsh wind and damp conditions can result in a number of different injuries. These include immersion or trench foot, frostbite, and hypothermia.

Also known as immersion, trench foot is an injury that occurs when your feet get too wet or cold. Symptoms include red skin, pain, swelling, numbness, tingling, blisters, and leg cramps.

Frostbite is the term used to describe the injuries that happen when the skin and underlying tissue freezes. Some of the common signs are red skin with gray and white spots on extremities or other exposed areas, tingling, discomfort, blistering, lack of sensation and hardening of the affected area.

Hypothermia occurs when direct and prolonged exposure to cold temperatures or water causes a significant drop in core body temperature. This is manifested when someone can’t stop shivering, is uncoordinated, confused or has trouble breathing.

Luckily, exercising some common sense and taking some simple precautions can reduce the chances of construction workers sustaining these and other cold weather injuries. One way to limit these injuries is to dress appropriately for conditions. OSHA also recommends taking indoor breaks in order to warm up, working in pairs, eating warm foods with a lot of calories and drinking warm liquids that do not contain caffeine.

Federal law also mandates that employers do certain things in order to try to keep workers safe. For foremen and other supervisors on construction sites, this means training workers to recognize the signs and symptoms of cold-induced injuries, and teaching them what to do when these injuries occur. Whenever possible, work should be scheduled for the warmest part of the day. Supervisors should also keep an eye on workers to see how they’re coping with the conditions, and make sure they have access to portable heaters or similar devices.

McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC:  Experienced Philadelphia Construction Accident Lawyers

Even with the best safeguards in place, cold-weather accidents and injuries are still common. If you are a construction worker who was hurt on the job this winter, contact an experienced Philadelphia construction accident lawyer at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC. You can schedule a free consultation online, or call us at 215-569-8488 or 302-888-1221.