It’s no surprise that workers who are involved in the industrial refrigeration industry may be subject to harsh and extreme conditions due to the nature of the work they are in. They may install industrial chiller systems in corrosive environments or be exposed to extreme cold. However, workers who are exposed to extreme cold or work in cold environments may be at risk of cold stress.
Cold stress occurs by driving down the skin temperature and eventually, the body temperature. When the body is unable to warm itself, serious cold-related illnesses and injuries may occur. Below are some examples of occupational illnesses and injuries as well as some tips in ensuring worker health and safety as advised by the CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety.
Hypothermia occurs when the body uses up its stored energy and can no longer produce heat. This often occurs after prolonged exposure to cold temperature
|Early Symptoms||Late Symptoms||First Aid|
|Shivering||No shivering||Request immediate medical assistance|
|Fatigue||Blue skin||Move the victim into a warm room or shelter|
|Loss of Coordination||Dilated pupils||Remove wet clothing|
|Confusion and disorientation||Slowed pulse and breathing||Warm the center of their body first (check, neck, head and groin) using an electric blanket or use skin-to-skin contact under loose, dry layers of blankets, clothing, or towels|
|Loss of consciousness||If conscious, warm beverages may help increase the body temperature. Do not give alcohol.|
|Once the temperature has increased, keep them dry and wrapped in a warm blanket, including the head and neck.|
|If no pulse, begin CPR.|
Frostbites are injuries to the body that are caused by freezing, which most often affect the nose, fingers, cheek, chin or toes.
|Reduced blood flow to hands and feet||Get into a warm room as soon as possible|
|Numbness||Unless necessary, do not walk on frostbitten feet or toes|
|Aching||Immerse the affected area in warm (not hot) water or warm the affected area using body heat. Do not use a heating pad, fireplace, or radiator for warming.|
|Tingling or stinging||Do not massage the frostbitten area; doing so may cause more damage.|
|Bluish or pale, waxy skin|
Trench Foot is the injury of the feet resulting from prolonged exposure to wet and cold conditions that can occur at temperatures as high as 60°F if the feet are constantly wet.
|Reddening of the skin||Remove shoes or boots and wet socks|
|Numbness||Dry your feet|
|Leg cramps||Avoid walking on feet, as this may cause tissue damage.|
|Blisters or ulcers|
|Bleeding under the skin|
|Gangrene (foot turning dark purple, blue or gray)|
Chilblains are ulcers formed by damaged small blood vessels in the skin, caused by the repeated exposure of skin to temperatures just above freezing to as high as 60°F.
|Itching||Slowly warm the skin|
|Possible blistering||Use corticosteroid creams to relieve itching and swelling|
|Inflammation||Keep blisters and ulcers clean and covered|
|Possible ulceration in severe cases|
Cold weather safety is very important to preserve, especially for those workers who are constantly exposed to extremely cold temperatures. Here are some ways you can protect yourself from harsh conditions.
At Berg, the safety of our customers and employees is our number one priority. We are dedicated to serve you anytime and anywhere in the world. We have dedicated Sales and Service offices in Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia who can help you with all your cooling needs.
Berg Industrial Service is a certified contractor that operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with continual, around the clock access to our well stocked inventory. We have Sales and Service divisions situated from coast to coast across Canada. Our team of highly trained service technicians are ready to serve you anywhere our fleet of vehicles can drive or a plane can fly. This ensures not only fast and constant response to customer requirements, but also a well-equipped response – a Berg exclusive in the industry.
Contact Berg Industrial Service today to learn more about how we can help you with your cooling needs