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Understanding workers' risks in cold weather

For many months each year, the state of Illinois becomes extremely cold. While some individuals love the cold -- and the recreational opportunities that winter provides -- the cold can present certain dangers to employees who work in natural conditions. For example, construction workers who work outside can be exposed to dangerously cold conditions in certain cases. Illinois employees need to recognize the dangers that cold can present and recognize when precautions need to be taken.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, cold weather can cause a variety of serious injuries. These include trench foot, frostbite, hypothermia and death. Depending on the situation, individuals can suffer these injuries in a very short amount of time. Therefore, Illinois workers need to understand the risks of working in cold weather. They also need to act quickly to prevent serious injuries should the weather become too cold.

OSHA claims there are many steps that can be taken to prevent cold stress related injuries. First, employees should be trained to recognize the symptoms of cold related injuries and unsafe working conditions. It is the employers' responsibility to train individuals to recognize when cold weather is affecting their health.

It is also an employer's responsibility to prevent these types of injuries by providing a safe environment. Environmental controls, such as heaters, can be in place in certain environments. Additionally, employers may be responsible for providing warm areas for employees or other ways for employees to avoid cold stress.

Employees, on the other hand, should dress appropriately for the job. OSHA recommends many layers in order to keep an individual safe.

Employers throughout Illinois are responsible for keeping employees safe from workplace hazards. Whether the dangerous working condition is the cold or some other hazard, employees need to take steps to keep people safe. When these steps fail and individuals are injured on the job, workers' compensation may be available to help injured employees. This compensation can help people pay for expenses related to a workplace accident.

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