Friday, September 24, 2021

Common Construction Site Hazards Under Winter Conditions.

September 14, 2021 by  
Filed under Business, Health, Opinion, Weekly Columns

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( Two things are happening simultaneously in the U.S. that could result in more jobsite injuries than we’ve seen since March of 2020. First, the COVID-19 pandemic seems to be winding down. Second, Pandemic Unemployment Benefits have run out. What both these things mean is more and more people will be returning to the jobsite. That includes the construction jobsite.

With the summer season now history and winter quickly approaching, many construction workers will find themselves working under slippery if not hazardous conditions where injuries such as those caused by a slip and fall accident, are an ever-present danger. If you should happen to be the victim of a slip and fall on a construction site, you should seek out a reputable personal injury attorney who can file a legal claim for compensation on behalf of time missed at work.

In the meantime, you need to heal your wounds and find relief from the persistent pain that can come with something like a slip and fall injury such as damage to the neck and/or lower back. Says the professionals at County Line Chiropractic, an accident injury clinic in Lauderhill, resident doctors can assist you in recovering from all sorts of injuries including nerve damage, whiplash, plus upper and lower back pain.

Whether injured on a construction job site or an auto accident, you should begin your treatment immediately by taking advantage of accurate diagnosing tools such as advanced imaging. A customized care plan will be engineered to relieve your chronic pain no matter what your injury.

But what can you do to avoid all sorts of accidents and injuries on a winter construction site in the first place? According to a recent report, of all the industries that fall within the Occupational Safety and Hazard Authority (OSHA), the commercial and residential construction industries are two of the most hazardous for workers. Hazards employees face everyday include trips, slips, falls, struck-by machinery incidents, injuries to the head, face, hands, and feet, not to mention the many obstacles a worker must deal with depending upon the weather.

Construction workers must deal with all kinds of extreme weather events, including extreme cold in the winter and extreme heat in the summer. In the latter, workers can subjected to 100 degree Fahrenheit temps that can cause heat exhaustion and even heat stroke which can turn out to be fatal.

Construction Site Hazards

But what kind of specific dangers does a construction worker face in the winter? Here’s just a few.

Cold-related Construction Site Injuries and Illnesses

Persistent exposure to cold can range from mild discomfort to a dangerous situation that can be fatal. Workers who must work in extreme cold day in and day out face injuries such as trench foot, hypothermia, frostbite, and chilblains.

Chilblain Injury

Construction workers exposed to non-freezing temperatures that are nonetheless cold, are at risk of contracting chilblains. Simply put, chilblains are a painful inflammation of the small blood vessels which can become permanently damaged which results in itching and redness.

Trench Foot Injury?

If your feet are not appropriately protected from cold and wet conditions, they can suffer from the same injury many soldiers faced in the winter trenches of World War I—trench foot. Trench foot occurs since cold and wet feet naturally lose their heat faster than dry feet. The body attempts to compensate by preventing further heat loss by constricting the blood vessels. That’s when the skin starts to die.

Trench foot is nothing to mess around with. It can lead to gangrene, which comes about when the flesh on your feet turn purple, gray, and blue. If the gangrene is serious enough, it can lead to amputation.

Frostbite Injury?

If skin and flesh are exposed to freezing construction site temperatures for a prolonged amount of time, frostbite can occur. Frostbite can result in loss of feeling in areas that are affected. The skin also changes color. It can also cause permanent tissue damage and like trench foot, can result in amputation.

If you sense you are developing frostbite, try and avoid rubbing and/or placing pressure on affected areas since this will cause more damage to the tissue. What you need to do is get out of the cold as quickly as possible.

Hypothermia Injury?

Constant exposure to a cold construction site, even if the temperatures are not below freezing, can make it hard for your body to regulate its own warmth. Exposure to cold for a prolonged amount of time causes body temperature to drop to dangerous levels leading to hypothermia.

Hypothermia not only affects the body’s ability to function properly, it can seriously “impact brain function.” This is extremely dangerous since a worker might not properly recognize his or her symptoms until it’s already too late to do anything about them.

Staff Writer; Peter Jackson

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