The harsh weather conditions in Colorado at this time of the year are threatening to the lives of all workers who have to do their jobs outside. Tow truck operators and their assistants are particularly busy in adverse weather. They are kept out in the cold by cars landing in ditches, dead batteries and burst tires caused by extreme pressure changes — often leaving injured workers.
Employers must keep workers safe from known dangers, and make sure they understand the hazards and know how to protect themselves. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, exposure to extreme cold can lead to hypothermia, frostbite, trench foot and/or chilblains. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says extreme weather exposure causes harm to thousands of workers every year, and in some cases, fatalities occur.
The agency provides clear guidelines and safety regulations related to the protection of employees in cold weather conditions. Ice crystals can form on the skin within minutes, and workers must know the signs that indicate problems. These include pale color, numbness or pain, and workers must take immediate steps to get into warmer areas and warm up the affected body parts.
In extreme circumstances, exposure to cold can cause injuries severe enough to lead to amputations, or worse. Injured workers in Colorado who are suffering the consequences of working out in the cold may seek financial relief through the workers’ compensation insurance program. In some cases, proving that an injury is work-related can be challenging, and it is usually helpful to utilize the skills of a seasoned workers’ compensation attorney to navigate the claims for benefits.
Source: thedenverchannel.com, “Colorado outdoor workers face bitter cold dangers during the winter season“, Adam Hammond, Dec. 8, 2016