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Working safely in the cold

California residents who have jobs that require them to be outside for the majority or all of the time should know what to do to prevent illnesses or injuries when the weather turns cold during the winter. Limiting exposure to the cold by taking a 15-minute break in a warm area for every hour of work is one rule workers should follow. Being properly dressed is another.

The presence of wind and any amount of moisture on the skin can result in heat leaving the body. Workers should wear breathable layers of clothes that are loose enough that they do not cut off circulation or hinder movement. Wearing clothes in layers also allow workers to remove clothing if they are too warm or if there is a change in the weather.

Layered clothing may can provide sufficient insulation against low temperatures because the warm air that is trapped between the layers of clothes is warmed by the body. Perspiration can be prevented from accumulating on the skin and removing body heat if the clothing is made of breathable fabric.

Safety experts also recommend wearing items like hoods, hats or liners underneath work helmets to reduce the amount of heat that can escape from the head. Knit caps that provide coverage for the ears or a portion of the face may keep workers warmer than ball caps.

Workers should take steps to keep their feet sufficiently warm as well. This entails wearing waterproof boots that have insulation and are able to provide sufficient traction.

An attorney who practices workers' compensation law may assist workers who fell ill or sustained injuries due to being required to work in freezing weather. The attorney may assist with filing claims for workers' compensation benefits and may litigate to dispute denied claims or insufficient settlement amounts.

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