Construction work is often dangerous, but working in winter conditions create a larger variety of safety challenges for construction workers. Two specific conditions that can result from prolonged exposure to cold temperatures at Kansas City construction sites are frostbite and hypothermia.
Frostbite occurs when exposed skin actually freezes.  Frostbite most often affects the nose, ears, chin, cheeks, fingers, and toes – parts of the body that are not covered with protective clothing. Severe frostbite may result in amputation.
Hypothermia is the dangerous lowering of a person's internal body temperature.  In order for hypothermia to occur, temperatures do not have to be below freezing; hypothermia can occur in any cold, wet, windy and conditions. The danger signs of hypothermia include disorientation, slurred speech, drowsiness, uncontrolled shivering, and confused behavior. 
In addition ice increases the likelihood of slip and fall accidents.  While many people think of ice as frozen water on the ground, icy roofs, scaffolds and ladders are a particular danger to Kansas City construction workers.
Just as bridges freeze more quickly than roads, scaffolds, ladders, and other elevated surfaces begin to accumulate ice well before there is ice on ground surfaces. This is because the cold air can circulate around them – just as it does on bridges. So, inspect for ice on cold, wet days. And remember, even early-morning dew or rainfall may turn to ice if the temperature drops.  If there is ice on your equipment or work area, either remove the ice or pause the work until the weather warms.
Dehydration is also a danger in winter.  While supervisors and workers recognize the importance of adequate hydration in hot weather, they may not realize that workers can also become dehydrated because of the warmth of extra clothing. Workers should be sure to get enough to drink whatever the weather.
It is important that construction site supervisors recognize that cold weather conditions may be dangerous and take appropriate steps to protect worker safety.  All workers should be trained to recognize the signs of frostbite, hypothermia and dehydration and how to provide emergency care for these conditions.  It is a good idea for construction workers to work in teams, so workers can monitor each other for cold weather injury and provide help if needed.

Injured In A Kansas City Area Construction Accident?

Have you been injured in a Kansas City area construction accident? If so you need to speak with an experienced construction accident attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our office directly at 816.471.5111 to schedule your free consultation.

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James Roswold
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James Roswold is a Kansas & Missouri personal injury, workers comp, and medical malpractice attorney.