Our body naturally regulates its temperature depending on the condition of the environment around us. For instance, if it is too cold, our body uses more energy to produce heat and keep the body warm. When it is too hot, the body also perspires to cool us down and prevent us from overheating. Working in cold storage is a lot different than working in a regular workplace. There are so many risks involved when working under subzero temperature and it could affect the health in both the short and long term. Here are the common health risks people are exposed to when they are working in cold storage and other cold environments.
This is a condition when the body temperature decreases significantly and could lead to death. You would notice someone who has a significantly low body temperature when he or she shows signs of aggressive shivering, confusion, slurred speech, and loss of muscle control. Although it is a dangerous condition, this can be prevented by wearing warm and protective clothing while working in cold environments.
Frostbite is a condition that affects the extremities like the fingers, toes, earlobes, and nose. When these parts are exposed for too long in freezing temperatures, the fluids in the tissues freeze which cause irreversible damage to that part. The early signs of this condition are an aching or tingling sensation in the affected part which then turns numb when exposed for too long.
Another health issue that is worsened by cold temperatures is arthritis. When working in cold environments, the blood flow is mostly focused on the core and is restricted to the extremities which can cause pain in the joints especially when a person’s job is lifting or handling heavy loads.
Although asthma is not directly caused by the cold, it gets worse in cold and damp weather conditions making it less advisable for people with asthma to work in cold environments. The air in the freezer is very dry unlike natural air and this could irritate the airways which could then trigger an asthma attack.
How to Prevent Those Health Hazards
If you are working in cold storage, being exposed to freezing temperatures is a normal part of your day. To keep you protected from the health hazards of working in cold temperatures, you should always wear warm and protective gear at all times during your shift. Protective gear includes freezer gloves, safety boots, thick socks, a warm knitted beanie, and a quality mens freezer jacket.
All of these gear help insulate the body and keep the wearer warm inside. Mostly, these items are waterproof to prevent cold water from seeping in and making the wearer feel cold and wet. Be sure that you are in complete protective gear before starting your shift.
Although there are so many risks involved when working in cold storage, it can be avoided when you follow proper health protocols and you wear the right outfit plus protective gear in the workplace.