When winter comes calling, outdoor workers in the Madison region of Indiana face increased weather-related injury risks. Unfortunately, many employees underestimate the dangers associated with outside cold weather jobs. As such, workers may fail to protect themselves from these hazards, which can lead to serious injury or illness.
While workers’ compensation is there to provide employees with medical and financial relief, it is always better to prevent injuries from occurring. The first path to proper prevention is understanding the dangers of working outdoors in the winter. They include:
- Hypothermia: Potentially quite serious, hypothermia is insidious because most workers are not aware that they are in danger until it is too late. Without a fast response, victims with an abnormally low body temperature can lose consciousness or even die.
- Trench foot: This condition can occur when feet are immersed in water during cold weather conditions. The human body attempts to protect itself by cutting off oxygen to the feet. However, the lack of oxygen can lead to permanent damage.
- Frostbite: When the temperature dips below 32 °F, skin can freeze rapidly, often leading to permanent tissue damage. In severe frostbite cases, amputation of the affected areas (fingers, toes, limbs, etc.) may be necessary.
- Chilblains: Like other cold-weather injuries, chilblains can cause permanent damage. The condition arises after repeated exposure to cold temperatures. Although it is not usually a dangerous condition, it can cause discomfort and often reoccurs.
Now that you understand a little more about cold-weather injuries, you can protect yourself better. If you do develop a weather-related injury or illness, you have the right to file a worker’s compensation claim. In many situations, legal guidance can ensure you receive the benefits you deserve in the wake of a work injury. Contact a law professional for more information.