Ironworkers News Archive

2018  |  2019

Extreme weather brings host of dangers - (2/12/2019)

When you think of dangers on a job site, the temperature isn’t typically high on the list, but frigid temperatures can lead to serious injury. To stay on schedule, construction sites will remain open through most weather conditions, meaning Ironworkers will continue to work outside and high up even when temperatures dip. Being prepared for all Mother Nature has to offer, along with knowing the signs of weather-related illnesses, are vital to maintaining a safe, Countdown to Zero job site.

When temperatures hover frigidly low, our Ironworker Brothers and Sisters are trained to spot illness due to working in the elements. According to the CDC, the following are the three main cold weather issues:

Frostbite tends to occur at one’s extremities, and it is the beginning sign of serious, prolonged exposure to the elements. When a body sustains cold temperature, it begins to go into survival mode by conserving energy and reducing the flow of oxygen to the fingers and toes. This conservation keeps as much heat at the body core. Frostbite leads to numbness and can result in amputation if lack of sufficient blood flow isn’t re-established.

Hypothermia sets in when the body loses more heat than it can reproduce. Essentially, the core body temperature begins to dip down to about 95 degrees Fahrenheit. At this point, people will be shivering, become disoriented, confused, and very tired. If early symptoms are addressed, a person with hypothermia will eventually take on a blueish tint to their skin, dilated pupils, stop shivering and lose consciousness. Warming the body is critical otherwise death is a possibility.

Trench Foot
Trench Foot, or Immersion Foot, is when a person’s feet are exposed to prolonged wetness or extreme cold. Freezing temperatures are not the only time Trench Foot has occurred, people have experienced this issue in weather as high as 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The body can lose up to 25% of its warmth through the feet, so keeping your feet warm and dry is the number one fight against this ailment. When Trench Foot sets, the feet become numb and skin starts to deteriorate which leads to blisters, cracking/bleeding and could eventually become gangrene. It is imperative to clean and dry the feet, keeping them warm and elevated.

All three of these cold producing illnesses can be prevented with proper layering, knowing the signs and listening to the body. When on a job site, Ironworkers come prepared for the work needed to be done and dressed for the sustained work in the elements. Additionally, our training includes understanding the signs related to weather illness to ensure the health and safety of the crew are maintained.

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