Hypothermia

The loss of body heat is one of the largest safety hazards to construction workers when working outside at this time of year. The main concern is hypothermia. When your body can no longer generate heat, you have the onset symptom of hypothermia -- meaning that your vital organs and body loses its ability to function. Hypothermia can happen so slowly that it’s hard to recognize that you are in danger; that’s why we are going to layout signs and symptoms to look out for. Hypothermia, left untreated, can lead to death.

 

Signs of Hypothermia

Treating hypothermia in its early stages is the best way to ensure your’s or someone else’s safety. If left untreated, the condition of the affected can worsen and become a more severe form of hypothermia. Stay on alert for signs of hypothermia in yourself and others. The three stages and their symptoms are:

 

Mild hypothermia

• Shivering

• Grogginess, confusion, or abnormal behaviour

• Normal breathing

The onset of hypothermia is often delayed, so keep in mind these early signs.

 

Moderate hypothermia

• Violent shivering, or shivering has stopped completely

• Inability to think

• Slow, shallow breathing, slurred speech, poor coordination

• Slow, weak pulse

 

Severe hypothermia

• Shivering stopped

• Unconsciousness

• Little or no breathing

• Weak, irregular, or non-existent pulse

• Dilated pupils


The best thing to do when working outside in cold conditions is to use the buddy system. Pair with one of you co-workers to ensure that you are both watching out for each other in the case of hypothermia.


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