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Cold stress a major hazard for outdoor workers

As cold environments lower skin and internal temperatures, they make a person more susceptible to a condition known as cold stress. Cold stress occurs when the body can no longer produce heat to counteract the heat loss, and it leads to serious injuries and even death. Outdoor workers in New Jersey will want to know more about this.

There are three main types of cold stress: hypothermia, frostbite, and trench foot. When the body's temperatures drops to 95 degrees Fahrenheit and below, hypothermia sets in, and the body is no longer able to heat itself. Initial symptoms range from numbness to slurred speech to shallow breathing, and the condition could lead to loss of consciousness and even death.

Frostbite is the freezing of the skin and the tissue beneath it. The skin will initially turn red and then become numb, hard, and discolored. If left untreated, amputation may be necessary. Trench foot is a foot infection caused by exposure to wet, cold, and unsanitary environments. It results in blisters and dead skin tissue cells. To prevent cold stress, employers should ensure plenty of breaks in a warm place. Workers should be properly dressed, trained in recognizing cold stress symptoms, and encouraged to look out for each other in a buddy system.

Most people who are injured on the job have the right to file for workers' compensation benefits. These can include the furnishing of medical care and in some cases the replacement of a percentage of wages lost during the recovery period. Many workers seek the assistance of an attorney when preparing and filing their claims.

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