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How to work on a construction site in cold weather

The winter months in Rhode Island have the potential to bring extremely cold weather to the area, thus making it a challenge to maintain your safety.

As someone who works outdoors all year long, such as on construction sites, it's critical to adjust your approach to your job during the winter season. Neglecting to do so puts you at risk of many cold-related illnesses, ranging from hypothermia to frostbite.

Here are some of the many steps you can take to enhance your safety when working on a construction site in cold weather:

  • Dress appropriately: With several layers of loose fitting clothing, you're able to improve blood circulation, which helps keep you warm. Also, if you become too warm during the day, such as when the sun comes out, you can simply take off layers until you're comfortable.
  • Protect your skin: More specifically, your face, hands, feet and ears are typically the first to be affected by cold temperatures. From waterproof boots to a hat, there are ways to limit exposure to the elements.
  • Take regular breaks: For example, head for a warm and dry shelter every hour or every other hour. This gives your body time to warm up. Adding to this, attempt to do your work during the warmest times of the day, which is typically the daylight hours.
  • Stay well rested: When you're tired, you don't have the energy you need to keep your muscles warm. Subsequently, you're more prone to suffering from a cold-related illness.
  • It's better to be safe than sorry: If you notice symptoms of frostbite or hypothermia, stop what you are doing and get inside. And if necessary, call for medical help.

If you're concerned about working outdoors in extreme conditions, talk to your supervisor about your options.

In the event that you suffer a cold-related illness that requires medical attention, work with your doctor to better understand what you should and shouldn't do in the future. For example, they may suggest that you take an extended period away from work, thus giving your body time to recover.

If you're unable to return to work after a cold-related illness or injury, learn more about your legal rights to file a personal injury claim. You may be able to seek compensation through the legal system depending on the circumstances of your accident.

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