Risks And Prevention for the Common Cold at Workplace

Although the common cold is the most widespread disease in the world, it is still incurable. The only thing we can do is alleviate your symptoms.

Occupational exposure to cold environments can cause serious health problems. Do you know how to prevent it? And the risks to which you expose yourself? Today, in Prevenidos, we tell you about it.

Work outdoors, at altitude, inside a room, or in contact with water… These are some of the work environments in which, now that the months of lower temperatures arrive, workers are exposed to cold environments that can cause serious problems for your health. Today in our blog we want to talk to you not only about how to dress to combat the cold, but also about the risks you face and what are the measures to prevent exposure to cold at work.

Effects of exposure to cold at work
According to the Technical Note on cold stress, this link will open in a new window of the National Institute of Safety and Hygiene at Work, from temperatures below 15ºC the sensation of thermal discomfort may begin, and below 5ºC it should consider that the risk is immediate.

But what are the effects of cold exposure at work?

Thermal sensation of cold and pain: when there is an excessive loss of heat in all or part of the body, a sensation of cold, discomfort or even pain can occur.
Work capacity: the drop in temperatures in the work area can cause a decrease in manual dexterity, mental dexterity, and physical capacity.
Health effects: can have respiratory effects (from irritations to bronchospasms), cardiovascular effects and cold injuries (by localized cooling without freezing or with freezing and by general cooling of the body with hypothermia, the most serious of all).
Preventive measures for exposure to cold
There are many factors that influence the reaction to cold of each person such as age, general state of health or morphology. However, there are certain prevention measures, both general and specific, that can be used by all workers.

1. Technical and work organization measures
Although the work is carried out outdoors, it is convenient to have a heated room or shed where you can consume hot drinks. In addition, in interior work installing insulation or automatic mechanisms that reduce the manual workload are two very appropriate measures. On the other hand, it is also advisable to plan outdoor activities considering the weather forecast whenever possible.

2. Personal preventive measures
To reduce the loss of body heat, it is advisable to select the appropriate clothing that also facilitates the evaporation of sweat. In this sense, it should be noted that in certain jobs clothing works as PPE in the prevention of occupational risks.

Other prevention measures are the intake of hot liquids, the reduction of coffee consumption, the substitution of damp clothes, as well as the control of the work rhythm. In addition, the external heat supply is also essential, establishing pauses to warm up in a designated area.

Finally, it is very important before facing cold situations at work that the employees themselves are trained, because it is an essential tool to control both the risks and the measures to be taken.

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