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Outdoor workers face health concerns during the colder months

Working outdoors in Georgia can be difficult no matter what the weather is like, but during the colder months, outdoor workers face potentially life-threatening conditions. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, released studies that show exposed skin, even with no wind present, can actually freeze within one minute in -20°F temperatures. As wind speeds pick up, this threshold lessens considerably.

Exposure to moisture is also of great concern to outdoor workers. These individuals may experience health conditions like trench foot when exposed to continual moisture in temperatures as high as 60°F. As a result, workers in the cold may be facing much harsher consequences with prolonged exposure to moisture, such as slush, freezing rain or snow. Of course, moisture can also lead to dangerous slips and falls and motor vehicle accidents.

Experts recommend dressing in layers of clothing made from breathable fabric. This allows outdoor workers to easily adjust clothing if temperature or weather conditions change. Breathable layers also reduce perspiration and allow for heat transfer through the layers.

Leather boots lined with felt are also a good choice to keep moisture out and to keep heat in. Outdoor work boots should also have quality rubber soles to repel moisture and increase traction. Finally, head coverings should be employed, and these need to cover the ears and potentially the face.

Workers should understand their rights to safe working conditions. If an employer fails to provide such conditions, and an employee is injured, the employee may have certain legal rights. An experienced workers' compensation attorney may be able to review all of the specifics with an injured worker, provide details regarding compensation and offer representation if litigation of the case is necessary.

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