Working in Winter Conditions
Many Northlanders face the cold everyday, are you doing what you can to avoid frostbite?
DULUTH, Minn.– This winter has been extremely cold so far in the Northland. While some are bundling up avoiding the outdoors others braving chilly temperatures at work.
“It’s a battle but we’ve been through it before,” Krause Anderson Construction Mark Burdick said.
Many workers around the Northland clock in, spending their workday outside in freezing temperatures. One construction worker told us the below zero conditions, are not only hard on the workers but equipment and materials as well.
“It’s rough the last week and a half, and the continuing week obviously makes things difficult with the wind chills being -40 to -50 below,” Burdick said.
Some crew members we spoke with said the trick is to always stay moving when out in the cold.
“You get use to it after the first stop or two, your body gets use to it,” beer distributor Matt Erickson said.
Before clocking in workers make it a priority to bundle up.
Erickson makes 15 to 20 stops a day, dropping off beverage orders to restaurants around the Duluth area.
“You know its cold when you go into the establishments and the coolers feel warm compared to outside,” Erickson said.
To stay safe and warm workers said they try to take frequent trips inside. Although workers are use to working in chilly conditions; with days like we saw last week dropping to -45, crews are called off to avoid frostbite.
Nurses at the burn ICU say you should avoid outdoor activities in less than -5 weather. Things such as caffeine, alcohol, and drugs can put you at a much higher risk of frostbite.
“If you have sustained redness, you go inside and your extremities are not warming up,” Burn ICU Head Assistant Nurse Jessie Blaylock said. “They still remain cold, painful, numb, or tingling. At that point you want to be seen.”
Nurses say Northlanders should be careful in this cold of weather. Within an hour of exposure your hands, ears, and face can be frostbitten.
“Like I’m standing here with all this fine hardware on,” Burdick said. “You do what you can to protect yourself.”