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Cold Temperatures Can Be Dangerous for WorkersThe cold weather that is typical of winter in northern Illinois is more than an inconvenience for workers. Prolonged exposure to cold temperatures can cause severe or even fatal damage. In some cases, people will suffer permanent damage that creates a disability. Workers can take precautions to protect themselves against the cold, but employers also have a duty to protect their employees. If you have suffered damage due to being exposed to the cold while working, you can qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.

Cold Stress Injuries

As your body temperature drops when you are continuously cold, your body will work to warm itself. Your body prioritizes keeps your organs warm and functioning, which means that your extremities receive less blood flow and are at greater risk of cold stress conditions such as frostbite and hypothermia. Frostbite is the freezing of the skin and tissue, which can cause neuropathy in or require the amputation of:

  • Fingers
  • Toes
  • Hands
  • Feet
  • Ears
  • Nose

Trenchfoot is a less severe form of frostbite that can cause blistering and an itching or burning sensation. Hypothermia is an extreme drop in body temperature that can be fatal if not treated. The long-term effects of hypothermia can cause stress to the heart, which is particularly serious for people with pre-existing heart conditions.

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