What is Frostbite?
Frostbite happens when your skin is exposed to freezing temperatures. Frostbite damages areas of your skin and sometimes even damages the tissue underneath. It is treatable, but it can be a very serious condition. HHS says it can take as little as 30 minutes for frostbite to begin to set in. So it is very important to pay attention to the early signs of frostbite.
Different Stages of Frostbite
If you are experiencing redness or sore skin, you are probably entering the first of three stages of frostbite. You can find the different stages and their symptoms listed below.
Early stage - your skin begins to turn a pale yellow, almost white color. During this stage, the exposed area may itch, sting, or even burn.
Intermediate stage - the affected area of skin will begin to harden, and the surface of the damaged area will look shiny or even waxy. When the skin thaws from this stage blisters full of puss or blood will form on the frostbitten area.
Advanced stage - during this stage, the area of skin will be very hard and cold to the touch. The skin will also darken quickly, turning black or blue.
You can treat frostbite at home depending on the stage, if it is severe, it is recommended yoh get it treated at the hospital.
According to the Center of Preparedness and Response, the best way to prevent frostbite is to layer yourself with clothes that allow your body heat to travel. The most common places to get frostbite are the fingers, toes, ears and nose. So don’t skimp on covers such as sock and gloves.
For more information on frostbite and how to treat it, please visit the Hard Hat Training Series!
There are many jobs in many industries that require work on the sea. As of today, there are nearly a million and a half people working as seafarers for various purposes, including fishing, navy, oil rigger, and many others. Though most jobs on the water have their differences, the health of all seafarers is critically important.
A knowledge of first aid is extremely important, regardless of whether you work on a sea vessel or not. However, because seafaring includes additional dangers other industries may not be familiar with, it is important to receive specific training on first aid at sea. Some things you may need to be prepared for are:
Though we may not be able to address every emergency, it is imperative that someone is available and qualified to deal with them. They need to be able to recognize when an accident occurs, what the victim needs, and apply first aid effectively to them.
First aid kits also need to be readily available with the necessary equipment inside. Without sufficiently- stocked supplies, your first aid response could be ineffective. There are two classifications of first aid kits; Class A which are designed for minor injuries, and Class B which cover a wider range of possible injuries for more high-risk environments. You will have Class B first aid kits on a seafaring vessel. Some of the materials inside include:
To familiarize yourself with more of the rules and regulations for seafaring first aid, visit the OSHA website for resources and solutions to maritime dangers.
Likewise, the Hard Hat Training series has many articles and training programs on maritime safety as well as any other topic you may need for your industry!
Good luck and stay safe!
Even if the weather is nice and warm, the water can be cold enough to be dangerous. In fact, any water under 77 degrees should be considered cold water. Cold water carries the body’s heat away 25 times faster than air of the same temperature. When maritime work brings you to the open waters, it is important to know how to be safe when the water is cold.
One Minute - One of the first things that happened when you are immersed in cold water is known as cold shock. This happens within the first minute of immersion and causes you to gasp for breath, your heart to race, and your thinking to be impaired. Water temperatures between 50 and 60 degrees can cause cold shock just as severe as if you were in water that was 35 degrees.
Ten Minutes - After 10 minutes of exposure, you can become incapacitated. Your limbs become unusable because your body is trying to focus on keeping your core warm. Because of this, you can no longer grasp things with your hands, and it becomes nearly impossible to stay upright in the water. Many people drown during this stage of exposure.
One Hour - Within an hour, you can experience hypothermia. Because of the dangers of hypothermia alone, it is imperative that you are wearing the proper clothing to be in or near the water. Wear layers of clothing to help keep your body heat in and wearing a bright outer layer can help you be seen if you fall into the water. Don’t be afraid of wearing many layers. Wet clothes are only heavy outside of the water.
Personal Flotation Devices, or PFDs, are important to have on hand. If you are in the water long enough that you are incapacitated, it will keep you afloat. Make sure you inspect it and that it fits you properly. If you have immersion suits on board, make sure you are trained to use one and know how to don one in an emergency.
When you are alone in open water, floating is your best option. Use the HELP position (also known as Heat Escape Lessening Position) to maintain warmth and stability. This position is essentially hugging yourself, crossing your legs, and raising your knees to your chest. Keep your head out of the water and lean back slightly. Remember, the parts of the body outside the water will stay warmer.
As winter quickly approaches, the water is already getting colder and colder. Take the time to prepare yourself before you go out on the water. For more detailed information, take a look at our OSHA-Compliant Maritime Cold Water Safety Training.
Good luck and stay safe!