With extreme cold warnings being a regular occurrence during the winter in Northeast B.C., WorkSafe BC reminds employers and workers to take precautions when working outside.

The agency has accepted 56 claims for injuries related to cold stress between 2016 and 2020, with the most common injury being frostbite.

“Working in cold-weather conditions can lead to serious injuries if you’re not prepared,” says Tom Brocklehurst, Director of OHS Practice and Engineering Support at WorkSafeBC. “Employers need to be aware of the risks to their workers during this cold snap, and ensure measures are in place to keep their workforce safe.”

WorkSafe says employers must provide a cold-stress assessment and implement a plan to protect workers.

To reduce risks from cold weather, the agency suggests considering if the work can be done elsewhere, making physical modifications to facilities, equipment and processes, considering if work practices and work policies can be changed to reduce risk and PPE.

WorkSafeBC adds that it’s important that workers stay hydrated when working in cold weather by drinking plenty of fluids, but to avoid drinking coffee, tea or alcohol.

A number of jobs involve outdoor exposure, including construction workers, utility and maintenance workers, transport truck drivers, recreational instructors, operators and attendants.