|Cold weather can bring added challenges to keeping
safe. At Fort McCoy, installation safety personnel said some of the
seasonal issues members of the work force encounter are slips and falls,
parking lot accidents and, for people who train or work outside,
increased exposure to inclement weather.
Spc. Rico Quintero uses a gaitor
— Army-issued cold- weather-gear — to cover his mouth and ears
to keep the frigid weather off of his face. Quintero is with the
391st Engineer Company, an Idaho Army Reserve unit preparing to
deploy in support of Operation New Dawn. (Photo by Tom Michele)
Deb Heise-Clark, a Fort McCoy Installation Safety Office (ISO) safety
specialist, said the top cold-weather hazards civilian members of the
Fort McCoy work force face are slips and falls.
Changing winter conditions can make sidewalks, parking lots and roadways
dangerous for walking or traveling, Heise-Clark said.
“People who walk with their hands in their pockets are at greater risk
of losing their balance and falling than people who wear gloves, and
keep their hands out of their pockets,” she said. “People also should be
careful when getting into and out of vehicles. Keeping your shoulders
parallel to the vehicle will allow you to hold onto the door and retain
your balance if you slip.”
Keeping sidewalks free of snow and ice is key to helping reduce slips
and falls, she said. A sand/salt mix for use is available through the
Directorate of Public Works.
Motorists also should take extra precautions to reduce the risk of
parking-lot accidents. Heise-Clark said many accidents occur in parking
lots because motorists don’t completely clear snow and ice from their
windows and windshields before moving their vehicles.
For a summary of
some of the more common cold-weather maladies, chilblains,
immersion foot/trench foot, frostnip, frostbite, hypothermia,
and dehydration, click here.
Another winter danger is people who park incorrectly because the
lines between the parking stalls are not clearly visible, Heise-Clark
said. This increases the risk they may side-swipe other parked vehicles
or can’t see oncoming vehicles clearly when backing up.
John Christy of the Troop Medical Clinic (TMC) said military personnel
who work or train outdoors face many of the same risks as their civilian
Because of training or work responsibilities, however, Soldiers may be
out in the elements for longer periods so they should dress properly and
maintain proper hydration, he said.
Military leaders should identify warming areas where Soldiers can take a
break from the cold temperatures, as necessary.
All personnel should be knowledgeable about the different types of
cold-weather injuries and how to recognize, prevent and treat/seek
treatment for injuries.
Military personnel who believe they have suffered a cold-weather injury
should see the TMC staff or their personal health provider. For more
information, contact the TMC at 608-388-3025.
Federal civilian employees at Fort McCoy who believe they have suffered
a cold-weather injury should visit the Occupational Health Clinic,
building 1679. For more information, call the clinic at
Fort McCoy civilian contracted employees who suffer cold-weather
injuries should follow their organization’s procedures/protocols to
address care of an injury.