[Back by popular demand from our December 2016 newsletter]
This month the Healthier Workforce Center (HWC) has a special feature for you. We recently had the opportunity to interview a colleague from the Healthiest Workshop at the North Pole; the boss himself, Santa Claus. Over a cup of hot cocoa, we discussed the dangers of working in cold conditions and tips to keep worker elves toasty warm all season long.
HWC: Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule for us. Santa: Anything for the hard-working men & women in the Midwest! HWC: We noticed that you brought winter with you; that Polar Vortex is no joke! How do your elves keep warm when the temps fall? Santa: The secret's in the layers. The inner layer of clothing should transfer moisture away from the skin (e.g., silk, wool, or polypropylene), the middle layer should provide insulation & warmth (e.g., polar fleece/wool), while the outer layer should prevent wind, rain and snow from getting in. Be sure to have an extra set of dry gloves, socks, clothes, and hat available if the weather or natural sweating causes the layers to become damp. The moisture increases the rate of heat loss from the body. HWC: What if the layers aren't enough to keep the elves warm? Santa: Always watch out for signs & symptoms of cold stress! Take time to learn about cold stress. Contrary to popular belief, it's not wise to rub areas affected by frostbite. Misinformation can do more harm than good. More... HWC: Lots of workers in the Midwest travel as a part of their job. How do you prepare your sleigh & reindeer for winter weather? Santa: My elves take care to maintain the health of the reindeer year-round, but I always check the sleigh, review the route, and pack an emergency bag before leaving, just in case. Safe winter driving requires preparation for the trip, protection for yourself, and playing your part to prevent crashes. More... HWC: Thanks again for your time, Santa. Here are some cookies and milk for your trip home. Santa: I'm actually doing a wellness challenge through the Workshop right now, so I'll pass. No worries though; you folks still made the 'Nice List' this year!
The Healthier Workforce Center (UIHWC) is one of six Total Worker Health® Centers of Excellence funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Our mission is to improve the health of workers in Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska and Kansas, as well as nationally, through integrated health promotion and health protection research, collaboration, and dissemination of successful interventions.