Colorado outdoor workers face bitter cold dangers during the winter season

Posted at 9:51 PM, Dec 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-09 01:03:52-05

DENVER -- Colorado is seeing bitter cold weather this week -- and when it’s this cold, people like to stay inside where it’s warm.

But some people must go out because they work outside in the harsh conditions.

“When the snow hits we get busy. We get extremely busy,” said 24/7 Towing owner Michael Clohessy.

The bitter cold is great for his business because more car batteries die and tires pop from a drastic change in pressure, but that also means he has to be out in the cold.

“A lot of people don’t understand that, especially with recoveries and stuff, it’s not so much getting their cars out of the ditches. We’ve got to go through the same conditions they went through to get their car into the ditch,” said Clohessy.

Jobs out in the cold can create cold stress.

Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say exposure is not only uncomfortable but can cause hypothermia, chilblains, and even trench foot.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) officials say thousands of outdoor workers get hurt or sick every year because of extreme weather, and that’s why healthcare providers like UCHealth are passing out pamphlets trying to get the word out about things like frostbite.

It takes just takes a few minutes for ice crystals to form on your skin leading to frostbite.

Some of those warning signs include: numbness, pale color, or pain.

Clohessy told Denver7 the key to fighting frostbite is layering and taking frequent breaks from the cold.

“The biggest thing for us is our fingers and our face because our faces are open for the most part because we need to be seeing everyone else on the road. My toes are a big thing for me. My toes just freeze,” said Clohessy.

Clohessy said his biggest fear isn’t the weather but other drivers not paying attention in the harsh conditions.

He’s pleading with you to get over if you see a tow truck working because it could save his life.



Cold weather survival guide: Protecting your home, car, pets, self from freezing temperatures


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