ITW Vortec Offers Tips and Protection for Industrial Workers Facing Severe Winter Weather

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Prevent negative health consequences for workers in cold weather conditions with precautions and protective clothing, included the warming action of a new safety vest from Vortec.

Heating & Cooling vest

New heating and cooling vest keeps workers productive

“To help industry face the challenges created by extreme weather conditions, the Dual Action Personal Air Conditioner protects workers from the negative effects of cold temperatures in the winter, as well as hot temperatures in the summer.”

Winter temperatures have already hit historic lows this winter and climate experts predict more bitter cold weather still to come in 2013. Vortec reminds industrial employers that its warmth-delivering Dual Action Personal Air Conditioner (PAC) with safety vest offers an economical and accessible means of protecting employees who must work in harsh weather conditions.

“Midwest and Northeast states have faced sub-zero freezing temperatures this winter with more on the way. Even typically warm parts of the country are coping with unusual winter weather challenges this year,” said Vortec Engineering Manager Steve Broerman. In regions unaccustomed to winter weather, near freezing temperatures can be factors for cold stress. Vortec has drawn on its air technology expertise to help the industry face the challenges created by extreme weather conditions, by creating a Dual Action Personal Air Conditioner which, in a single product, protects workers from the negative effects of cold temperatures in the winter, as well as hot temperatures in the summer.”

Vortec offers these tips to help prevent negative health consequences from working in cold weather conditions:
1.    Be alert for signs of hypothermia. Early indications of hypothermia include shivering, mental confusion, decreased manual dexterity, drowsiness and slurred speech.
2.    Hypothermia may be a risk even at moderate temperatures when workers become chilled due to rain, sweat and complete or partial submersion in cold water.
3.    If someone exhibits symptoms of hypothermia, take their temperature. Seek emergency medical assistance if body temperature is below 95 degrees. Remove wet clothing and provide warmth to chest, neck, head and groin areas. Provide warm, non-caffeinated and non-alcoholic beverages to raise body temperature.
4.    Workers who have high blood pressure and/or cardiac health problems are at greater risk of cold stress. However, the combination of physical exertion and extended cold weather exposure can put a severe strain on the cardiovascular systems of even usually healthy individuals.
5.    The Occupational Health and Safety Division (OSHA) of the US Department of Labor emphasizes that “Protective Clothing is the most important way to avoid cold stress.” OSHA recommends that employees working for extended periods in cold weather conditions wear at least three layers of clothing. Also, up to 40% of body heat can be lost if the head is left uncovered so hats or hoods are important elements in cold weather protection.
6.    Regularly scheduled warming breaks with Vortec Dual Action PACs can prevent hypothermia and reduce other health risks associated with cold weather. The Dual Action PAC vest provides consistent warmth to the entire torso region as well as to the neck and head.

Employers seeking additional information about Vortec’s Dual Action PAC’s can visit the Vortec website or call 1-800-441-7475. For additional information on working in cold weather conditions, visit OSHA at the OSHA website.

About Vortec
Cincinnati-based Vortec is a division of the Fortune 150 firm Illinois Tool Works (ITW). Vortec has been recognized as the market leader in innovator of pneumatic products that use compressed air efficiently to solve cooling, cleaning, and conveying problems for more than 50 years. In the early 1960s, Vortec was first company to develop technology for converting the vortex tube phenomenon into practical and effective, industrial cooling solutions.

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Barbara Stefl
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