One of the most prevalent illnesses or injuries sustained by maritime workers is hypothermia. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the risk of maritime hypothermia is the most significant risk to maritime workers. Maritime workers can experience symptoms hypothermia after prolonged exposure to cold or freezing conditions.
Hypothermia occurs when an individual’s body temperature drops to 95 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. This can be caused by falling into water, prolonged exposure to cold or freezing temperatures, inadequate clothing for temperatures, inability to regularly warm up or change wet clothes, or prolonged exposure to cold air or wind. Risk of maritime hypothermia can occur in water as warm as 80 degrees.
Symptoms of Hypothermia
Hypothermia can shows symptoms from mild, moderate, to severe :
- Mild hypothermia symptoms can include dizziness, shivering, confusion, trouble speaking, increased breathing and heart rate, fatigue and lack of coordination.
- Moderate to severe symptoms of hypothermia may include shivering that eventually stops, slurred speech, confusion and disorientation, drowsiness, weak pulse, shallow breathing, loss of consciousness.
Maritime Hypothermia Injuries
If hypothermia is not properly treated, it can result in severe injuries including frostbite, organ failure, and death. In the maritime industry, employers are required to provide adequate safety and security measures for employees. Any maritime worker believing that he or she has experienced hypothermia due to the negligence of an employer should contact a maritime lawyer immediately. These individuals have rights that deserve protecting. Contact us to learn or follow this link to learn about offshore injury lawyers.