A TV station in Colorado recently talked to some outdoor workers about the risk of working in sub-freezing temperatures. Now, one of its own reporters can recount his own work-related bout of frostbite.
Colorado Springs ABC affiliate KRDO talked to a sign installer and a sanitation worker about outdoor work in frigid temperatures. Not a bad representation of the types of workers who are susceptible to Mother Nature’s winter fury.
Think, for a second, about other types of outdoor workers who face this hazard. Police officers. Utility line workers. Oil delivery people.
Oh, yeah, and TV reporters who stand outside in the freezing cold to make sure you know … it’s freezing cold outside.
And the risks have only increased due to a TV news phenomenon known as “one-man bands,” or “digital reporters.”
No longer is the reporter always accompanied by a video photographer. With the arrival of smaller cameras, many TV stations now send their reporters out by themselves. It’s up to them to set up their own tripods and equipment without anyone else’s help and also report their story.
According to a story on mediabistro.com, on January 3, KRDO reporter Eric Fink told producers at the station he was having trouble setting up his equipment for a late news liveshot. He couldn’t resolve the issue without taking his gloves off, but he was concerned about exposing his hands to the cold.
Temperatures that day had stayed below freezing, and the low that night was 11°.
Fink suffered “severe frostbite” on his hands, according to online reports. He’s been hospitalized for it (the link above includes a photo of the reporter in a hospital bed, including a close-up of his frost-bitten hand).
The good news: He’s expected to recover. No fingers lost.
The not-so-good news: A source told mediabistro that reporters had recently criticized the station over a lack of safety training regarding extreme weather.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have a comprehensive webpage to help protect employees from cold stress.