How to Protect Workers from Cold Stress
Working outdoors in cold weather conditions can be dangerous, particularly for those in construction, agriculture, commercial fishing and maritime roles. Cold stress occurs when the body is unable to keep itself warm, and the internal body temperature reaches a dangerous low.
As outdoor temperatures drop below 5-8°C, the risk of developing cold stress increases and respiratory and cardiovascular health problems can occur. Cold stress includes any cold-related illness or injury such as hypothermia, chilblains, trench foot and frostbite.
Other factors that put you at a higher risk of developing cold stress include:
- Being physically unfit
- Having an underlying health condition or other illness
- Being under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Working in damp/wet conditions
- Working without proper outdoor protective clothing
- Being exposed to vibration from tools
In the UK alone, 168,000 cold-related deaths were recorded over the last five years and the UK also has the second highest ‘winter death’ rate in Europe.
It is crucial that those working in cold environments or outdoors in extreme cold weather take the necessary steps to protect themselves against the dangers of developing cold stress.
Cold Stress Infographic
Following on from our article on protecting outdoor workers in winter, take a look at the infographic below created by EM Training Solutions, for some shocking statistics and further useful tips on how to keep your staff safe in extreme cold conditions.