Safety Tip of the Week – Working in Cold Environments: Preventing Cold Stress

Prolonged exposure to cold and/or freezing temperatures while on the job may cause serious health problems such as trench foot, frostbite, and hypothermia. In extreme cases, exposure to cold temperatures can lead to death.

Important Tips to Prevent Cold Stress:

  • Wear proper clothing for cold, wet, and windy conditions;
  • Take frequent, short breaks in warm, dry shelters;
  • Schedule work for the warmest part of the day;
  • Avoid exhaustion or fatigue;
  • Keep extra clothing handy in case clothes get wet;
  • Drink warm, sweet beverages and avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol;
  • Eat warm, high-calorie foods;
  • Use the buddy-system – work in pairs so that one worker can recognize the danger signs; and
  • Stay dry in the cold because moisture or dampness, even from sweating, can increase the rate of heat loss from the body.


Dressing properly is extremely important to preventing cold stress. Wear at least three layers of loose-fitting clothing. Layers provide better insulation.

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