The Dangers of Working in Extreme Cold: How to Prevent Cold Stress


Cold stress refers to any cold-related illness or injury such as hypothermia, frostbite, or chilblains and it occurs by driving down the skin temperature and eventually the internal body temperature. When the body is exposed to extreme cold temperatures for prolonged periods of time, or without adequate protection, serious and dangerous cold-related illness and injuries may occur. As temperatures drop, the risk of cardiovascular health problems increases, as does the risk of death.

A staggering 168,000 cold-related deaths were recorded over the past five years in the UK alone, and the UK also has the second worst ‘winter death rate’ in Europe.

Which Industries Are Most At Risk of Developing Cold Stress?

The most obvious industries at a higher risk of developing cold stress are:

  • Construction
  • Maritime
  • Commercial fishing
  • Security
  • Agriculture

As well as these industries being at risk, if you work in a cold environment such as a warehouse then you also need to be aware of how to protect yourself in lower temperatures particularly during the winter months.

This infographic created by EM Training Solutions features facts and figures regarding the dangers of cold stress, and also presents ways in which outdoor workers can protect themselves against dangerously low temperatures.

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