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The Dangers of Working in Cold Weather

Your danger level increases with each temperature degree drop. You are in far more danger of injury or death when working in 20 below temperatures than right at the freezing level. Extend that cold temperature to 40 below, and you could be in serious peril in a very short time.

There are three main cold-weather injuries that workers can suffer. They range from mild to severe and result from combinations of factors. According to OSHA’s guide to cold stress, workers can experience these effects:

• Immersion or trench foot: This is a non-freezing injury caused by lengthy exposure to cold and wet conditions. Wet feet lose heat 25 times faster than dry feet. Keeping your feet dry is a first step in protecting yourself from the cold.

• Frostbite: This is a freezing injury to tissues and skin. If severe, frostbitten areas may not naturally heal and may need an amputation. Keeping tissues warm is the only defense against frostbite damage.

• Hypothermia: This is a serious and life-threatening hazard. Hypothermia is a body-reaction state to an internal temperature falling below 95 degrees Fahrenheit. The only effective hypothermia treatment is to get the victim into a warm place and raise their core temperature to normal.

Trench foot, frostbite and hypothermia are dangerous forms of cold stress. Each condition can have a long-lasting effect on you or your workers.

For a safe and healthy workplace where you’re exposed to extreme cold, there are some simple steps you can do to prevent cold stress injuries.


Without question, the most effective way to prevent cold stress injuries is to remove the threat. Without cold temperatures, there is no risk. Unfortunately, completely removing the threat may not be optional if your livelihood involves working in extreme cold. If so, you have to protect yourself and others from suffering heat loss.

When you’re making a plan to safely work in extreme cold, always consider the physics behind heat loss. Heat always moves to cold. If you can’t raise the ambient temperature, then you have to block body heat from escaping to avoid cold stress. Here are your best ways of preventing cold stress from happening:

• Keep your body’s core temperature normal through food and hydration.

• Insulate your body with proper clothing layers.

• Keep yourself dry at all times.

• Take rest periods but keep slightly moving.

• Use PPE designed for cold-weather operation.

• Devise a break to stop moving air and prevent wind chill.

• Keep an emergency heat source close by.

• Reduce your exposed working time as much as possible.

• Don’t work alone if you can “buddy” with someone.

• Educate yourself on cold stress and prevention measures.

• Make sure your working equipment is in top shape and failsafe.

Making sure your outdoor working equipment is dependable and won’t break down under the harshest conditions is a smart way to mitigate cold stress. Many workers suffer cold-related injury because their equipment failed. The equipment couldn’t run to provide a heat source, and workers were forced to fix it in extreme cold.


Contact Foley Power Solutions today and we’ll help you with your jobsite heating needs. We rent a number of different heaters sourced from a variety of brands. We also rent power generators that start in the coldest of times and produce life-saving heat.

Contact us today at (888) 288-2295 for all your heating solutions!