Advisory: Working in extreme cold
January 11, 2022
With this current cold spell, we’re reminding employers and workers to take extra care when working outdoors.
Working in extreme temperatures can pose significant risks. Ideally we want to minimize those risks. If you’re able, try changing your schedule to perform indoor tasks, rather than outdoor jobs.
If you must work outdoors, WorkSafeNB offers these tips:
- Take it slowly. Your work pace should not cause heavy sweating that will result in wet clothing. Layers of clothing should be removed or added in accordance with your body temperature.
- Listen to your body. Learn to recognize the warning signs of hypothermia: severe shivering, pain in extremities, and reduced mental capacity.
- When possible, choose mittens over gloves as they retain heat better. Be sure to choose mittens or gloves that are snug-fitting so they won’t get caught in machinery.
- Dress in layers. The first layer should be snug-fitting and allows sweat to escape. The second layer should be loose and warm, and the third layer should be windproof and waterproof.
- Ensure protecting yourself from the cold should not interfere with the use of your personal protective equipment.
It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure employees are properly attired and supervised when working under extreme cold conditions. This includes ensuring proper clothing and frequent measurement of temperature (with wind factor).
Learn more: Heat and cold stress.
Download the WorkSafeNB OHS Guide to Legislation to help keep you and your employees safe!