Cold Stress | Shepley Wood Products
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Cold Stress

It is that time of year again, weather can often be unpredictable and extreme. Freezing temperatures can create serious health problems, collectively called cold stress.

Cold Stress Factors
  • Freezing or near-freezing weather
  • Strong winds
  • Being wet
  • Working for long periods in extreme cold
  • Working in poorly-insulated or poorly-heated areas
  • Being unaccustomed to freezing weather
Preventive Measures
  • Monitor yourself and your coworkers for signs of cold stress.
  • Wear appropriate clothing, such as waterproofed and insulated boots, hats, and multiple layers of loose clothing. Particularly protect all extremities.
  • Always carry cold weather gear, such as extra socks, gloves, hats, jackets, blankets, water, food, and a thermos of hot liquid.
  • Carry a change of clothes and use them if clothes get wet.
  • Limit the amount of time spent in cold, wet environments. Move into warm, dry locations during breaks.
  • Do not touch cold metal surfaces with bare skin.
Cold Stress Conditions


Description: A medical emergency in which the body cannot warm itself

Causes: Lengthy exposure to freezing weather

Symptoms: Shivering at the onset or not later, fatigue, confusion, disorientation, blue skin, dilated pupils, slowed pulse and breathing, or loss of consciousness

First aid: Remove wet clothes, keep the victim warm and dry with blankets, and give the victim warm drinks (if conscious). Monitor consciousness, and get medical help.


Description: Damage to body tissue, mostly in the extremities

Causes: Lengthy exposure to freezing weather

Symptoms: Skin that is aching, tingling, stinging, bluish, pale, or waxy

First aid: Immerse the skin in warm but not hot water or, if that is not possible, warm very gently with body heat, without rubbing or pressure. Get medical help.

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