J. J. Keller® Compliance Network Logo
Start Experiencing Compliance Network for Free!
Update to Professional Trial!

Be Part of the Ultimate Safety & Compliance Community

Trending news, knowledge-building content, and more – all personalized to you!

Already have an account?
Thank you for investing in EnvironmentalHazmat related content. Click 'UPGRADE' to continue.
Enjoy your limited-time access to the Compliance Network Professional Trial!
A confirmation welcome email has been sent to your email address from ComplianceNetwork@t.jjkellercompliancenetwork.com. Please check your spam/junk folder if you can't find it in your inbox.
Thank you for your interest in EnvironmentalHazmat related content.
You've reached your limit of free access, if you'd like more info, please contact us at 800-327-6868.
Employee risk
  • The biggest risks employees face from cold are frostbite and hypothermia.
  • Cold risks can be amplified by aspects of employee health such as preexisting conditions, age, and certain medications.

Serious cold-related illnesses and injuries may occur and permanent tissue damage and death may result if employees stay in cold environments for too long. Cold-related illnesses can slowly overcome an employee who has been chilled by low temperatures, brisk winds, or wet clothing. The biggest risks employees face are frostbite and hypothermia. In addition, employee health can increase chances of cold stress while on the job.


Frostbite usually affects the fingers, hands, toes, feet, ears, and nose.

What can happen to the body?

  • Freezing in deep layers of skin and tissue;
  • Pale, waxy-white skin color; and
  • Skin becoming hard and numb.


Hypothermia occurs when the normal body temperature (98.6 degrees F) drops to or below 95 degrees F.

What can happen to the body?

  • Fatigue or drowsiness;
  • Uncontrolled shivering;
  • Cool, bluish skin;
  • Slurred speech;
  • Clumsy movements; and
  • Irritable, irrational, or confused behavior.

The role of employee health

Employees are at an increased risk to cold stress if they:

  • Have predisposing health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and hypertension;
  • Are in poor physical condition, have a poor diet, or are older; or
  • Take certain medications (some medications can negatively affect employees while they work in cold environments).