The Nitty Gritty

The official Team UMA Blog

11 Winter Safety Tips to Prevent Cold Stress

winter construction safetyIn the winter months, the threat of cold stress is especially relevant to workers in the construction field. Prolonged exposure to low temperatures leave workers vulnerable to hypothermia, immersion hypothermia, frostbite, chilblains, and trench foot. These weather related illnesses could lead to brain damage or even death.

It’s highly unlikely that the mild temperatures that the Mid-Atlantic region is currently experiencing will last. When temperature do drop back down make sure your crew is prepared.

The following is a list of 11 tips to prevent incidents of cold-weather illnesses for workers directly from the Occupation Safety and Health Administration:


  1. Recognize the environmental and workplace conditions that may be dangerous.
  2. Learn the signs and symptoms of cold-induced illnesses and injuries and what to do to help workers.
  3. Train workers about cold-induced illnesses and injuries.
  4. Encourage workers to wear proper clothing for cold, wet and windy conditions, including layers that can be adjusted to changing conditions.
  5. Be sure workers in extreme conditions take a frequent short break in warm dry shelters to allow their bodies to warm up.
  6. Try to schedule work for the warmest part of the day.
  7. Avoid exhaustion or fatigue because energy is needed to keep muscles warm.
  8. Use the buddy system – work in pairs so that one worker can recognize danger signs.
  9. Drink warm, sweet beverages (sugar water, sports-type drinks) and avoid drinks with caffeine (coffee, tea, sodas or hot chocolate) or alcohol.
  10. Eat warm, high-calorie foods such as hot pasta dishes.
  11. Remember, workers face increased risks when they take certain medications, are in poor physical condition or suffer from illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension or cardiovascular disease.

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