How to Maintain Safety in Cold Work Environments

Some workplace dangers are evident — companies have to know how to train people on heavy machinery, and how to prevent slip and fall accidents in areas that accommodate hazardous work tasks.

Other safety hazards are more subtle — for instance, as fall wears into winter, or as workers prepare to enter refrigerated or frozen environments, companies have to look at how low temperatures affect job safety.

Cold can affect workplace safety in many ways — lower temperatures can cause a loss of dexterity in the fingers and joints. In extreme cases, frostbite or hypothermia can set in. Cold can stress a person’s body in a number of ways.

So how do companies deal with the specific safety issues raised by cold environments?

Additional Training

As with so many different kinds of job hazards, training can be a truly effective solution.

Companies can identify the biggest hazards involving their work processes, and train all workers on these specific concerns. Just providing information about how cold can stress the human body will remind people what they’re up against so that they can use adequate caution and take necessary precautions at work. These types of training can help avoid workplace accidents and lower insurance rates while protecting the company from significant liability.

Scheduling Specific Work Tasks

If there are specific jobs that expose people to extreme cold, those can be scheduled in specific time intervals to help eliminate risks of frostbite or other extreme injuries. For example, a company may rotate workers in an out of a freezer environment in half-hour intervals to make sure that their bodies get less of that overall stress. However, it’s also important to analyze whether too many hot/cold changes can have a negative effect. Medical experts can advise on the best and safest plan.


Another simple solution is to make the right gear and protective equipment available to workers.

People will use common sense in the winter and wear coats and hats, but there’s still a big wild card around this type of voluntary bundling up. Companies can get much further to improve productivity and decrease liability when they hand out properly insulated gear to each person on a team. Having adequate jackets, scarves, gloves, and hats available can really improve how a company supports its workers in the field.

A Culture of Safety

We’re going to say that word again – “corporate culture” — because it’s so important in nearly everything the company does.

People generally take cues from the people at the top. If there is an evident concern about safety, that will trickle down. If not, that culture tends to pervade. Make sure people know that the company is committed to work safety and ready to pitch in to keep people safe.

About Full Steam Staffing

Full Steam Staffing is a full-service employment agency in New Bedford, MA focused on providing clerical and light industrial staffing solutions to manufacturers, distribution centers and other organizations that need qualified, reliable workers. If you are looking for a new job in New Bedford, MA, browse our available opportunities or contact our team today!