Hellman & Associates

Cold Work Hazards

Cold Stress

On very cold days, employees should take adequate precautions to prevent cold-related illnesses including hypothermia or frostbite.

Cold-Stress Illnesses Signs & Symptoms

Frostbite occurs when the skin actually freezes and loses water.

  • Signs and Symptoms:
    • Cold, tingling, stinging or aching feeling in the frostbitten area, followed by numbness
    • Skin color turns red, then purple, then white or very pale skin, cold to the touch
  • Treatment
    • Do not rub the area
    • Wrap in warm cloth or use hot pack
    • Immerse in warm, not hot, water


  • Signs and Symptoms:
    • Shivering
    • Lack of coordination, stumbling, fumbling hands
    • Slurred speech
    • Memory loss
    • Pale, cold skin
  • Treatment
    • Move to warm area
    • Stay active
    • Remove wet clothes and replace with dry clothes or blankets, cover the head
    • Drink a warm (not hot) sugary drink


Employees need to dress appropriately for the work they will be performing and should take breaks as frequently as necessary to warm up inside a building or in a company vehicle. It is a good idea to keep extra clothes in your truck in case the weather changes.