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Working in cold conditions


Working in cold conditions is a hazard with many thousands of workers exposed to cold in environments such as outdoor work in winter months, freezer plants, meat packinghouses and cold storage facilities.

Action Plan For Health And Safety Representatives:

As with all workplace hazards, the hazard should be dealt with in this way:

  1. Identification of the hazard
  2. Assessment of the risk
  3. Elimination or reduction of the risk
  4. Review and evalulation of any control strategies

1. Identification of hazard

  • Ensure the employer monitors the workplace environment - air movement and temperature in particular. You should also consider the combined effect of wind and low temperature ("wind chill" factor), where cooling or freezing of exposed flesh increases rapidly as wind velocity increases.
  • Talk to members of your work group - ask co-workers whether they are experiencing problems with cold.
  • Investigate any past incidents

2. Assessment of Risk

  • Keep a check on all workplaces monitoring results and reported incidents.

3. Elimination or reduction of risk

  • Negotiate with the employer to introduce appropriate controls. Always attempt to introduce controls at the source first. Examples of possible risk controls are:
  • Effective, controllable heating of workplaces.
  • Outside work in cold weather to be sheltered, screened and warmed with hot air blowers if possible.
  • If the environment cannot be effectively controlled, implementation of an appropriate work/rest regime: for example, paid rest breaks for ten minutes per hour for temperatures between 9 and 7 degrees celcius, twenty minutes per hour for temperatures between 7 and 4 degrees celcius, and thirty minutes per hour for temperatures between 4 and 1 degree celcius. (An air temperature of 1 degree should be regarded as the minimum acceptable for normal work. When the temperature reaches a point, workers should be stood by on full pay)
  • Heated rest rooms or shelters should be provided so those workers may obtain temporary relief from the cold.
  • Provision of hot drinks.
  • Proper education and close monitoring of new workers or those returning from leave until they are accustomed to the work conditions, requirements for appropriate clothing, and so on.
  • Protection of extremities through the use of appropriate protective clothing, including gloves, insulated or vapour barrier boots, and face masks as necessary.

(OHS Reps @ Work,

Pro-Val freezer wear is designed to provide complete comfort and protection, in very cold and sub-zero working environments. The freezer wear available include a Jacket with detachable hood, Freezer Trousers and Beanies. The Pro-Val Coldie glove will keep your hands warm and for extra warmth and comfort the Coldie can be worn with our Thermaliner fleece liner glove.

The Pro-Val freezer wear are manufactured to meet AS/NZS 4602:1999 High visibility safety garments. They are made from 100% nylon fabric with tough, water resistant outer shell and polyester fibrefill insulation. The lining is taffeta and the knitted nylon collar and cuffs lock in body warmth and exclude cold air. Top and bottom leg zips on the suit and pants ensure garments are easy to put on and take off. The garments have a variety of utility pockets as well as insulated hand pockets and fluorescent safety panels for visibility on front and back. Jackets are also available with highly reflective tape on fluorescent safety panels for high visibility on the front and back.

The Pro-Val Beanie is designed to provide complete comfort and protection, made from 3M Thinsulate for added warmth without the bulk.

The Coldie freezer glove is a polycotton glove, with brushed fleece lining to keep your hands warm. The latex crinkle finish on thepalm is textured for firm wet and dry grip with a rubber protected thumb, providing great dexterity whilst keeping your hands warm. The gloves are reusable and washable.

The Thermaliner is ideal when worn as an under glove for added warmth and comfort in cold working environments. Brush lined for extra warmth and good dexterity when worn as an under glove, this glove is also reusable and washable.