Q: How do I protect myself when working in extreme cold?
A: OSHA has not put forth any specific standards for working in cold environments. However, there are several safety precautions that can be implemented to protect workers from frostbite, trench foot, and hypothermia.
- Employers should train workers on the dangers and symptoms of working in cold environments.
- Appropriate engineering controls should be provided by employers (i.e. space heaters, shielding from wind, etc.)
- Implement safe work practices. Provide hot drinks to encourage hydration, use the buddy system, and give frequent breaks.
- Dress properly. Provide appropriate PPE if necessary.
Q: What do I do in an emergency situation where an employee has been affected by a cold hazard?
A: The most common symptoms from cold exposure are hypothermia and frostbite. Here is what you should do:
- Call 911 or emergency services immediately.
- Move the person to a warm and dry area.
- Remove wet or damp clothes from the person and cover with dry blankets. Do not cover their face.
- Consult with emergency services on any further instructions depending on the situation of the victim.
Q: What is the recommended indoor temperature for an office during the winter?
A: OSHA has not set any specific regulations regarding indoor temperatures. As a general rule, office temperature and humidity are a matter of human comfort.
For more tips and guidelines regarding cold weather safety please visit www.OSHA.gov.