Cold Stress: The Dangers of Working Outdoors
Tuesday 19th February 2019
If you work outdoors and are exposed to cold weather for prolonged periods of time, then you are at a higher risk of developing cold-related illnesses and injuries. This infographic features some important facts about the dangers of extreme cold, and how you can prevent developing cold stress.
Which Industries are Most at Risk of Developing Cold Stress?
Workers in the construction, agriculture, maritime and commercial fishing industries are most at risk of developing cold stress due to working in extreme weather conditions. Although outdoor workers can be faced with dangerously cold conditions, there are also other jobs that are based in cold environments and are therefore also at risk. Those that work in cold buildings and warehouses or don't have sufficient heating need to ensure they are correctly equipped to deal with the cold temperatures. Dressing appropriately is one of the most important steps to take, and layering your clothes properly can protect you when facing cold conditions.
Cold Stress Facts and Figures
Public Health England's 2014 Cold Weather Plan notes that a dramatic decrease in temperature has a direct effect on the incidence of heart attack, stroke, respiratory disease, flu, falls and injuries and hypothermia. If the outdoor temperature drops under 5-8°C, cardiovascular and respiratory health problems can occur. The risk of death increases as the temperature continues to drop.
A massive 168,000 deaths due to cold-related illness were recorded in the UK alone over the last five years, and the UK also has the second worst rate of 'winter deaths' throughout Europe.
Take a look at the infographic below which contains useful information on how you can prevent cold stress, as well as some facts and figures on just how dangerous extreme cold conditions can be for a number of workers.