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Common cold weather hazards in the workplace and how to avoid them

The cold weather season is upon us and with it there are particular work hazards to be aware of. Here are some safety issues to consider and helpful tips to keep everyone safe.

Manual handling injuries

Manual tasks ranging from lifting to more dexterous tasks carry more risks in colder environments. Studies show that the physiological effect of exposure to cold temperature on the hands makes it harder to grip, and reduces strength, sensitivity and dexterity, which can lead to accidents. In addition, workers exposed to cold temperatures are more likely to experience musculoskeletal problems.

Gloves are a natural solution to help ensure hands are kept warm.

These extra-tough PVC coated freezer gloves are very good for working in cold conditions and can be used in a variety of applications.

Wearing layers of clothing that can be added or removed to suit the working conditions is the best option to help workers maintain a healthy body temperature when manual handling.


Frostbite is a severe reaction by the skin to cold that can permanently damage fingers, toes, the nose and the ear lobes. The risk of experiencing frostbite increases with the length of time an employee is exposed to the cold, wind chill factor and dampness of clothing.

Along with risk assessments and avoiding prolonged exposure to cold conditions, training for all employees in the dangers of cold temperatures and appropriate PPE are the best methods employers can use to prevent frostbite.


Hypothermia occurs when more heat is lost than the body can generate and it usually is caused by extended exposure to the cold, particularly if clothing gets wet and if there are windy conditions. Employees who are wearing inappropriate PPE clothing are at higher risk but it is also worth bearing in mind that those who are dehydrated are also at higher risk -- breathable PPE and layered clothing which stops employees from perspiring excessively if they are moving from one environment to another can help here.

Winter clothing that insulates from the cold and lets perspiration evaporate while protecting from the wind, rain and snow is well worth investing in. This Elka is waterproof and thermal but also made from breathable materials.


Icy and wet surfaces increase the likelihood of slips and consequent injuries. In addition, cold weather can impair alertness and make it more likely for workers to have accidents.

Cones and barriers to screen off hazardous areas can be helpful, as can appropriate signage.

We have a range of products which can help you to keep premises safe during the cold weather.

Appropriate footwear which reduces the risk of slipping and improves grip is also helpful.

This Thermic Safety Wellington by Cofra offers cold protection and a slip resistant sole.

The Health and Safety Executive also offer helpful guidance on how to avoid slips and trips in bad weather:

For more information, including stock availability, contact our team, who have a good knowledge of products that suit your needs and budget. Call us on 01726 74264 or email


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