Working in cold environments

Both outdoor and indoor work can expose workers to cold temperatures. Outdoor temperatures during the winter months have been known to stay below freezing during the day and even lower at night. Certain indoor workers, such as those working in cold stores, may also be exposed to low temperatures often below 8 ̊C.

National Services Scotland

Working in an Artificially Cold Environment

Employees and contractors may work in and visitors may for short periods go into walk-in freezers, cold rooms and the cold storage section of vehicles ranging from below 10oC down to -30oC.

There are a number of medical conditions or side effects of treatments which may be exacerbated by working for long periods in these cold environments.

These include:

  • Raynaud’s Phenomenon
  • Peripheral vascular disease
  • Angina/coronary heart disease
  • Treatment with b blockers
  • Wearing soft contact lenses 
  • Mytotonia congenital
  • Asthma, particularly if cold induced

There are also other risks with working in these cold temperatures, slipping on icy or wet floor or work equipment not working properly.

In this section you will find the NSS procedure for working in an artificially maintained cold environment, which includes guidance. A health questionnaire for employees to complete and a link to guidance for managers

If you require additional information, you can contact the NSS Occupational Health Advisors or Health & Safety Advisors through HR Connect Contact Us