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Brrr! 4 Reasons to Make Sure You Keep Out the Chill!
Posted by David Cant on January 12, 2015

Brrr! 4 Reasons to Make Sure You Keep Out the Chill!

construction workerWinter only “officially” started a few days ago (looks like the weather didn’t get the memo then).

As much as we’d all like to escape to the Caribbean, how many lucky sods still have to slog it out outside? My guess – quite a few of us!

But I’m not bringing up the topic just to remind you of what wonderful weather we have – if you’re working outdoors, you’d better make sure you stay healthy and safe.

Here are 4 really important reasons why you don’t want to take that chill lightly:

1. Got a bit of a nip? It could be frostbite

Think frostbite is just one of those things that nutty Arctic explorers have to deal with?

Think again.

If the temperature falls below -0.55ºC and you’re working outside, then you could be at risk, especially if there’s a chilly wind blowing, too.

So how do you know if you’ve got it? Frostbite actually freezes body fluids and tissues (eww!) You might start off with a bit of pain in your extremities, before it turns to pins and needles – and then a whole lot worse.

It could even result in amputation – so it’s definitely no joke! 

2. Watch out for hypothermia

Hypothermia can be a lot more sneaky. Even if you’re technically indoors – if you’re freezing cold, you’re potentially at risk.

Hypothermia develops when your body loses heat – and falls below that magic number – 35ºC. Go any lower than that, and things will start to play up.

So are you at risk? If you’re stuck in the cold – indoors or outdoors – and are not wearing enough layers to keep yourself warm – definitely.

3. If you’re older, make sure you’re wiser too

There’s no getting around it. If you’re older, you need to be paying more attention to your health.

Your body is going to be less able to regulate temperatures or warm up quickly. So add extra precautions to keep you warm – as well as wearing more layers, space heaters and plenty of hot fluids will help.

There you go – an extra excuse for another cuppa!

4. Bundle up extra if you’ve got a dicky ticker

Anyone with heart issues? You’ve also got to keep an eye on your health in the cold.

Because things like frostbite can affect your extremities and your circulation, anyone taking beta-blockers or who has known circulation problems like varicose veins might be at greater risk of ill health.

Make sure you wrap up toasty! Better still, see if you can avoid or minimise working in the cold at all.

Your takeaway points

Working in the cold isn’t something to take casually – it can have long term and serious impacts on your health! To keep yourself safe, pay attention to the following:

  • keep an eye for frostbite, especially if the temperature drops below -0.55ºC
  • even if you’re indoors, continued cold can result in hypothermia – so wrap up
  • older people need to make extra efforts to stay warm – lots of layers, heaters and hot drinks!
  • Same goes for anyone with heart and circulation issues.

Do you work outside in winter? How do you cope with the cold?

Let us know your thoughts below!


Director at Veritas Consulting. The SME's favourite go-to consultant for health and safety know-how. Bucket loads of experience. Fluent in practical advice. Solutionist with a brain you can pick.

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