January 21, 2016 | Frank MacDonald |

Foolproof Ways to Avoid Frostbite and Hypothermia at Work

Winter is in full swing (as you can probably tell by the chill in your bones). Every season has some hazards, but cold weather injury can creep up on you and cause lasting harm.

Hypothermia and frostbite are the primary concerns this time of year. But with the right precautions and hand protection, you can work a lot more safely outdoors.

Avoid frostbite and hypothermia on the job

Taking proper winter precautions keeps you safe and comfortable.

Here’s how you can help avoid frostbite and hypothermia when Old Man Winter is wreaking havoc.


1. Keep Your Head Covered

A lot of body heat is lost through the top of your head, which is why Mayo Clinic advises that you keep covered when working outdoors in cold weather.

Even if you wear a hardhat, you also need to have thermal protection against your skin.

Your face and neck also lose heat, and are at risk of frostbite.

Wearing full cover garments such as close-fitting, insulating hoods that cover everything but your eyes is a good idea, since noses and ears are especially prone to injury from the cold.


2. Avoid Overexertion and Stay Dry:

Since exertion is part of the job for most people who work outdoors, there’s a good reason to take it easier when the weather is dangerously cold.

When you work too hard, you sweat. Sweat dampens your clothing, which increases body heat loss.

Feet are at a high risk of frostbite, so choose socks that help keep you warm even if they do get damp.

Wool is a good choice, as are some newer synthetics that combine moisture wicking with insulation.


Extremities aren’t the only areas where you could suffer frostbite.

Wear clothing in layers instead of one or two heavy garments, and keep a moisture-wicking layer next to your skin.

On the outer layers, opt for water-repellent fabrics that keep out rain and melting snow.


3. Don’t Work Alone:

Even if you prefer to do solitary work, the Safety Services Company says that wintertime calls for the buddy system. It’s not just a good idea — it can actually prevent you from getting hypothermia and frostbite.

Symptoms of mild hypothermia include fatigue, confusion, and lack of coordination, among others.

Once it advances to moderate hypothermia, decision-making is also impaired.

When you use the buddy system, you each have someone else watching out for danger signs.


4. Always Wear Your PPE:

Modern technology and innovations in textiles means that winterized PPE is better than ever.

When it comes to keeping your hands warm and avoid frostbite, we offer a wide range of insulated winter work gloves.

Although there isn’t one winter glove for every job, we recommend that you start by looking at gloves insulated with Thinsulate™.

Thinsulate™ comes in several thicknesses, is thinner than other insulation, and naturally wicks moisture from the skin to keep you comfortable.


Want to the science behind body heat and winter protection?

Explore our winter infographic.



Frank MacDonald
About Frank MacDonald