Cold Stress: a Productivity Buster in the Workplace

Cold Stress a Productivity Buster in the Workplace - PRYME AUSTRALIA

Working in cooler conditions without proper protective clothing may be putting employees at risk of cold stress, contributing to poor productivity in the workplace.

People who work outside in cold temperatures, in cold wind or in wet conditions were most at risk, according to the New Zealand Department of Labour’s report Guidelines for the Management of Work in Extremes of Temperature.

The report listed several New Zealand working environments with the potential to produce cold stress including “work in the refrigerated plant in the food processing industry, diving or outdoor work in winter.”

Pryme urge workplaces to take precautions against cold environments

Workplace safety equipment supplier Pryme is urging workplaces to take better precautions for their workers and minimise the risk of serious health problems by keeping employees warm and productive.

Indoor workplaces also needed good insulation and heating. Working in a cold environment forced the body to work harder to maintain its core temperature, drawing heat from the body and leading to cold stress.

“Cold stress can impair the body’s ability to perform manual and mental tasks, with muscles stiffening and losing strength and fingers losing dexterity and sensitivity. There is also reduced mental alertness, leading to accidents in the workplace”, says Pryme’s Managing Director, Terry Houlihan.

“Workers can also develop cold stress conditions including trench foot, frostbite, frostnip, water immersion or in rarer cases, hypothermia, which occurs when the body’s core temperature drops below 35.5 degrees (oral) or 36 degrees (rectal).”

Comply with the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992

The Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 states that employers must provide and maintain a safe working environment for all their employees and be able to identify and control hazards. Under the act, employers must ensure Safe Work Practices by ensuring all work in cold conditions is under constant supervision.

Safety Winter Gear

Pryme distributes quality N-Ferno® workwear products across Australia and New Zealand, designed with specially formulated fabrics to ensure multi-climate comfort and protection.

“Over 50 per cent of heat loss is through the head so headwear like N-Ferno 6804 Skull Cap Winter Hat with LED Light and N-Ferno 6885 FR Winter Hard Hat Liner with a thermal lining should be worn in cold environments”, says Terry.

To find out more about working in cold environments visit SafeWork NSW. Get in contact with the Pryme team to discuss our Toolbox Talks today –

RELATED: WINTER IS COMING: Prepare with Winter Warming PPE


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