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Shiver me timbers: working safely in cold conditions

Yes, we’re the sunshine state, but that doesn’t mean we’re always warm…lots of areas across the southwest region experience deeply cold temperatures in winter and operating safely in these conditions is paramount.

If you or your workers are exposed to prolonged or repeated periods of cold, it’s important to adopt best practice safety measures.

During the chilly months, many farming activities mean people are exposed to working in cold conditions. Paddock maintenance, livestock feeding, grain harvesting, breaking ice in drinking troughs, cutting or felling tree wood – all these activities are likely to introduce workers to temperature extremes.

Things to consider for cold condition workers:

  • Monitor weather forecast for conditions that may increase risk of hypothermia.
  • Consider if the work can be done inside, remotely, or in a heated cab of a vehicle, and if time in the cold can be shortened (or work done in warmer times).
  • Schedule warm-up breaks for outdoor workers and hold breaks inside.

Control measures for consideration:

  • Provide protection through warm and waterproof clothing, and dress in layers.
  • Keep workers dry, but if they become wet, change immediately into dry clothes.
  • Provide opportunities for workers not used to working in cold conditions to acclimatise, for example job rotation and regular rest breaks.

Further information

Learn more about hypothermia and safe work practices in cold conditions.