Producer Tools Toolbox Talks: #3 Working in Extreme Cold

Producer Tools toolbox talks



This is background information ONLY. Be sure to customize your talk to your operation and facilities.

  • Print copies of this sheet for yourself and each of the participants.
  • Lead a discussion with your workers about the materials on this sheet at a location that is appropriate to the topic. Be sure to give real life examples whenever possible.
  • Be open to questions.
  • Conclude with a brief review of the main points or a summary based on the discussion.
  • Fill in your operation name, location and the date on your sheet. Have each worker sign your sheet to confirm their attendance.
  • File your sheet in your worker training records to document the training experience.

Victims of cold temperature exposure such as hypothermia are unable to notice the symptoms in themselves. Therefore it is very important for coworkers to recognize the symptoms and seek help. Hypothermia can cause death if left untreated without medical attention.

In case of hypothermia or frostbite, call 911 or your local emergency services or get the victim to a medical care facility as soon as possible.

Cold Environments—Health Effects and First Aid, by Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, available at oshanswers/phys_agents/ cold_health.html.


A healthy human body temperature is 37°C. A change of body temperature exceeding 1°C can be an indication of illness or environmental conditions beyond the body’s ability to cope. Working in very cold temperatures can be dangerous to your health causing hypothermia or frostbite.


Monitor weather forecasts to be aware of current and potentially hazardous weather conditions.

Key Points


  • Wear layers of loose fitting clothing.
  • Stay dry with water-resistant clothing.
  • Wear windproof materials such as an outer shell.
  • Wear clothing with proper ventilation.
  • Keep a spare set of clothes on hand.
  • Keep your head covered whenever possible.
  • When head protection is necessary, make sure it is equipped with an insulated liner.
  • Protect your feet with insulated socks, and wear two pairs when possible.
  • Protect your hands with insulated gloves.
  • Symptoms of hypothermia or frostbite may include complaints of nausea, fatigue, dizziness, irritability or euphoria. You may also experience pain in your extremities (hands, feet, ears, etc.) and severe shivering.


  • Seek medical attention and transport victim to a medical care facility as soon as possible.
  • If possible, move the victim to a warm area.
  • Remove wet clothing and place victim in blankets to gradually raise body temperature. Body-to-body contact can help warm the victim’s temperature slowly. Be sure to cover the person’s head.
  • DO NOT rub area or apply dry heat, (e.g. hot water bottles or electric blankets) as it may cause skin tissue damage.
  • Give warm, sweet (caffeine-free, non-alcoholic) drinks unless the victim is rapidly losing consciousness, or is unconscious or convulsing.
  • DO NOT allow the victim to drink alcohol or smoke.
  • Perform CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) if the victim stops breathing and continue until medical aid is available. The body slows when it is very cold and in some cases, hypothermia victims that have appeared “dead” have been successfully resuscitated.

Let’s discuss some of the “cold” jobs on this farm and what we can do to prepare…


Sponsored by: fs j;l


This Producer Tool was developed by the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association (CASA). Conducting regular Toolbox Talks, or safety meetings, with farm workers is one component of establishing a comprehensive farm safety plan as outlined in the Canada FarmSafe Plan, CASA’s business-risk management tool for health and safety on the farm. To download the core Canada FarmSafe Plan, visit, or contact CASA to learn more at 1-877-452-2272.

This Toolbox Talk was funded by exclusive corporate sponsor Pioneer Hi-Bred Limited. CASA is funded in part by Growing Forward 2, a federal, provincial and territorial initiative, with support from the agricultural and corporate sectors.

Disclaimer and Reproduction Information: Information in NASD does not represent NIOSH policy. Information included in NASD appears by permission of the author and/or copyright holder. More