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Protecting Yourself from Cold Stress

Cold Weather Safety Tips for Industrial Refrigeration Workers

It’s no surprise that workers who are involved in the industrial refrigeration industry may be subject to harsh and extreme conditions due to the nature of the work they are in. They may install industrial chiller systems in corrosive environments or be exposed to extreme cold. However, workers who are exposed to extreme cold or work in cold environments may be at risk of cold stress.

Working in Extreme Cold Weather

Cold stress occurs by driving down the skin temperature and eventually, the body temperature. When the body is unable to warm itself, serious cold-related illnesses and injuries may occur. Below are some examples of occupational illnesses and injuries as well as some tips in ensuring worker health and safety as advised by the CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety


Hypothermia occurs when the body uses up its stored energy and can no longer produce heat. This often occurs after prolonged exposure to cold temperature 

Early SymptomsLate SymptomsFirst Aid
ShiveringNo shiveringRequest immediate medical assistance
Fatigue Blue skinMove the victim into a warm room or shelter 
Loss of CoordinationDilated pupilsRemove wet clothing 
Confusion and disorientation Slowed pulse and breathingWarm the center of their body first (check, neck, head and groin) using an electric blanket or use skin-to-skin contact under loose, dry layers of blankets, clothing, or towels 
Loss of consciousnessIf conscious, warm beverages may help increase the body temperature. Do not give alcohol. 
Once the temperature has increased, keep them dry and wrapped in a warm blanket, including the head and neck. 
If no pulse, begin CPR. 


Frostbites are injuries to the body that are caused by freezing, which most often affect the nose, fingers, cheek, chin or toes.

SymptomsFirst Aid
Reduced blood flow to hands and feet Get into a warm room as soon as possible 
NumbnessUnless necessary, do not walk on frostbitten feet or toes 
AchingImmerse the affected area in warm (not hot) water or warm the affected area using body heat. Do not use a heating pad, fireplace, or radiator for warming. 
Tingling or stingingDo not massage the frostbitten area; doing so may cause more damage. 
Bluish or pale, waxy skin 

Trench Foot

Trench Foot is the injury of the feet resulting from prolonged exposure to wet and cold conditions that can occur at temperatures as high as 60°F if the feet are constantly wet. 

SymptomsFirst Aid
Reddening of the skinRemove shoes or boots and wet socks 
NumbnessDry your feet 
Leg crampsAvoid walking on feet, as this may cause tissue damage. 
Tingling pain
Blisters or ulcers
Bleeding under the skin
Gangrene (foot turning dark purple, blue or gray)


Chilblains are ulcers formed by damaged small blood vessels in the skin, caused by the repeated exposure of skin to temperatures just above freezing to as high as 60°F. 

SymptomsFirst Aid
RednessAvoid scratching
ItchingSlowly warm the skin
Possible blisteringUse corticosteroid creams to relieve itching and swelling
InflammationKeep blisters and ulcers clean and covered
Possible ulceration in severe cases

Tips on Maintaining and Protecting Industrial Refrigeration Safety

Cold weather safety is very important to preserve, especially for those workers who are constantly exposed to extremely cold temperatures. Here are some ways you can protect yourself from harsh conditions. 

About Berg Industrial Service

At Berg, the safety of our customers and employees is our number one priority. We are dedicated to serve you anytime and anywhere in the world. We have dedicated Sales and Service offices in Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia who can help you with all your cooling needs.   

Berg Industrial Service is a certified contractor that operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with continual, around the clock access to our well stocked inventory.  We have Sales and Service divisions situated from coast to coast across Canada. Our team of highly trained service technicians are ready to serve you anywhere our fleet of vehicles can drive or a plane can fly.  This ensures not only fast and constant response to customer requirements, but also a well-equipped response – a Berg exclusive in the industry.   

Contact Berg Industrial Service today to learn more about how we can help you with your cooling needs