Hypothermia - The first symptoms of this condition are uncontrollable shivering and the
sensation of cold, irregular heart beat, weakened pulse, and change in blood pressure.
Severe shaking of rigid muscles may be caused by a burst of body energy and changes in
the body's chemistry. Vague or slow, slurred speech, memory lapses, incoherence, and
drowsiness are some of the additional symptoms. Symptoms noticed before complete
collapse are cool skin, slow and irregular breathing, low blood pressure, apparent
exhaustion, and fatigue even after rest.
As the core body temperature drops, the victim may become listless and confused, and
may make little or no attempt to keep warm. Pain in the extremities can be the first
warning of dangerous exposure to cold. If the body core temperature drops to about 85
F, a significant and dangerous drop in the blood pressure, pulse rate, and respiration can
occur. In extreme cases, death will occur.
Frostbite - Frostbite can occur, in absence of hypothermia, when the extremities do not
receive sufficient heat from central body stores. This can occur because of inadequate
circulation and/or insulation. Frostbite occurs when there is freezing of fluids around the
cells of the body tissues due to extremely low temperatures. Damage may result,
including loss of tissue around the areas of the nose, cheeks, ears, fingers, and toes. This
damage can be serious enough to require amputation or result in permanent loss of
The potential for both heat and cold related disorders or conditions can occur in many common
situations. Cold early morning temperatures can give way to warm daily temperatures, resulting
in heavy perspiration within protective clothing. As temperatures cool again in the evening, the
potential for cold related disorders or conditions can occur. Managers should be aware of the
potential for this occurrence and should monitor workers accordingly.
Preventive measures are the best approach to avoiding the types of disorders or conditions
associated with temperature extreme conditions. Many of the measures are similar for both heat
and cold extremes. Proper training and preventive measures are critical in temperature extreme
conditions to avert illness, injury and potential loss of worker productivity.
The following steps are recommended for ensuring/protecting workers involved in temperature