Cold Stress

SKU: C-372Duration: 14 Minutes

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Course Details


Training Time: 14 minutes

Compatibility: Desktop, Tablet, Phone

Based on: Industry Standards and Best Practices

Languages: English, Spanish

People who are exposed to cold or wet conditions sometimes can't keep their body warm, which leads to cold stress. This course discusses the factors that increase cold stress as well as what frostbite, trench foot, and hypothermia are and how they are treated. This course also illustrates safe work practices to help with the prevention of cold stress.

Learning Objectives

  • Identify the three types of cold stress which are frostbite, trench foot, and hypothermia
  • Describe the primary causes of cold stress
  • Define the factors that affect how a person tolerates cold temperatures
  • Describe the signs, symptoms, and treatments for all three types of cold stress
  • List the methods to prevent cold stress

Key Questions

The following key questions are answered in this module:

What causes cold stress?
Cold stress is primarily caused by cold temperatures, but other risks include strong winds (which contributes to wind chill), rain, ice, snow, hail, and other sources of wetness.

What is the cold stress equation?
Cold temperatures plus wind speed plus wetness equals injuries, illnesses, and cold-related problems.

What serious conditions can cold stress lead to?
Cold stress can lead to frostbite, trench foot, and hypothermia, all of which are serious.

What is frostbite?
Frostbite is a type of cold stress in which a person's skin, or the tissues underneath, freeze. This can happen when a person is exposed to cold temperatures and the body loses heat faster than it can produce it.

What is trench foot?
Trench foot is caused when feet are exposed to wet and cold conditions for long periods. This is also known as immersion foot.

What is hypothermia?
Hypothermia is a type of cold stress in which the core body temperature drops from the normal 98.6 degrees F (37 °C) to 95 °F (35 °C) or below. Hypothermia can lead to death.

Sample Video Transcript

Below is a transcript of the video sample provided for this module:

People exposed to cold and/or wet conditions sometimes can't keep their body warm enough. This is known as cold stress. Cold temperatures are the primary cause of cold stress. Other factors that increase the risk include strong winds that cause temperatures to feel colder than they are, this is known as the wind chill, and rain, ice, snow, hail, or other sources of wetness.

Additional Resources

Use the additional resources and links below to learn more about this topic:

  • U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) –
  • OSHA Safety and Health Topics -
  • National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) –
  • NIOSH Workplace Safety & Health Topics -
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