Washington State University
Environmental Health & Safety Outdoor Cold Stress

Outdoor Cold Stress

Employees working in extreme cold weather may be exposed to conditions that can cause frostbite and hypothermia. Extreme cold conditions exist when the equivalent chill temperature is at or below -25 degrees Fahrenheit. Equivalent chill temperature is a function of the actual (ambient) temperature and the estimated wind speed.

Employees required to work in extreme cold weather conditions are to use protective outerwear and work/warm-up schedules to prevent frostbite and hypothermia.

Refer to the Safety Policies Procedures Manual for information on estimating equivalent chill temperatures and the use of personal protective equipment.


Supervisors and employees potentially working in extreme cold conditions should be trained on the Safety Policies and Procedures Manual section.


Safety Policies and Procedures Manual: Working in Cold Environments.