Farm Safety Check: Working in the Cold

Farm Safety Check: Working in the Cold


Cold temperatures pose serious threats to a person’s health, leading to frostbite, hypothermia, or trench foot, which occurs when the feet have been exposed to water for too long. Symptoms of hypothermia may include lack of coordination, confusion, slurring, drowsiness, or slowed breathing. Signs of frostbite and trench foot include skin that is numb, swollen, firm, blistered, red, or gray.


Disclaimer: Don’t forget to wear a mask and follow all social distancing practices in the applicable situations below.

  • Can you complete indoor tasks and leave outdoor tasks for a warmer day?
  • Do you prioritize safety? Add more breaks, keep areas warm, provide warm food and drink, periodically check on employees, and train employees about the cold.
  • Snow makes it difficult to see roads and bodies of water. Do bright signs or fences mark roads and water?
  • Do you have heating systems to keep employees and livestock warm? Are they safe from fires and in well-ventilated areas?
  • Does everyone work in pairs?
  • Compared to warmer days, is there a higher ratio of people to tasks, with fewer tasks and more employees?
  • Does work begin earlier to avoid being outside at night?
  • Do you use sand, litter or deicer on slippery areas? These may be less effective as it gets colder.
  • Do you wear the following when you go out in the cold? Layers (inner: polyester or polypropylene, middle: wool or down, outer: water-resistant nyon), hat with flaps, hood, flexible gloves (inner layer and water-resistant outer layer), facemask, boots (not steel-toed) with cleats or slip-on grips, socks with breathing room in boots, and sunglasses.
  • Do you immediately remove and replace anything wet?
  • Do you carry a safety toolbox with the following items? Headlamp, flashlight, two-way radio, first aid kit, pocket knife, thermometer, dry pair of clothes, blanket, high-protein snacks, and a sweet, warm beverage.

You and/or your employee(s) can download and print a pdf checklist to complete safety checks on your farm. Keep the completed forms for follow-up, future reference and inspections.


Additional Resources: