OCCUPATIONAL COLD STRESS: A LITERATURE REVIEW
Considerable clinical evidence exists for the incidence of occupational cold stress among workers in indoor cold-storage rooms and other indoor occupations, as well as among workers in outdoor occupations during severe winter weather. Frederick (1992) has included cold as one of the risk factors for occupational 'cumulative trauma disorders.' Reviews of the Code of Federal Regulations performed here, however, have revealed no in-place standards, criteria, or regulations for either specific clothing or specific working-environment temperatures promulgated or overseen by any agency to assure worker safety from cold-stress related injuries or to prevent exposures or exposure-durations in temperature regimes that promote cold stress. Medical studies of the phenomenon nonetheless span an enormous gamut of occupations, workers, laboratory animals, climes, and regions of the world.
The following review is outlined to cover the topic with examinations of American (federal) cold stress standards, guidelines, or criteria in place, if any; medical studies of cold stress cases and treatments that have been reported in the scientific literature, and discussion and conclusions from the literature about the incidence, treatment, and prevention of cold stress, principally in an occupational setting.
OCCUPATIONAL COLD STRESS--STANDARDS AND STUDIES
Cold stress is not listed as an indexed term in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFRs). Moreover, review of approximately one dozen related worker health and safety code sections revealed no standards or regulations of the Departments of Labor (including OSHA) or the General Services Administration that specify comfortable, let alone safe, work-place temperature ranges or maximum or minimum temperatures considered safe for 8-hour (TWA--time-weighted average) or instantaneous exposures. This may be enough to know. However, there are numerous gener...