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MSHA Health & Safety Alert: Safety in Cold Weather


November 17, 2023 - Cold weather can cause cold stress, which can lead to hypothermia, frostbite, and other severe injuries, and illnesses.

Best Practices

  • Monitor your physical condition and that of your coworkers.
  • Wear appropriate clothing.
  • Wear clothing that allows a full range of motion necessary for the tasks of the work.
  • Move into warm locations during breaks.
  • Include chemical hot packs in your first aid kit.
  • Avoid touching cold metal surfaces with bare skin.

In addition, some portable heaters can emit deadly carbon monoxide (CO).  CO is odorless and colorless and can accumulate in confined spaces and enclosed areas such as the cabs of vehicles, work trailers, and unventilated areas.  Exposure to 200 parts per million of CO for 15 minutes can cause disorientation, unconsciousness and eventual death.

Best Practices

  • Maintenance of fuel-burning equipment and vehicles is crucial. Vehicle exhaust systems need to be regularly inspected for leaks or other damage.
  • Monitors and audible alarm systems should be in place wherever CO is a potential hazard. Use portable CO detectors as necessary.
  • Properly ventilate work areas. The ventilation system should be designed and maintained to remove contaminants from the mine atmosphere.
  • Maintain travelways and keep them free of ice and debris.
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Miners and mine operators can find safety and health information on