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U.S. Geological Survey Manual

SM 445-2-H CHAPTER 48

Prevention of Cold Stress Injuries

Instruction: New chapter.

1.  Purpose.  To establish policy for employees working in cold conditions that may increase susceptibility to cold stress effects and injuries. 

2.  References.

A.  Threshold Limit Values (TLVs ®) and Biological Exposure Indices (BEIs ®) Based on the Documentation of the Threshold Limit Values for Chemicals Substances and Physical Agents and Biological Exposure Indices, American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists, current edition.

3.  Scope.  This policy applies to U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) employees and those who work under USGS funding or direction.

4.  Requirements

A.  Evaluate the work environment for cold stress conditions using a job hazard analysis (JHA).  Refer to Appendix A, Table 1: Wind Chill Temperature Index or an equivalent wind chill index to evaluate cold stress conditions.

B.  Develop and implement local written procedures to protect employees from cold stress injuries to include the following, at a minimum:

(1)  Worksite or operational description where employees may be exposed to potential cold stress environments and the respective JHA.

(2)  Required preventive procedures and equipment to prevent cold stress injuries; e.g., protective cold weather clothing and equipment, worker rotation schedules and warm-up shelters.

(3)  Site specific training requirements for employees, students, and volunteers about the dangers of exposure to cold environments; i.e., cool temperatures, cool rainy weather, cold water immersion, etc., that can result in cold stress injuries and the measures to prevent cold stress injuries.

(4)  First-aid response to cold stress injuries including recognizing symptoms, treatment, and local emergency medical contact information.

C.  Employees shall replace wet clothing when working in cold conditions.

D.  Exposed skin shall be protected when frostbite conditions exist.  (Refer to Appendix A, Table 1: Wind Chill Temperature Index.)

E.  Heated shelters; e.g., rooms, tents, cabins, vehicles, etc.; and warm-up schedules or alternative protections shall be addressed in local written procedures and JHA when working in conditions where the equivalent wind chill temperature is continuously less than 20 °F.  (See Appendix A, Table 2: Work/Warm-up Guidelines.)

F.  Training shall be provided to all employees working in cold conditions.  Training shall include at a minimum:

(1)  The types of cold stress injuries and how to recognize the signs of symptoms of the onset of hypothermia, excessive cooling, and other cold stress injuries.  (A list of the most common cold stress injuries, their symptoms, and treatment are provided in Appendix B.)

(2)  The recognition and evaluation of cold stress conditions.

(3)  Procedures and practices established to prevent cold stress injuries including proper rewarming procedures.

(4)  Proper personal protective equipment and clothing.

(5)  Proper hydration and nutrition.

(6)  Medical treatment required for common cold-weather injuries to include initial first aid and when to seek professional medical help. 

5.  Responsibilities.

A.  Director. Directs cold stress injury prevention program activities through the Bureau Designated Agency Safety and Health Official (DASHO).  The Associate Director for Administration serves as the Bureau DASHO.

B.  Associate Directors and Regional Directors.

(1)  Ensure that financial resources are provided to local sites to implement and comply with the hazard communication program.

(2) Ensure managers and supervisors are accountable and comply with statutory, regulatory, and Bureau program requirements.

(3)  Ensure program deficiencies are abated in a timely manner.

C.  Bureau DASHO - Associate Director for Administration.

(1)  Exercises the authority of the Director to establish, develop, direct, and manage an effective cold stress injury prevention program within the Bureau.

(2)  Assigns cold stress injury prevention program authority to the Chief, Office of Management Services (OMS) for program management and administration.

D.  Chief, Office of Management Services.

(1)  Assigns cold stress injury prevention program responsibilities for Bureau program management and administration to the Bureau Occupational Safety and Health Program Manager.

(2)  Ensures OMS staff has sufficient authority, resources, and qualifications to effectively support regional and national capabilities cold stress injury prevention program needs.

E.   Bureau Occupational Safety and Health Program Manager

(1)  Provides policy development and oversight of the cold stress injury prevention program.

(2)  Assists national program staff and regional safety managers with the necessary support and guidance to effectively fulfill cold stress injury prevention program policy commitments.

(3)  Ensures the evaluation of national and regional organizations every 3 years to assess the effectiveness and implementation of the cold stress injury prevention program, in accordance with SM–445–2–H.5 Program Evaluations.

(4)  Conducts external audits of national programs to include auditing compliance with hazard communication program requirements.

F.  Regional Safety Managers.

(1)  Provide region-wide direction and oversight of the cold stress injury prevention program, serving as the focal point for local procedure development and implementation and providing technical advice to field collateral duty safety program coordinators.

(2)  Assist local management in developing and implementing local written procedures for preventing cold stress injuries and coordinating employee training upon request.

(3)  Evaluate the implementation effectiveness of the cold stress injury prevention requirements, during inspections, and make recommendations for improvement.

G.  Managers/Supervisors.

(1)  Ensure that local written procedures are developed and adequate resources are available to fully implement cold stress injury prevention requirements at the locality.

(2)  Ensure that all employees assigned to perform work in cold conditions are trained in and are aware of:

(a) The types of conditions and work environments where cold stress injuries are likely to occur.

(b)The types and prevention methods of cold stress injuries that may occur under such conditions.

(c)  Rescue and first-aid procedures should a cold stress injuries occur.

(3)  Identify all work activities and locations where employees could be susceptible to cold stress injuries and evaluate the work environment for cold stress conditions through the development of a JHA.

(4)  Ensure that local written procedures are implemented that continually assess local temperatures, wind chill factors and level of employee activity.

(5)  Document cold stress incidents or injuries in the Safety Management Information System.

H.  Collateral Duty Safety Program Coordinators.

(1)  Assist managers in establishing and implementing cold stress injury prevention requirements, including assisting in evaluating the work environment for cold stress conditions training and developing local written procedures.

(2)  Provide input to managers on the status of compliance with cold stress injury prevention requirements at the locality.

I.  Employees.

(1)  Follow the cold stress injury prevention requirements.

(2)  Participate in cold stress injury prevention training and be familiar with the hazards associated with working in cold stress conditions and the signs and symptoms of overexposure to the cold.  Information about common cold stress injuries, initial first aid, and when to seek professional medical help is provided in Appendix B.

(3)  Keep track of the local temperature and wind chill factor and moderate activity based on the cold.

(4)  Report any cold stress injuries to your supervisor.

Appendix A
Appendix B


Katherine McCulloch /s/________________________________                9/19/2014_________
Katherine McCulloch                                                                                     Date
Acting Deputy Associate Director for Administration

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