Cold Stress: Part V. Physical Agents

Tiina M. Ikäheimo, Kalev Kuklane, Jouni J.k. Jaakkola, Ingvar Holmér,

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


Owing to the steep temperature gradient between the warm human body and a cold environment, a potential for high heat losses prevails that may endanger heat balance and represent a threat to human health, function, and performance. Our physiological adaptive power is relatively is relatively low in the cold. Instead, humans rely on technique, organization, and protection to mitigate the effects of cold and create conditions for work that can be coped with, at least for some time. This chapter describes the physics of heat exchange between man and the cold environment. In particular, clothing is dealt with in more detail, as it is one of the most powerful and simple means of controlling body heat exchange and to preserve an optimal heat balance. When heat cannot be preserved, the body cools, starting with fingers, hands, toes, and feet. Whole-body or local cooling, and the related physiological responses, leads to decreased work performance and adverse health effects. International standards intended for ergonomics of thermal environments are available for the assessment and management of cold-related occupational effects. The chapter ends with a suggestion for a simplified risk-assessment procedure and tables with numerous examples of preventive measures for alleviation cold stress.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPatty's Industrial Hygiene
EditorsRobert Harris
ISBN (Electronic)9780471125327
ISBN (Print)9780471297840
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Feb 10

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Environmental Health and Occupational Health


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