Heat and cold

Cold, rain, wind and draughts cool your body and increase the stress on the circulation and metabolism. The muscles and ligaments stiffen, and the risk of local overload of the motor apparatus is greater. When the hands are chilled, the sense of touch and ability to work are impaired. This increases the risk of accidents. People with a tendency towards white fingers are at an increased risk of an attack if they are cold.

Example: If the temperature is 10˚C and the wind speed is 14 m/s, the temperature will feel like -2˚C.


The temperature when carrying out the work must be suitable for humans, taking into account the working methods used and the physical stress to which the worker is subject.

Work areas in buildings can be heated, for example, in order to adapt the temperature in winter. Normally a temperature of around 10 degrees will be appropriate for active physical work. A temperature of around 15 degrees will be appropriate for fine motor work carried out while standing still.

When working in carcasses, on scaffolding and in open structures, it is necessary in winter (1 October to 31 March) decide on the extent to which covers should be established in order to protect against the cold. This is a requirement if employees are exposed to problematic weather for longer periods. When working in carcasses, the limit is approx. three days, and on scaffolding and similar approx. six days.
On building sites where a number of enterprises are working at the same time, the developer has to decide on who is to deal with the cover and how far this should extend. If more than ten people are working at the same time, this must also be stated in the Health and Safety Plan.

In the case of outdoor work operations taking place over a longer time, a screen must be set up to protect against the elements. Work huts, tents, all-weather roof supports or similar can be set up.

If design, office or other work takes place for any length of time at the building site, this must take place on premises where the fittings are compliant with the rules on fixed work sites. The room temperature must be at least 18°C.

If the temperature cannot be regulated because work is being carried out outdoors or in a hall where there is no local heating option, for example, the employer must ensure that the workers wear appropriate work clothing.

Limited working hours and protective workwear may protect against the cold. Workwear must fit well, offer appropriate insulation, allow moisture to pass through and have a windproof outer layer. The fabric must be able to allow excess heat to escape if the work is physically demanding. Protective workwear is personal protective equipment on a par with protective footwear, which is why the employer must acquire and maintain it.

When working in alternating hot and cold conditions, you should be able to alter and adjust your workwear easily.

Use a suitable surface if work is done lying down, sitting or kneeling while directly touching cold or damp surfaces.

Strong head and direct heat radiation from the sun may be stressful in combination with high ambient humidity. Besides being subject to fluid loss, stress on the circulation and a rising body temperature, some people also react by being irritable and bad-tempered. However, heatstroke is rare in Denmark.
A combination of physically heavy work, strong sunlight and hot machinery (e.g. when laying asphalt) can create a fairly high heat load. Therefore, it is necessary to interrupt very hot and stressful work frequently with breaks in colder surroundings.
Do not wear too many clothes if you are going to work in damp, hot surroundings. When doing heavy work, it should be possible to take sufficient numbers of breaks and working hours must be restricted where necessary. Drink plenty of water.

Working in protective clothing can cause a particularly large amount of heat stress as excess body heat and sweat are unable to escape. During hard physical work, fluid loss and rising body temperature can quickly become dangerous. Make sure you take plenty of breaks in cold surroundings and limit your working hours where appropriate.