Cold wave, employee protection

A cold snap swept across France in early February. This Nordic air comes straight from Russia. The famous Moscow-Paris thus delivers negative temperatures and snowfall over a large part of the territory. Thus, the territory froze for a few days and this created disturbances at the national level. In particular, some schools are forced to close because of the weather conditions. In these times of very low temperatures, it is necessary to take certain precautions. Indeed, a large number of occupations involve working outside the world. Employers must thereby protect and pay attention to their employees. As employers are responsible for the safety and health of employees, they must put in place preventive measures.

Employers pay attention to the safety of their employees

Low temperatures have serious consequences for the human body. The risk of frostbite, pain and hypothermia are dangerous factors, especially for workers. Thus, exposure to cold, whether natural or artificial, is a factor not to be overlooked. Preventive measures are to be expected on the part of employers, especially in case of cold snaps.

In addition, certain occupations, particularly in the construction sector,are thus exposed to climatic hazards. Depending on the person’s exposure and sensitivity, the consequences can be dramatic. The Ministry of Labour, Employment and Integration therefore calls for the utmost vigilance.

cold wave employers employees precautions
The provision of personal protective equipment in case of extreme cold is necessary.

Employers are responsible for the safety and health of their employees and must put in place preventive measures. This prevents any accident at work. It is therefore necessary to review work schedules according to the weather, provide snacks adapted to extreme temperatures such as hot drinks etc. In addition, it is also necessary to provide employees with appropriate clothing such as gloves, insulating jackets and trousers, socks and beanies. Finally, it is advisable to train and inform employees about the risks of the cold. In these climatic conditions, isolated work is prohibited. As a result, first aid training and teamwork can save lives.

It is therefore obligatory to notify all of its employees in order to reduce the rate of accidents at work due to extreme weather conditions.

Cold wave over France, the consequences

Since the beginning of February, a cold snap has set in throughout the country. Temperatures have reached extremes, especially in eastern France. For example, meteorologists have raised up to -20C in cities such as Mulhouse and Buhl-Lorraine. Indeed, this has created major disruptions in terms of travel,not least because of a large freeze over several days. Some regions have experienced several consecutive days without thaw. In Brittany, for example, the temperatures of the last few days have been the coldest since 1987 at the regional level. The cold snap particularly affected northern and eastern France. Nevertheless, the south-west and south regions were less likely to experience extreme temperatures in February.

In addition, extreme temperatures, whether hot or cold, have a significant impact on the economy. Indeed, 70% of economic activity would be weather-sensitive. In other words, more than half of businesses and sectors see their activity vary according to weather conditions. Agriculture, construction, retail, tourism, transport and energy are climate-dependent sectors. Agriculture is an example of this because climatic conditions have a direct impact on agricultural production. Thus, extreme temperatures can kill an entire production. One thinks in particular of cold waves, creating spring frost with a catastrophic impact on vineyards.


Cold wave: Employers, pay attention to your employees,Ministry of Labour, Employment and Integration, press release of 10 February 2021

Cold, Ministry of Labour, Employment and Integration, updated on 10 February 2021

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