The coldest places on earth to work as a tradie

Tradies have to be a tough bunch to work outside at the mercy of the elements – boiling hot in summer and freezing cold in winter, not to mention torrential rain.

Cold and rainy weather, in particular, brings with it additional safety risks, including slip hazards, frostbite, hypothermia and trench foot.

Cold hands also have reduced dexterity and performance due to the loss of sensation and fine motor skills.

Fogging in safety eyewear, wind and flooding hazards on construction sites, not to mention catching a cold or flu – the list goes on.

In response to the increased dangers, businesses and workers should take a proactive approach to keeping warm, reducing risk and deciding when it’s no longer safe to work.

And to help put things in perspective, we’ve rounded up a few of the coldest places in the world where you can use your trade.


Construction work tends to suffer in the winter, particularly when high winds and cold temperatures make it difficult or unsafe to work.

In 2015, the construction industry in Ontario, Canada experienced increased work delays due to a harsher winter than usual.

The coldest February on record saw not a single day above 0°C, with lost work days increasing to two per week compared to the usual four days per month.

In such inhospitable conditions, workers were often kept inside or assigned different tasks, causing delays in projects.

Additionally, high winds made using hoists and cranes too dangerous, while cold weather made it difficult to bend rebar and pour concrete.


In a country with an average annual temperature of 5°C, winter in Iceland is no joke, with only five hours of daylight a day and average temperatures below 0°C.

To cope with the lack of sunlight in winter, construction companies set up lighting both inside and outside on-site, increasing electricity use significantly, although green energy makes this cheaper than it would be in other countries.

Despite these extra provisions, the construction industry has boomed in Iceland in recent years, with a wave of hotels being built in Reykjavík, now set to be followed by numerous apartment buildings.

Oymyakon, Russia

Once home to labour camps in the Soviet Union, the Oymyakon district in Russian Siberia is widely considered to be the coldest permanently inhabited place on earth.

Record low temperatures reached -67.7°C in 1933, while average temperatures for the winter months sit at -50°C, though can drop below -60°C.

Oymyakon’s economy is largely supported by its mines, as is the case for much of Siberia, which is home to over 220 mines.

The effect of climate change is opening up more opportunities and improving accessibility to mineral deposits.

However, conditions are still harsh: miners in Oymyakon’s Badran gold mine work in temperatures of -15°C to -20°C, although that may seem warm compared to the above ground climate.


No list of the coldest places on earth is complete without Antarctica, where Australia operates three research stations, Casey, Davis and Mawson.

While temperatures at these stations can fall below -40°C in winter, the coldest station is the Japanese-operated Dome Fuji, with its record low temperature of -93.2°C in 2010.

Regardless of the location, plenty of tradies work in Antarctica helping to install and maintain vital infrastructure and equipment.

From plumbers, riggers and carpenters to mechanics, engineers and electricians, there are many opportunities to use your trade in Antarctica.

You may even pick up some medical skills and put them to good use treating patients as these tradies did.

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