Now that winter is approaching; it’s time to think about the risks of working outside in the cold temperatures. Cold weather is not just uncomfortable, but can be dangerous if you don’t take proper precautions, as the cold makes your body work harder to maintain its internal temperature. When preparing for working in cold weather, there are a few rules of thumb to keep yourself safe while working , like staying hydrated, taking breaks when the weather is extremely harsh, and using skin creams on any exposed skin. However, protective clothing is the most critical to keeping yourself safe and healthy during the winter months. Here are a few pieces of clothing that will keep you warm and avoid cold stress, hypothermia, and frostbite:
A good hat or a hood will keep the rest of your body warmer too. If you wear a hard hat at work, you can wear helmet liners, which are great for retaining your neck and head heat all at once.
Don’t forget to protect your eyes! The cold weather, including dry air and wind, can dry your eyes out. Any wraparound protection for your eyes will also retain some body heat.
Layering your clothing is a great way to get additional insulation. As the weather gets worse or better throughout the day, adding or taking off a layer is easy. Bringing an extra change of clothes is also an excellent way to keep warm in case you get wet. There is nothing more dangerous than working in freezing weather in damp clothing.
There is a wide variety of thermal products, from thermal socks to gloves and underwear to coveralls. Socks come in double-thermal layers and pair well with insulated boots. If you get new boots, make sure their tread is durable so you can avoid slipping on ice. (Using sand, rock salt, or even cat litter also helps with traction on ice!) Appropriate gloves are invaluable to anyone working outside this winter, but you can try to find gloves that can fit with a liner. Typically, safety gloves have a Thinsulate™ lining, which won’t restrict your range of motion, and have a rubberized, water-resistant palm. Thermal underwear is a classic wintertime essential because they are tried and true, and now there are moisture-wicking varieties as well. Thermal coveralls are also terrific for working in the cold weather because they save your core heat without restricting your range of motion.
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