The best winter clothing will meet several requirements.
Speci;cally, it will:
• Absorb sweat;
• Deflect wind;
• Be lightweight;
• Be waterproof;
• Be warm and insulating;
• Be durable;
• Be comfortable and easy to wear.
You’ll also want to keep your clothing clean and dry. Dirty
work clothes lose their insulating properties as the available
air space between the ;bers ;lls up with dirt. Wet clothing
conducts heat away from your body 25 percent more readily
than dry clothing.
Wear layers as needed, based on the weather and your local
climate. Also remember that more than 50 percent of your
heat loss occurs through your head. So, don’t forget a cap.
Wear layers as needed, based
on the weather and your local
climate. Also remember that
more than 50 percent of your
heat loss occurs through your
head. So, don’t forget a cap.
Providing clothing that will keep employees warm is the
right thing to do. However, be careful of articles of clothing
that introduce other safety issues. Hoods can block vision.
Gloves can make levers and other controls dif;cult to operate. Glasses can fog up. Also, some cold-weather gear may
not be highly visible to others or offer any ;ame resistance.
Require all employees to carry a complete change of cold-weather clothes, including footwear.
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The body’s metabolism speeds up in the cold—as much
as 50 percent, depending upon activity level and the severity
of the cold. High-energy foods will provide the fuel your body
needs to continue to produce the required amount of heat.
Other cold-weather nutritional tips include the following:
• Drink enough fluids. Dehydration can contribute to body-heat regulation problems. Choose ;uids that are warm,
caffeine-free and non-alcoholic.
• Limit or eliminate tobacco use. Nicotine is a vasoconstrictor. It will complicate the regulation of body
• Know what medications and medical conditions
your employees have. Medications can also cause
Consider alternating periods of work and rest. Retreating
to a warm area will allow the body temperature to return
to normal. The area should be warm enough to allow the
employee to remove his or her outer clothing. This will
allow the evaporation of sweat from the base layers.
Sitting on the ground or other cold surfaces, especially
metal, speeds up heat loss. So, eliminate opportunities for
this sort of conductive heat loss. In some cases, direct contact
with cold metal objects can freeze skin almost immediately.
Insulate these areas prior to contact.
Shield work areas from the wind. Vehicles, tarps and buildings all may help to eliminate this source of body heat loss.
Healthy people often ignore the ;rst signs of cold-related
injury and illness. They think they are immune to the risk.
This con;dence is misplaced. Cold is a risk to everyone. And
even relatively mild temperatures can cause hypothermia.
Be informed. Be responsible. Watch for signs and
symptoms of hypothermia in yourself and others. Train and
equip your team to do the same.