Winter is coming and with it, brutal working conditions. From frigid temperatures to frozen or slick work surfaces, this season holds abundant dangers for any profession that requires workers to be outside. Fortunately, with the right knowledge, you can stay warm and safe, even when the weather is against you.
- Choose the right fabrics. Avoid materials like cotton and goose down, which can be warm when dry but are ineffective when wet. Instead choose light layers made of fabrics that retain warmth even when wet, like wool, polyester fleece, and polypropylene.
- Layer, layer, layer. Why is layering so important? Because several lighter layers are better at keeping you warm than one thick layer, and it’s much easier to adjust your temperature if you’re too warm, by shedding a layer. Your first layer should be long underwear, made of a fabric that wicks moisture away from the skin, and socks. Don’t be afraid to layer your socks: thin socks covered in thicker wool socks are very effective at keeping feet toasty in all kinds of weather. Follow this with a light insulating mid-layer, pants, and a long sleeved shirt, light fleece, or thin wool sweater. Next comes the insulation layer, with several inches of warm thickness to trap heat in the body. Finish with a windproof, waterproof shell layer, which doesn’t have insulation, but can protect from the elements and add as much as twenty-five degrees of warmth.
- Keep everything covered. A hat is essential for keeping your head and ears warm, and if you must wear a helmet, go for one that’s fleece-lined. Wear wool lined gloves, a scarf or neck gator, insulated boots, and wrap around eye protection, and use hand and feet warmers. For the skin that must be exposed, use skin crème, moisturizer, or barrier creams to prevent frostbite.
- Fuel up. Make sure to eat, being mindful of the fact that working outdoors burns extra calories. It’s best to eat six to eight snack meals instead of two heavy meals and get about half of your nutrition from carbohydrates. Cheese, butter, and meats are also good choices in winter because their fat content helps keep your body warm. Drink plenty of water, but avoid caffeine and alcohol, which can restrict the body’s ability to heat
- Watch out for each other. Keep an eye on members of your team, and encourage anyone who is shivering to take a break and get warm. Using the buddy system is a great way to promote workplace safety and make sure no one suffers ill effects from the weather.
At Work-n-Wear, we are committed to helping workers stay safe and warm, and that’s one reason we provide protective gear with competitive pricing and an extensive inventory. Family owned and operated, we have been equipping customers in Salem, Oregon for work for over 20 years. Stop by and check out our huge selection of workwear, or learn more about all we have to offer by calling 503.364.3064 or contacting us through the website.