Keeping yourself dry and warm when working on a building site, or other outdoor based industry, is essential for comfort, but more importantly, safety. Enjoy and safe and productive winter at work by following these tips:
Make sure all people on site are aware of the dangers extremely cold weather can present. Try and avoid lone working situations, having workers keeping an eye out for each other can prevent a worker falling and starting to suffer from hypothermia unnoticed.
Know What You’re Looking For
Train all staff to know what the first symptoms of hypothermia and frostbite are. Shivering, confusion, lack of coordination and shallow breathing are all signs of hypothermia. Frostbite normally occurs at the body’s extremities when the cold temperature has reduced blood flow to those areas. Changes in skin colour and lack of feeling are both tell tale signs.
Prepare for working outside by having at least three layers protecting your body. A thermal base layer capable of wicking away sweat moisture should be covered a fleece style mid layer. A top layer should be suitable for protecting against the elements. The aim is to keep wind and moisture out whilst holding warmth in. Essential Safety Wear sell a good range of thermal wear. Taking the time to make sure all of these layers fit will avoid hindering the worker’s range of movement.
The body can lose heat from all areas, but it is true that keeping the head covered will keep a worker comfortably warm. Using thermal neck scarfs, fleece skull caps under any safety headwear, and ski masks can all help combat cold conditions. Work coats with hoods that cover any other headwear will offer protection from wet weather too.
Protect The Extremities
Hands and feet are the first areas to suffer if the conditions have reduced the bodies ability to keep warm. As the body works harder to protect the core, blood supply to fingers and toes will be reduced. Keeping these areas warm from the outset will contribute to keeping the whole body safely warm. In extreme conditions, consider composite style safety boots, rather than steel (which can act as a ‘cold store’). Depending on the conditions and PPE requirements, thermal gloves, or a thin pair under thicker pair will act as insulation. Wool socks, maybe combined with lined boots will do the same for your feet.
Create A Safe Environment
Outside workers should have regular access to hot food and drinks and have breaks to reduce exposure to extreme conditions. Tasks which require standing or sitting still should be avoided, keeping moving helps generate body warmth. If possible, keep workers shielded from the wind, which can dramatically exaggerate cold weather conditions.
Essential Safety Wear are here to help keep you and your workers safe and warm all year around. Get in touch today for all of your essential winter PPE.
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