The calendar doesn’t lie: winter is coming. We’re well into autumn now, and the nights have turned chilly. As the season progresses, the mercury is going to be falling steadily over the next few months, down to freezing, the single digits, and even beyond. Suffice to say: it’s going to get COLD. Working outside, up a few floors off the ground–you’re going to be feeling those low temps, and the even more brutal cold that comes with wind chill. You’re going to need to know how to protect yourself from those harsh temps. Even if you think you know how to keep yourself insulated, the weather can get extreme pretty quick. It’s best to take some time to review the basics so you can keep yourself out of danger.
As with any insulation, the aim is to conserve heat by finding and eliminating areas that are exposed to the outside elements. Finding these openings in your clothing, just like finding openings in a building, can go a long way towards keeping heat trapped in and around your body, which is where you want it.
With that in mind, here are seven clothing tips you can use to help keep yourself as insulated as possible from the cold:
1. Thermal insulated coveralls
These coveralls are, without a doubt, the best thing you can do to protect yourself from the cold. These coveralls are designed to cover virtually your entire body, from head to toe, and insulate you from the cold. Yes, the good ones can be a bit expensive, but if you work outside, it will be worth it, no matter how much you end up spending.
2. Helmet liners
Even though the myth that we lose a majority of our body heat through our heads has been debunked, it is still true that a cold head or neck can make you miserable and start your shivering. A helmet liner worn under your hard hat is an excellent way to keep your head and neck warm. Many helmet liners are made of fleece or other comfortable fabrics that are easy to wear and help keep your head and neck warm. Combined with the wind-breaking action of a hard hat, a helmet liner makes for an effective one-two punch in combatting cold temperatures. Make sure to get some spares and wash them regularly to prevent odor or disease.
3. Wrap-around eye protection
Many irritating and potentially dangerous situations caused by cold on a job site are directly related to a lack of appropriate eye covering. Eyes are protected by a thin mucous membrane, and unprotected eyeballs quickly dry out, becoming irritated and sore. This is not only annoying but can cause potential hazards due to a loss of vision. In addition, eyes are an area where viruses and bacteria that thrive in cold temperatures can enter the body, causing you to become ill. Wrap-around protection prevents these problems, and at the same time helps to preserve body heat.
Scarves are great for protecting your neck from heat loss. As they are easily removable, they are also a great way to regulate your own temperature as you heat up or cool down, depending on the conditions of the job\
Keeping your fingers warm is necessary–both for your own protection, but also for your job. That’s why buying the right pair of gloves is crucial. You need to buy gloves with suitable fabrics and textures for your job, but they should also be large enough to let you use a liner inside for even more insulation. Usually, gloves like this might be a little larger, but with the improvements they’ve made in technology and design, don’t be afraid to try on many pairs before finding the perfect ones for your situation.
Probably nothing makes you more miserable than cold feet. That’s why it’s important to protect your feet with insulated boots and thermal socks. Your toes are another area that can experience significant heat loss. Steel-toed boots can make this situation worse, as the metal can freeze rapidly. Keep your feet out of the wind and stand on warmer, less heat-conducting surfaces such as wood to help minimize the heat loss.
7. Skin cream
If, after following these tips, you still have areas of exposed skin, then make sure to stock up on skin creams and moisturizers. These can help to create an effective barrier against the cold and the resulting drying out of your skin, which can lead to chapped lips, wind burn, rashes, and other potentially damaging or irritating conditions.
In addition to these tips, remember that it is important to do everything you can for you and your employees to stay safe this winter. Check your insurance policy and company protocols. Be aware of emergency contact information. Have a safety meeting and explain these procedures so everyone can have the information they need to stay warm. And don’t worry too much–spring will be here before you know it!