How To Dress For Cold Weather
It’s that time of year again! The weather has taken a nose dive for the low 20s and 30s and cold weather warnings have been running rampant across Canada. People often don’t think about clothing when thinking about safety, but it really is an extremely important facet of work safety, especially when you work in a sector like Heavy Civil AND when you work in the conditions like we do in Alberta. Clothing is a huge aspect of work safety!
Some dress with heavy clothing that is too cumbersome to move, limiting range of motion. With limited range of motion, shortcuts are taken. When shortcuts are taken, accidents happen. Others dress too lightly and become cold quickly. When people get cold, they rush. When they rush, careless mistakes get made. When careless mistakes get made, accidents happen. The bottom line is the less comfortable you are, which includes being extremely cold, the more likely you are to have an accident or injury.
There are four main aspects to dressing warm: your base layer, your middle layer, your outer layer, and your extremities. Your inner layer should primarily be concerned with getting rid of moisture or sweat and should typically be made of polypropylene, wool, blends or 100% cotton.
The middle layer acts as an insulator and should be something like a heavy fleece or sweatshirt. It should be something that regulates the air flow can get into your overall layering system. The focus here is to keep your core warm.
The outer layer is simply something that should be resistant towards wind, rain, and snow. With these three layers in all in sync, and working together, you should have no problem keeping your core warm.
The last aspect you have to worry about is your extremities. A great deal of heat can be lost through your hands, fingers, head, toes and ears. Proper extremity coverage includes warm socks, gloves, some type of headwear to keep your head warm and something to cover your ears.
Being warm & comfortable makes you happier, gives you a clearer head, you don’t rush, and you get the job done safely and right the first time.