Improve safety by dressing for the weather

In the August issue of Occupational Health & Safety, Paul Aiken with Helly
Hansen Inc.'s WorkWear Division offers some tips on the appropriate clothing
and fabric types for working in adverse conditions.

Wearing the right apparel in hot, wet, or cold conditions can help a worker
stay productive and safe. When workers' bodies overheat or drastically cool, it
can affect their concentration and performance. Wearing the right apparel can
help employees maintain productivity and safety no matter what the weather.

What matters is not how much you wear, but what you wear to stay dry and
comfortable while working in hot, wet, or cold conditions. When a workers' body
overheats or drastically cools, it makes him or her lose concentration and
greatly affects his performance. Wearing the right apparel helps with
productivity and safety.

Dressing for the occasion is especially important in environments where workers
are exposed to harsh weather conditions for long durations.

Layering is the key to staying dry, warm, and safe in adverse conditions.
Typically, a three-layer system of dress provides a comfortable level of warmth
for workers who spend hours at a time outside in colder conditions.

For workers who spend hours at a time outside in colder conditions, layering is
the key to staying dry, warm and safe, according to Aiken. The layers should

  • A close-fitting base layer that moves perspiration away from the skin,
    keeping it dry and warm

  • A thermal layer designed to insulate the body from the cold and help the
    base layer move excess moisture away from the body

  • An outer protection layer to shield the body from rain, wind and cold

Some fabrics work better than others for each layer and for various adverse
conditions workers may encounter. For instance, Aiken notes, while cotton
T-shirts are a popular choice for warm weather, they're the wrong things to
wear next to the skin in wet conditions.

Further Information

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