Q What kind of clothing should construction workers wear in the winter?
If you’ve been a construction worker for more than a few years, you know the importance of having a warm, windproof coat in the winter. However, protective gear goes far beyond just coats, gloves and boots—and in many instances, proper winter gear can prevent a worker from suffering a serious injury on the job.
Winter Clothing Tips for Construction Workers
- Multiple layers. “Bundling up” is an effective way of preventing heat loss injuries, but only if a worker wears several layers of clothing. Wearing a single fleece liner to retain heat may reduce bulk, but it also increases the possibility of excessive sweating, leading to faster dehydration. Choose an inner layer that wicks sweat away from the skin, with two more easily removable layers on top.
- Warm socks. Instead of one pair of thick socks, construction workers may benefit from wearing two pairs of cotton socks, as this allows them to change pairs if their feet become too damp. This will help to keep their feet warm and dry throughout the day to prevent hypothermia, nerve damage or trenchfoot.
- Hats. All workers should get snugly-fitting wool caps or liners that fit under their hard hats to reduce heat loss. These caps should cover the ears and have additional optional face protection in case of strong winds or excessive cold.
- Gloves with grips. Your gloves should properly insulate your fingers, but not compromise your grip or dexterity. Gloves that have fully-tipped rubber grips are most effective, but if temperatures fall below -17 degrees, workers should opt for insulated mittens for best protection.
- Insulated jackets. A good jacket is warm, waterproof, and tightly woven to prevent wind exposure. All buckles and zippers should close completely, and you should carry hand-warming packs in the pockets. If the jacket is not reflective, make sure to wear a high-visibility tunic over it.
- Insulated boots. Workers should have well-fitting, waterproof boots that have hard soles. Traction is severely reduced on icy platforms and wet ladders, so make sure your boots have proper traction or cleats. Both leather-topped boots and boots with canvas uppers can be waterproofed; however, most shoes will need to be re-sealed at least once a year.
Is someone you love helping to build a housing complex this winter? Send them a link to this article on Facebook to make sure they bundle up while doing work in freezing temperatures.