There are many forms of construction equipment on the market today, all of which serve a specific purpose. In this installment of a four-part series, the topic is weather wear. Winter and summer each bring their own general challenges. Knowing what to wear on a job site during hot and cold months can make all the difference in the amount and quality of work completed. Here we will discuss tips for staying cool in the summer and staying warm in the winter.
Heating for Frigid Winter Temps
Winter weather can be extremely dangerous if you are unprepared. Blizzards, snow storms, ice storms, white-outs, sub-zero temperatures, all of these can lead to accidents and hypothermia. Wearing the appropriate clothing, likely in layers, is key to not only completing the task at hand, but surviving the elements.
A quick rundown of items that are key to staying warm includes full face masks, thermal pants and socks, glove liners, fur-lined insoles, eye goggles, and hard hat liners. As always, review the manufacturer’s instructions prior to using a liner with your hard hat to ensure a proper fit. You don’t want frostbite, but you also don’t want a cracked skull!
Another option, while a bit pricier, offers additional heat: heated garments. There are hoodies, vests, insoles, under-shirts, hand warmers for inside gloves, heated beanie’s and socks. Almost all of these products produce their own heat via carbon fibers. ConstructionProTips.com put together a list of top 10 products for people who have to work in the cold. These products, while pricier than their non-heated counterparts, are all rechargeable and for most products, a single charge lasts the majority of the day.
Another tip would be to keep an emergency thermal blanket (or five) on the job site somewhere. Winter weather is fickle and can change at the drop of a hat, so there’s no such thing as being over-prepared!
Cooling for Summer Heat
Finding gear for warming up is much easier than finding gear for cooling down. In the winter, you can always layer when all else fails. But in summer, you can only remove so many layers before things get awkward. Your best bet is to research the latest technology and clothing items on the market each year before the season starts. Heat stroke is real, and can be dangerous. Appropriate clothing is imperative.
For example, WorkWearCommand.com put together a list of the top five best summer work pants. Most of the items include lightweight fabric (lightest was 7oz fabric), and cotton is always recommended in warm weather for its breathability. They also put together a list of the top five best work T-shirts for summer, most of which are short-sleeved and cotton.
There is also a company called Arctic Cool which has created cooling technology for a line of clothing. It’s more expensive than traditional clothing, but it is designed to keep you cool and has been tested on professional athletes for effectiveness. They offer a few reflective designs so that work can continue after dark and you still won’t overheat. They also offer headbands, towels, caps and gaiters as accessories.
Whether you’re looking to cool down in the summer or heat up in the winter, there are a few key things to remember with weather wear. First, always dress for the job at hand. Safety is paramount and clothing should not impact safety. Second, always check with manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines before wearing something that affects how other equipment works. For example, hard hat liners. Whether for cooling or heating, if it changes how the hard hat fits, it’s a problem. Always verify that what you are doing doesn’t go against manufacturer's guidelines.
Finally, while it may seem like a good idea to wear shorts and short sleeves in the summer, it really depends on your specific job. Exposing skin creates more surface area for cuts, lacerations, burns and other injuries. Be very aware of what you are doing on a job site when you get dressed in the morning. Dress for your job first, weather second. Weather wear is important to your safety and livelihood on the job!