WINTER IS COMING—KEEP WORKERS WARM WITH HEATED GEAR
The cold, the dry, the wet and the wild
The Farmers' Almanac warns of a brutal 2017-2018 winter and has dubbed it as “The cold, the dry, and the wet, and the wild.” If you are one of the 16 million people who watch Game of Thrones, you’ve seen just how harsh and dangerous a cold winter can be.
Today’s winter work wear has truly evolved since the late medieval days when animal fur and plate armor provided warmth and protection during a cold winter. Safety professionals have many apparel choices to keep workers safe from the dangers of over exposure to harsh weather conditions. One way to turn up the heat this winter is choosing battery-powered heated jackets.
Dangers workers face in extreme weather conditions
Cold weather can endanger lives and destroy the well-being of workers whose jobs put them in the midst of frigid temperatures and extreme weather conditions. According to OSHA, protective clothing is recommended for work at or below 4 degrees Celsius or below 39.2 degrees Fahrenheit.
If outdoor workers are outfitted with proper PPE, their risks of getting hypothermia, frostbite, or catching a cold are greatly diminished. Bad weather and storms often limit visibility, so if the PPE has high-visibility features, such as reflective tape, the risk of being struck by a vehicle is also decreased. A side benefit of wearing proper PPE in harsh elements is that workers are more comfortable, which helps to improve performance and productivity.
Battery-powered heated gear delivers unparalleled comfort to users
One innovation in cold weather technology is battery-powered heated gear frequently available as heated jackets, hoodies, and vests. Often powered by 20V lithium-ion batteries, heated jackets feature carbon fiber heating elements that distribute heat to core body areas, such as the neck, chest, waist, and middle back.
Heated gear commonly includes a built-in LED controller that allows the wearer to adjust the jacket’s temperature setting to high, medium, or low. This feature allows workers to adjust the warmth of the jacket or vest based on changing weather conditions or on their level of exertion or activity.
Many heated apparel in the marketplace, such as DEWALT® Heated Jackets, can provide up to nine hours of core body warmth and are designed with durable fabrics that are wind and/or water resistant, depending on the style. The battery component features a USB power port for charging portable electronics, such as a smart phone or iPad. Plus, select styles of DEWALT heated jackets are designed with gusseted underarm areas and stretch articulated backs that allow for free range of motion and ease of mobility, which is very important to workers.
Winter is coming—prepare today to keep workers safe, productive and comfortable
Before the winter season begins, hold a safety meeting and discuss hypothermia, frostbite, and cold stress first aid with your workers. This would be a good time to discuss inclement weather policy and to hand out winter gear to your work crew. Keeping workers warm and dry with carefully chosen safety gear will improve morale and lead to improved productivity on winter jobsites. Leading manufacturers of PPE have product champions and safety specialists who can help you carefully choose your winter safety gear.