The winters are becoming colder, which means that working outdoors in the construction field has become more challenging. Arctic temperatures not only make work conditions extremely uncomfortable, but they can become deadly if the proper precautions are not taken. Before construction workers head out into the cold to do the job, it is important that they know how to protect themselves from the cold and prevent serious injuries.
Many people mistakenly think that layering means putting on a lot of protective clothing to keep out the cold. However, layering, when done properly, offers comprehensive protection from weather-related conditions such as frostbite.
The sweat that builds up during construction work can become dangerous during cold weather. That is why the first layer a construction worker wears is made up of cotton or other materials that can remove the sweat from the skin. The second layer is the insulation layer that protects from the cold and that can be made up of wool or down. The outer layer is the protective shell that keeps out the moisture and cuts down on the effects of the wind.
When the weather is four degrees Fahrenheit and above, construction workers should be wearing durable gloves made of latex or horsehide to protect from the cold. When the weather gets really cold, it is time to switch to wool mittens.
Gloves offer great protection, but they do not allow the fingers to be grouped together and create heat. In the really cold weather, mittens allow the fingers to generate heat and the wool helps to trap the heat to keep the hands warmer.
A worker’s socks and boots work together in the cold weather to completely protect the feet from frostbite. Once again, wool is a worker’s friend in the winter as thick wool socks will be the best way to protect the feet from the cold and maintain comfort. If the boots are not properly treated, then the feet will get wet and create a lot of problems.
Waterproofing construction boots starts at the beginning of fall when the weather starts to get wet. The worker should treat the boots with water-resistant materials until the boots are able to remain waterproof throughout the workday. A quality water-resistant spray should be used, and the worker should follow the instructions on the container to make sure to apply the material correctly.
The Outer Shell
Earlier this article mentioned the importance of the outer shell in an effective layering scheme to protect against the cold. It is important for a worker to understand what that outer shell is made of to get the best results. An outer shell should be water-resistant as well as allow for proper airflow. A shell made from materials such as Gore-Tex or eVent will help to protect against the moisture, and it will also breathe properly to allow movement and protection from the wind.
If you own a construction company, then it is essential to understand how to protect your workers from the cold. PDH Contractors has a library of information you can use to understand how to protect your workers in a variety of conditions, including the severe cold. You can also start a course with PDH Contractors to renew your construction license or take the necessary courses to upgrade your license to the next level.