PPE to protect heads and faces in cold weather

In winter, working outside can be difficult because exposure to the cold over long periods can make even simple tasks difficult, increasing safety risks. Here are some of our tips for keeping your head and face warm whilst benefiting from PPE protection:


Concentration and normal movement can be adversely affected, even in temperatures that are not freezing. This can result in hazards and increased safety risks to the individual and the wider team. Of course, prolonged exposure can also result in very serious conditions such as hypothermia.


That’s why it is important to think about PPE which provides insulation as well as protection from injury. Most people think of insulation for the core body, hands and feet but it is easy to forget the head and face, particularly if wearing PPE such as a hard hat.

It’s common to hear that you lose around 45-50% of your heat through your head. In fact, this myth is so common, even the US military field manual has previously used this statistic. However, according to the British Medical Journal, only around 7-10% of your body heat is lost through your head. The reason we may feel more adversely affected by the cold with an exposed head is because the scalp contains blood vessels particularly close to the surface of the skin. If your body is insulated effectively but your head and face are not, your body’s core temperature will drop far more rapidly than you would expect.


The good news is that you do not have to compromise PPE protection just to stay warm.

Here are some tips:


Don’t be tempted to wear your hard hat over a hood or beanie hat.

Whilst this might seem like a sensible option to keep warm, this means your hard hat won’t be secured and it can easily slip off. Instead opt for a hard hat liner that can be worn underneath, making sure your hard hat is still secure.

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