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The science of keeping warm in cold weather

It is vital to keep warm in cold weather. Not only is it not healthy but cold workers can be at risk of making poor safety choices. Here are some tips and new products to help you stay warm and safe.

With the unpredictable weather this year, we may be in for another cold snap.

The bad news about this is that not only does the cold weather increase risks such as slips and falls, but longer exposure to the cold can have other serious health implications, including increased risk of heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia, depression, worsening arthritis and increased accidents (associated with loss of strength and dexterity in the hands). This is particularly true for older people.

In addition to this, the onset of hypothermia can cause accidents in the workplace. Early symptoms include changes such as amnesia, confusion, slurred speech, decreased reflexes, and loss of fine motor skills.

The good news is that if you wear the right gear and take deliberate actions to fend of the cold, staying warm enough to enjoy yourself in almost any weather isn’t a problem.

Here are some key tips

  • Eating regularly helps keep you warm along with regular hot drinks. Eating snacks rather than one big meal will ensure all the blood doesn’t rush to your stomach. Also staying hydrated helps you to keep warm as it keeps your circulation working well.

  • Keep the office warm

Have a warm space where outdoor workers can regularly take breaks and access hot drinks.

There’s no law for minimum or maximum working temperatures, eg when it’s too cold or too hot to work.

However, guidance suggests a minimum of 16ºC or 13ºC if employees are doing physical work.

There’s no guidance for a maximum temperature limit.

Employers must stick to health and safety at work law, including:

  • keeping the temperature at a comfortable level

  • providing clean and fresh air

Find out more at this link:

  • Stay active

Circulation tends to decrease when you sit still. Try to keep moving when you are indoors, try not to sit still for more than an hour or so. Break up your time spent being inactive by walking around your home or standing up from your chair when you are on the phone. To keep fingers warm, pump your fists, wave your arms around, or generally try to keep your limbs moving. Keeping your hands below your heart will also help.

  • Stay dry

Waterproof layers can keep external moisture, and also the wind out. But, you also need to be careful of moisture. I.e. perspiration that your own body produces.

This jacket has a 280g fleece lining that keeps in heat, is waterproof while being made from breathable fabric to draw moisture away from the body keeping the wearer cool, dry and comfortable.

Wear several layers of light clothes. Several thin layers of clothing will keep you warmer than one thick layer as the layers trap warm air. Bit this also allows you more control over body temperature if you move between different environments so you sweat less.

These thermal long johns create a layer of warmth around the lower body. The soft poly-cotton fibres and fabric knitting mean that heat is trapped in. Cuffed hem and elasticated waist provide a comfortable fit.

In addition, wear breathable materials that won’t trap moisture next to the skin.

  • Keep extremities warm

Some of the hardest parts to keep warm on most people are your fingers, toes, ears, and nose – these parts of the bodies are more exposed and also they’re not crucial to survival so the body redirects heat to vital organs when temperatures drop.They also have higher surface-to-volume ratios than other body parts.

Cold, stiff hands can lead to accidents due to loss of dexterity and strength.

Cold feet too can lead to more trips and falls.

What to do:

Wear hats, gloves, socks and boots that fit well.

Fingers, toes and ears tend to have blood vessels that are easily compressed. If we constrict blood vessels by wearing too tight of fitting clothes, we get cold, so, wearing good-fitting gloves, hats, socks and boots is important. Make sure you can move your fingers and toes. Ideally your PPE will be snug enough to fit well and allow you to carry out tasks but not so tight they constrict circulation.

Here are some products that can be useful to consider:

As always our sales team are here to offer help and advice when it comes to your requirements and products that can help to keep your workplace safe and comfortable. Call 01726 74264 or email for advice and information


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