Employees should wear insulating, waterproof personal protective equipment (PPE) when working outside in the cold. PIP makes winter PPE for hardworking professionals, including warming vests, liners, and durable, high-visibility outer layers for staying dry. These items should be maintained and replaced as needed to remain effective.
Working outdoors in cold temperatures can put your health and safety at risk. The human body will start to shut down when it runs out of heat, leading to hypothermia and frostbite. Keeping warm in the winter also consumes more energy, fatiguing workers on a cold day.
Protective Industrial Products (PIP) is a leading manufacturer of winter PPE for all types of workers. The company offers cutting-edge warming gear to reduce the impact of the cold without limiting the worker’s range of motion. PK Safety sells PIP PPE for winter to help professionals stay warm in every situation.
What are the Safety Requirements for Working in Cold Weather?
Anyone working in a cold environment should wear extreme weather PPE to avoid putting themselves in harm’s way. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) doesn’t require employers to provide workers with “ordinary clothing,” including items that protect against severe weather. However, all employees have a right to a safe work environment. Many companies provide winter PPE to their staff in addition to the items they bring from home. Workers should wear multiple layers, including personal items, that insulate them from the cold.
The company is responsible for educating workers on the risks of working in cold temperatures. Managers should also help the staff find suitable winter clothing for the task.
PIP Winter PPE Gear
OSHA recommends wearing at least three layers of loose-fitting clothing when working in cold conditions. If clothing is too tight, it will restrict blood flow, increasing the risk of frostbite.
The innermost layer should be light and made of moisture-wicking or synthetic fabric to keep workers dry. The middle should be another layer, like fleece, for additional insulation. The outer layer should be moisture-proof and large enough to allow ventilation.
- Heated Apparel
PIP offers two lightweight heating devices to warm the most crucial parts of the body. Both are lightweight and designed to fit underneath other layers.
The Therm™ Heated Vest comes with three warming layers depending on the user’s comfort level. It is remote-controlled with a rechargeable battery. The vest warms the core of the body to prevent cold stress.
The Therm™ Heated Glove Liner fits under the gloves and around the forearm for improved circulation. It reduces the risk of frostbite and helps workers retain complete control of their hands in the field.
- Hand Protection
PIP sells a range of cold weather work gloves for specific applications, including thermal, insulated options for working in frigid temperatures and MaxiDry Ultra-Lightweight Nitrile Gloves for staying dry in wet conditions.
Workers can use PIP heat pack hand warmers for extra support. They can carry the packets in their pocket if they need to warm up quickly without going indoors.
The ground can be slick in the winter. Even small drops of liquid will freeze when the temperature dips below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. All employee footwear should be insulated, waterproof, and slip-resistant to prevent trips and falls. The staff should also wear warm, insulating socks underneath their boots. The PIP Slush Boots are made to stay dry in the soggiest conditions.
- Eye Protection
White snow bounces sunlight directly into the eyes, reducing visibility — this is known as snow blindness. Workers should wear special UV eye protection when working in sunny winter environments. The PIP Bouton Anser Blue Mirror Safety Glasses minimize glare and UV rays. Each pair comes with a cord that wraps around the neck so it won’t get lost. The company also makes anti-fog eyewear to prevent the person’s breath from clouding the glass.
- Head Protection
Heat escapes out of the head in cold weather. Workers must wear a hat or head protection underneath additional safety gear, such as hard hats for construction sites. The PIP Fleece Liner with Shell insulates the area around the person’s face. The PIP Polyester Fleece Liner comes with a drawstring to seal in the air.
If workers need to remove the head layer quickly throughout the day, the PIP Zip On/Off Liner with a flame-resistant outer shell is easy to take on and off.
- High Visibility Clothing
Winter can bring heavy snow, fog, and sleet, making it hard for workers to see. The staff should wear high-visibility winter PPE to keep track of their hands and each other.
For the outermost layer, the PIP Bomber Jacker with Fleece Liner is an excellent option for staying visible in the field. It pairs with the PIP Class E Trip Over Pant that fits over other pants and long underwear.
Maintaining Winter PPE
PIP is known for making durable winter workwear, but the clothing must be maintained and replaced when necessary. If workers are taking garments home to clean, they should follow the manufacturer’s guidelines when laundering the clothing. Improper washing could reduce its protective properties, making it less effective.
All winter PPE should be inspected at the end and start of every shift. Ripped or torn items should be removed from rotation and repaired or replaced. The gear must be stored in a dry, clean environment to prevent wear and tear.
Working in Cold Weather: Know the Risks
Winter PPE can only do so much to prevent injury and illness. Companies should do everything they can to reduce the risks by scheduling work during the warmest hours of the day. The cold doesn’t affect everyone equally. Some individuals are more susceptible to the cold due to existing health issues, increasing their risk of cold stress.
Managers and staff should watch out for symptoms of cold stress and frostbite so they can seek medical assistance when necessary. If someone is injured, the company should have medical products for treating frostbite on-site to reduce additional harm. There should also be a warming tent or climate-controlled indoor space nearby with blankets and warm beverages in case of emergency.
Everyone on-site should be aware of the risks of working in the cold. If someone doesn’t have the proper gear to stay warm, they shouldn’t be outside. Workers can speak up or file a complaint with OSHA if they feel the work is unsafe.
Working outdoors in the winter can be harsh on the body, but these PIP products will help you stay warm in any weather. Find the right gear and cold weather safety tips before the coldest months arrive.