Winter weather doesn’t deter our workers, many of whom have rightly developed an appreciation and respect for the cold and the dangers that accompany it. Whether you’re working high up on a tower or on the ground, follow these cold weather tips for maximum protection against the elements.
- Cotton soaks up sweat and water—avoid!
- Keep your core warm. A warm core supplies blood to the rest of your body.
- Hydrate. Water is vital in keeping your body temperature regulated.
- If you start to get cold, put on more layers right away—i.e., don’t tough it out.
- Toe warmers work, but not as an alternative to good socks and boots.
- Face downwind. Your hood is much better at repelling cold than are your face and lungs.
- Unless you have dry gear to put on, don’t strip off wet gear once you’re done working. Your layers are still what are keeping your core warm.
- Try to keep your activity rate low enough to prevent overheating. Once you overheat, you sweat. Sweat freezes which is what makes you cold.
- Layers, layers, layers. Having layers gives you the ability to use your clothes like a thermostat to keep you the perfect temperature. At the end of the day, your base layer should be dry while outer layers may be damp to dripping from having sweat wicked away from inner layers.
- Keep an extra pair of gloves inside your jacket to rotate to when fingers get cold.
- When you feel your arms and legs start to get cold, do a hard shake of each, 10 times each for each limb. The shaking motion forces warmer blood through the veins.
- Be kind to others. Keep a bottle of Febreeze in your gear bag and apply periodically to prevent you and your gear from smelling like… well, just to prevent you from smelling.
Getting cold on the job is a sign of being underprepared. You wouldn’t show up for work without your hard-hat or climbing harness, so don’t show up without your cold weather gear and a plan in place. Stay safe!