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Originally Posted On: Blog – Useful Winter Gear for Construction Workers | Up Side Down Supply
Winter weather can be dangerous in any setting, but particularly on construction sites. Research has shown that extreme temperatures are a consistent contributing factor in construction site injuries. Workers who are exposed to low temperatures without the right winter gear can experience a range of issues, including frostbite and hypothermia.
Cold conditions can also cause the body to use more energy, resulting in fatigue that can increase the risk of trips and falls, and trigger muscle-related injuries. In addition, extreme low temperatures can cause equipment failure-related injuries.
Besides being more hazardous, wintertime is notorious for increased construction inefficiencies. If you don’t guard against these types of injuries, you’ll only see winter weather inefficiencies rise. Fortunately, with the right gear, you can keep your teams safe and warm during the colder months and decrease the chance of accidents. Read on to find out what winter gear you should invest in for cold season construction.
When most people think of winter gear for construction work, they’re most likely picturing jackets and boots. However, when working in construction during the winter, it’s not only the people that need to layer up.
There are many things that can be adversely affected by cold weather. One example is gas cylinders. At very low temperatures, gas cylinders can become unreliable. This is because the cold stops the gas from vaporizing, which in turn wreaks havoc with your pressure levels. Depending on what job your team is on, having a malfunctioning gas cylinder could stall operations severely and result in wasted days on site. To prevent this, construction crews operating in cold temperatures can utilize material warmers from brands like Powerblanket and Arctic Warmers.
Both of these companies manufacture a range of heating and insulating products designed for use on construction sites. This includes gas cylinder heaters, which can control the temperatures of butane, propane, and other compressed gases used on the job. These products provide a uniform heat barrier and optimize container temperatures. Because of this, they can effectively increase cylinder efficiency.
Another popular material warmer on construction sites is the spray foam hose warming sleeve. Spraying foam in cold weather can be fraught with difficulties, including shrinkage, popping, and breakdowns, but this product provides a perfect solution to these issues. As foam travels through the sprayer hose, it is particularly vulnerable to cold ambient temperatures, and by insulating the hose you can minimize many of these common application issues.
Besides cylinder heaters, PowerBlanket and Arctic Warmers also make products like pail heaters, drum heaters, hot boxes, tote heaters, caulk warmers and more. These products can be used to keep materials and supplies at the correct temperature. As many industrial supplies have stringent storage requirements, these winter gear items can save you money on material spoilage, and they also save you time when you need to be most efficient on the job.
High Thrust Caulk Guns
Sometimes material warmers are unavailable on the job, or a particular manufacturer of caulk or epoxy doesn’t recommend raising its temperature before application. When you encounter this situation, a great tool to have on hand is a high-thrust caulk gun that allows for easier application of heavier materials with a higher viscosity.
In colder temperatures when these materials can become thicker and more difficult to apply, using a standard caulk gun can quickly lead to hand fatigue and injuries. Standard caulk guns with lower thrust ratios like 6:1 and 10:1, require much more force behind each pull of the trigger, which can negatively affect a user’s control over where and how much caulk is applied.
High thrust caulk guns featuring thrust ratios of 18:1 or 26:1, on the other hand, allow users to pull the trigger with ease, leading to a faster, more precise application, a higher quality result, and less fatigued employees on the job! Two premium caulk gun brands, Newborn and Albion, both offer various options in the high thrust caulk gun category which are perfect for cold weather work!
Now let’s take a look at some of the winter gear you should invest in for your team to wear.
One of the first things you need to supply your teams with in cold weather is insulating gloves. When working construction during the winter, one’s hands are very vulnerable to frostbite and injury. Cold, stiff hands can also make jobs harder to do, which can, in turn, increase the risk of other injuries and accidents.
Besides being warm and insulating, in most cases, gloves for winter construction should also be waterproof. Wet hands are the enemy in low temperatures, and can easily lead to chilblains and frostbite. If your employees are handling sharp materials like sheet metal or glass, you may also want to opt for an insulated glove with an ANSI cut rating so you can rest assured that they will be protected to the level of cut resistance necessary to stay safe, while keeping warm.
Cold weather gloves are manufactured by many premium glove lines we carry, like Protective Industrial Products, Task Gloves, Radians, and more! Comfortable and safe workers make for an efficient and productive jobsite, so make it a priority to source the best high quality, cold weather gloves for your construction workers.
Tinted Safety Glasses
Are your teams operating in snow and ice? If so, it’s important that you kit them out with tinted safety glasses. Wintertime glare can be very strong, especially if it’s a bright day after some snowfall.
Most construction teams have clear safety glasses on hand, as they are a safety gear essential. However, while clear safety glasses go a long way to protect one’s eyes on the job site, they don’t do anything against glare.
Because of this, team members might be tempted to switch out their safety glasses for dark glasses. Although regular dark glasses do provide some level of protection against debris and eye injuries, they aren’t designed for this purpose.
Therefore it’s wise to ensure that you always keep a stock of tinted safety glasses for your teams. Especially in winter conditions when glare levels are high.
Hard Hat Liners
Most hard hats are engineered to let heat escape rather than retain it. In hot weather, hard hats can be pretty stuffy to wear, if they are not designed this way. However, when winter hits and temperatures drop, hard hats that are designed for heat loss aren’t always the ideal option. Keeping one’s head warm is essential for maintaining optimum body heat levels in cold weather.
To help your workers stay warm under their hard hats, it’s a good idea to provide them with hard hat liners. These can be worn underneath their hard hats, and help to retain heat in cold weather.
Besides stocking up on liners, you might also want to consider getting a stash of hard hat neck shades and brims. These can be invaluable in both the summer and winter months. Although we typically think of summer being the time to take sun protection measures, winter can be just as dangerous when it comes to sunburn. If there is snow and ice present, it can reflect up to 80% of UV rays that reach the ground.
As mentioned earlier, water is the enemy in cold conditions. When working construction during the winter, it’s essential that one doesn’t get wet if the weather turns foul. If you do, the chance of hypothermia increases dramatically.
Therefore, make sure that all employees are equipped with waterproof outerwear. Depending on your uniform policy this might mean buying branded waterproof jackets for your teams. If you do not supply jackets, make sure that all team members come to the site with waterproof outerwear.
If it’s not your policy to supply outerwear, you should still consider keeping a few backup jackets on hand. There is always a possibility that someone arrives at work without their jacket. If the weather turns wet, they can continue working with a company-issued jacket.
Heated clothing is not necessary for a lot of construction environments, even during the peak of winter weather. However, in some cases, battery-powered heated clothing might be something that team members purchase for their own comfort, or that you may wish to purchase for your teams to keep them comfortable outdoors. If it means the difference between being able to work on the job site or not, it might be worth the investment.
Other Tips for Keeping Construction Workers Safe and Warm
Besides equipping your employees with the right winter construction gear, there are also some other measures you can take to keep them warm and safe.
These include the following:
- Supplying hot drinks
- Allowing frequent breaks
- Providing an area where workers can come in out of the cold
- Conducting safety training specific to winter weather
- Providing training on how to spot the signs of frostbite and hyperthermia
- Request that workers monitor the physical condition of themselves and their co-workers
Although some of these measures might seem obvious, they can make a big difference. For instance, frequent breaks are essential in cold weather as the body uses up more energy in the cold and needs to recuperate it. And having team members keep an eye on each other can go a long way to preventing accidents and injury.
It is Important to Make Sure Your Construction Crews Have the Winter Gear They Need
Having the right winter gear on hand is vital if you want to operate an efficient site in winter. Cold workers and materials can lead to injuries, inefficient work, and wasted supplies, so make sure you stock up on everything you need before undertaking cold weather projects.
If you’re wondering where to get your hands on the right supplies, look no further. Here at Up Side Down Supply, we specialize in providing top quality safety products to our customers, including winter construction gear from numerous top quality brands.