Construction workers can be exposed to extreme weather during the winter months. Cold weather can negatively affect a person’s senses; seeing, smelling, feeling. Productivity is difficult when a worker is cold. Therefore, it is important to choose clothing appropriate for the cold weather conditions.
- Always dress in layers with the outer layers loose and the inner layers tighter. This will trap body heat.
- Do not over bundle.
- Use the outer layer of clothing as a windbreaker. This will make the layers underneath more effective.
- Minimize sweat. If the worker gets hot, remove a layer of clothing.
- Avoid getting your clothing wet. Once wet, the clothing will not serve as a good protection from the cold.
- Wear head protection. This will increase your overall warmth. Over half of the body’s heat loss comes from the head.
- Be sure to properly protect your feet. Unless you are moving around, your feet will feel the effects of the cold first. Wool socks help, but 4-buckle overshoes can provide better protection.
- Gloves are very important. Most often a thin pair of wool gloves under a pair of leather gloves will provide the best protection.
- Pre-read the Toolbox Talk. Your comfort level and confidence will be higher if you know your topic.
- Discuss related tasks, work areas or events that make the Toolbox Talk relevant to your job site.
- Involve the workers by asking questions and input that drives discussion.
Questions for Discussion
- What should you do if you begin to sweat in cold weather?
- What body part loses the majority of the body’s heat?