Working outside in the winter is not for the faint of heart. But when you have the right system in place, there is no reason to be uncomfortable in the cold and damp. The system is layering, and when you do it right, you can be fully protected from both cold and wet weather.
Take Control of Your Comfort
A workwear layering system allows you to remove and add layers of clothing according to the conditions. This adds a level of control to everything you wear while at work, which can only increase your efficiency.
The layering system consists of 3 separate layers: the base, mid layer and outer layer. Each has its own purpose and benefit to the wearer.
Retaining Body Heat
The bottom-most layer is the base layer. This layer is the one located closest to the skin, and its purpose is to remove moisture from the skin, as dampness in this area can lower overall body temperature. The type of base layer you wear will depend on the job you`re doing. For example, if your job causes you to have to frequently stop what you`re doing, you will need a base layer that will allow your body temperature to drop gradually for minimal heat loss.
The base layer should not only wick moisture away from your body but also should trap heat. Both a thermal top and bottom is best for this purpose. Thermal socks are also best worn, as they can protect the feet from the cold that can sometimes be trapped by the protective steel layers in safety footwear.
Retention of Warmth
Above the bottom layer should be a second layer that also traps heat. This middle layer`s job, like the bottom layer`s, is to keep you warm. However, it`s also a secondary layer to move moisture even further away from the skin. Any excess moisture that the bottom layer captures can be transferred to the bottom end of the middle layer, while its top layer prevents heat from escaping. Fleece is ideal for this purpose. It also offers durability, making it a reliable fabric for staff clothing.
The middle layer itself can have two layers, with a short-sleeved moisture-wicking shirt underneath a fleece jacket.
Protection from the Weather
The third and final layer is the outer layer. This is what will prevent the wind, rain, snow and cold from penetrating the other layers. An outer layer should protect you from the weather as it keeps you visible. Visibility can be had in the form of a reflective vest or jacket or similar type of clothing.
The top layer has to do several jobs. Not only does it need to be breathable, but it must also be able to repel moisture. Also, it must also have a safety feature like the one mentioned above to ensure you remain visible whilst on the job. And it must be able to do this at the same time. The top protective layer should consist of both a jacket and pants.
When thinking about layering for working in inclement weather, there are some other items to think about. For example, you can choose from jackets having a full zipper or choose a pullover shirt. However, it should be considered which is best for quick removal while on the job. It may be that a jacket with full zipper allows for swifter removal. The same is true of pants; there are several options available, many with features that allow for safe and quick removal when necessary.
Not only does the layering system guarantee the safety of workers, but it also guarantees their comfort regardless of the conditions they may be working in.