When the weather is cold or you are working in a climate where low temperatures are common, one of the most important things you can do is take appropriate steps to stay warm. By staying warm, you’re not only protecting your personal health and well-being, but you are also preventing job site accidents that could occur as a result of cold weather conditions. Ross Group’s HSE Specialist Jacob Walton shared the following five basic tips for staying safe and warm.
1. Wear Appropriate Clothing
Wearing appropriate clothing when it’s cold outside is essential to not only trap body heat in, but also to protect your body from the elements. Lightweight or breathable clothing won’t lock in heat as well as a more insulated material, nor will it adequately protect you from the wind. However, you don’t want to overdress in something too heavy, as sweating can lead to lowering your body temperature due to the moisture staying on your skin. Go for a material that is enough to keep you warm and protected without feeling like a sauna.
2. Dress In Layers
Dressing in layers goes hand-in-hand with wearing appropriate clothing. If the outside temperatures are extremely low, you may need to add a few layers to your outfit. Extra layers will help lock in extra body heat. In the past, base layers were commonly thought of as long-johns or thermals, but now there are athletic brands of base layers available designed for heat retention and moisture wicking that drastically exceed the performance of these older garments. If it’s cold enough for multiple layers, make sure that the outermost layer is wind proof to maximize the amount of body heat that is trapped.
3. Stay Active
By staying active, you are forcing the blood in your body to continue circulating throughout your internal organs and extremities. By keeping your extremities warm, the rest of your body will generally feel warmer too. Again, be careful not to over do it because sweating when it’s cold outside can rapidly lower your internal body temperature, putting you at a higher risk of hypothermia.
4. Stay Hydrated
You don’t generally think of staying hydrated as a way of staying warm when its cold outside. However, hydration plays a crucial role in regulating our internal temperatures. Just because you’re not sweating doesn’t mean your body isn’t
losing moisture through aspiration and its natural metabolic processes. Try drinking room temperature or warm fluids as they won’t lower, and in some cases can actually raise, your internal body temperature.
5. Keep Your Metabolism Up (EAT)
Ahh, my favorite tip. Eating is a key component to keeping your internal temperature where it needs to be. Our body produces a lot of energy in the form of heat when digesting food. When we eat, our metabolism increases, producing internal heat and aiding in blood flow throughout the body. You don’t need to feast all day long, but having a healthy, protein-rich snack or two between meals to keep your metabolism up is a good idea.
These tips are a great way to make sure you’re staying safe outdoors in the cold weather. While they are effective for working on the job site, they’re also things you can put into practice at home. Stay warm, stay safe, and reduce your risk of cold-weather related accidents.