Severe Weather and the Risks to Roof Workers

March 08 2018 0comment

Severe Weather and the Risks to Roof Workers

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With the UK being battered by the Beast from the East, today we’re taking a look at work wear designed for those who spend the winter months working in the cold.  This is particularly important for those who work in high risk jobs such as those who work at height in the construction industry.  There’s no use shivering with cold when you’re halfway up a ladder or working on a roof, you’ll develop a severe case of the wobbles, so keeping yourself warm is also keeping yourself safe.  Despite the best access equipment and solutions designed to minimise risks, such as roof edge protection and demarcation barrier systems, we also need to take into account the risks that come with such severe cold weather, especially the snow and ice we’ve been seeing lately.

We keep getting told that the most effective way to stay warm is to layer up, so let’s take a look at the different layers that we need to get.

  • Base Layer – This is one of the most important layers of clothing, it’s worn next to the skin and is often fitted closely.  It’s important to get the right fabric that will help you stay warm and comfortable and this is where wicking comes in.  Wicking is basically moisture management – perspiration.  It’s important that the fabric will remove (or wick away) the moisture from your skin.  If you work outdoors then a thermal base layer is essential.  Innovative technological advances in modern fabrics enable us to enjoy a lightweight, thermally effective base layer that can keep us dry at all times.
  • Mid Layer – This is the least important layer really and can be changed depending on the weather, the task at hand, etc.  Mid layer items consist of t-shirts, sweaters, fleeces and microfleeces, all of which are suitable depending on the climate.  A mid layer that is suitable for cold weather would be created from a loose weave fabric that would allow pockets of warm air to be created by the wearer’s body temperature.
  • Top Layer – This top layer is all about providing protection from the elements – both the rain and the wind.  In cold weather it’s vital that you don’t get wet if you work outdoors, especially for prolonged periods.  There are two different types of top layer, each suited to particular conditions and usage.  The Shell Layer is the best choice for interchangeable conditions (British summer, some may say J ) but is not suitable in harsher weather.  The Outer Layer is designed to cope with more extreme weather conditions, rains, wind, snow and hail. 

Wearing the correct Top Layer is the most important issue if you want to stay warm and dry in work in the coming winter.  Getting cold leads to decreased productivity as well as a raised risk of accident or injury.  And if you’ve had the same old work wear for years – invest in some new gear.  Modern materials make all the difference in staying warm and are essential for those who work out in the cold and rain.  Treat yourself to some new work wear this winter – it’s an investment in your own health and safety and your future comfort at work.

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