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Safety First: Industrial Winter Gear for Employees

When the temperature drops, the need for robust industrial winter gear rises. In the UK, where the winter can bring about unpredictable weather conditions at best and dangerous conditions at worst, businesses need to equip their employees with the correct safety gear.

From COSHH cabinets to protect chemicals from the cold to the essential workbench tools that must endure chillier temperatures, every item plays a part in making your workplace safe during winter. This guide delves into essential winter gear, exploring some of the most important ways to protect your workforce and keep them warm in winter.

Industrial workwear safety boots

Legal obligations for winter workwear

In the UK, employers are legally obligated to provide a safe and healthy workplace under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. During winter, this includes the responsibility to assess the risk of cold stress, which includes things like frostbite, hypothermia, and chilblains, and take steps to mitigate these risks.

As temperatures drop, employers must ensure that any outdoor work is planned to minimise exposure to cold weather conditions. This includes providing suitable personal protective equipment (PPE) and winter workwear, which is critical in maintaining body warmth and provides protection from the elements. The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 mandate that employers must provide appropriate PPE, including cold-weather gear such as insulated jackets, gloves, and thermal boots, free of charge.

Employers should also train employees on the correct use of PPE and monitor how effective it is to make sure it's fit for purpose, i.e. the workwear you provide must be suitable for the current climate/temperature and the task at hand. Failure to comply with these regulations can lead to legal consequences, including fines and prosecution, but, more importantly, it can put employees' health at risk and lead to cold-related illnesses and injuries.

Get a grip on winter with the right gloves

In the biting cold of winter, a pair of high-quality gloves is really important for industrial workers. The ideal gloves provide not just warmth but also flexibility, this means they can still carry out tasks without compromising on safety. They should be insulated yet breathable, water-resistant to handle snow or rain, and coated with a durable material to withstand wear and tear. Features such as a reinforced grip can prevent accidents, and touch-screen compatibility is important for operating digital equipment. Choosing the correct gloves is a balance between thermal protection and functional dexterity - that means getting the right balance between keeping those hard-working hands warm but without restricting movement or being able to safely operate equipment.

The Deltaplus Thermal Gloves, for example, are designed for enduring warmth and comfort, thanks to their knitted acrylic liner ideal for sustained use in cold environments. They’re versatile for both dry and wet conditions, with a latex foam coating that cleverly conforms to the shape of your hands, for better flexibility and grip. These gloves are not only ideal for colder climates in general but also for lower-temperature work settings like fridges or freezers. Plus, they have a high resistance to tears to stop the cold air from sneaking in - no one wants frosty fingers, after all!

These boots were made for winter walking

Boots are another important part of winter industrial gear, designed to tackle icy surfaces and keep feet protected from the cold ground. They should have non-slip soles to prevent slips and falls, one of the most common workplace accidents during winter. Insulation is key; however, it must be paired with moisture-wicking material to keep feet dry and prevent those unpleasant soggy socks. A steel toe cap may be necessary for heavy-duty environments to protect the toes should anything be dropped on them. Plus, did you know quality winter boots not only support the feet but also the posture of the wearer; this can reduce fatigue and make for safer working.

The Dunlop Full Safety Wellington Boots combine the benefits of steel cap boots and wellies in winter. They're engineered to be resilient and are made from durable PVC and nitrile rubber. The thick red soles offer excellent traction across various terrains, while the steel toe cap and midsole shield against injury.

These boots are waterproof and ideal for working outdoors and navigating muddy conditions, promising to keep feet dry and comfortable. Designed with convenience in mind, they feature a 'kick-off' style that does exactly what it says on the tin and makes it easy to take off without getting your gloves muddy. Plus, they're oil-resistant, can be easily cleaned and can withstand the test of time even after repeated washing.

Layers of protection from head to toe

Cold-weather workwear is all about layering. The outer layer should be water and windproof, shielding against harsh weather, while the inner layers provide insulation and moisture control. High visibility is also a key feature for shorter daylight hours. Fabrics should be chosen for their thermal qualities without being bulky to ensure mobility isn't affected. Features like detachable hoods, adjustable cuffs, and ample pocket space can make a real difference in how comfortable and efficient your workforce is. Remember, cold-weather workwear isn't just a garment but a mobile shelter against the winter elements for your employees.

From the everyday to emergencies

As well as day-to-day winter workwear, you should ensure you have some emergency supplies too. Thermal blankets are important for maintaining normothermia - the state of having a normal body temperature of around 37°C. They’re engineered to minimise the four forms of heat loss: conduction, convection, evaporation, and radiation. They’re wind and waterproof, offering a reliable barrier against harsh conditions, while the inside is designed to be highly absorbent and capable of soaking up to 1.5 litres of body fluids.

A warm welcome to our winter workwear

Don't let the cold compromise your workforce. Keep them safe and warm in the winter, and they'll thank you for it. Safety should always come first but, don't forget, a protected team is a productive one, so get in touch today for expert advice on the best winter workwear tailored to your workplace. Whether you're braving the elements on-site or making sure your staff are equipped for any emergency, our range of thermal gloves, safety boots, and life-saving thermal blankets will keep your team protected against the winter's toughest challenges. We're here to help you navigate working during winter.

Photograph of Debs

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