Keep workers safe in the wet with the right PPE
As the winter months approach, businesses are bracing themselves for the inevitable problems that wet weather brings. Worker health and safety is the top priority, as wet conditions increase workplace accidents and health problems. But by taking the right precautions, businesses can look forward to a productive winter with minimal incidents. Here are some simple tips to keep your workers safe, dry and warm.
Wet weather PPE that keeps workers safe
For workers to be safe, they must remain visible. Businesses need to make sure employees’ hi-vis clothing is clean, undamaged and certified to ISO 20471. Hi-vis gear must also be fully fastened and not covered by other garments or backpacks.
Footwear must offer the right sole patterns to help prevent slips. Footwear can also be anti-static, electrically conductive or insulated - the most appropriate footwear should be selected for the risks on site. HSE guidance recommends footwear with grip and traction. It states that plastic and leather soles are not recommended for wet weather, but boots made with non-slip rubber or neoprene with grooved soles could offer the best protection.
Wet weather PPE that keeps workers dry
The correct quality of garment is essential for keeping workers dry. Waterproofing levels are measured in millimetres and can vary from 1,300mm for very basic clothing up to 15,000mm for top-end gear. A good supplier will be able to advise which level is most suitable. For example, if your workers are subject to extended exposure, the highest possible rating may be recommended. Our wet weather hivis jacket (G61-214/215) offers a phenomenal 13,000mm water penetration resistance. These are currently available with a 30% reduction to £60.16. See more on our offers page.
Wet weather PPE that keeps workers warm
Workers can use padded outer clothing or layered clothing to stay warm. Padding is an economic solution. However, wearing layered clothing often works well because the wearer can vary the layers to suit circumstances such as weather conditions or levels of activity. With layered clothing, a base layer lies next to the skin, a mid-layer provides a warm cushion of air, and outer layers keep out the elements. It’s important to be comfortable, and, in some instances, being warm can be nearly as unpleasant as being too cold.
A number of government bodies offer advice on minimising the effects of wet weather on worker health and safety. The Health and Safety Executive has published a list of recommendations for ensuring your site remains safe in wet conditions. The list reminds us that it’s not just rain water we need to consider. Wet leaves, ice, frost, snow and grit all add to the list of hazards that need to be taken care of. And if work has to continue in the wet, then other safety precautions need to be taken - workers should wear quality wet weather PPE .
According to the Sheffield Occupational Health Advisory Service (SOHAS) workers are more vulnerable to colds, bronchitis and asthma, or painful, stiff joints and fatigue, because they use energy to try and keep warm. They’re more likely to develop ailments such as hand–arm vibration syndrome if using pneumatic or vibrating tools, suffer from hypothermia and frostbite, or lose concentration.
But when cold is combined with wet weather, the effects can be even more harmful. Health and Safety at Work says that a more dangerous and rapid heat loss occurs as clothing gets wet – the body loses up to 30 times more heat in wet compared with dry conditions.There are many reasons for helping your workers stay dry and comfortable this winter with the right PPE. But the right gear depends on their working environments, roles and levels of exposure to wet weather.
For help choosing products that are best for your business, speak to Anchor Safety. We can offer advice on a huge range of top-quality wet weather gear, from non-slip boots to waterproof, hi-vis clothing, gloves, and headwear. Call us on 0800 328 5028. We're here to help.