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Tips to combat the cold at work

There are many jobs exposed to cold that sometimes can reach degrees below zero indoors or outdoors.

How do you combat the cold at work? This question is asked by personnel in the cold industry who are in contact with cold rooms and cold stores (meat companies, fish shops...), but also other jobs such as hostesses or bellboys.

Regarding the latter type of jobs, in addition to protection against low temperatures, a good appearance is required. That is why it is very important that they wear elegant clothes which protect them from the cold.

Our body's reaction to cold

The food we eat and the oxygen we breathe form biochemical compounds that provide us with heat energy, which keeps us at a constant body temperature of around 37 degrees Celsius. This helps us to stay healthy and to have enough mental and physical energy to face our daily activities, independent of the environment.

But when we work in cold environments, our body exchanges heat with the environment, our temperature falls, causing what is known as "cold stress", and so we tend to get cold. To compensate for this coolness, a number of mechanisms are activated to increase internal heat production. One of these is trembling (body trembling to compensate the heat loss), and another is vasoconstriction (blood vessels constrict and blood flow to the surface of the body decreases, making it harder to dissipate heat).

Risks associated

Prolonged exposure to cold poses a health risk that can cause the following problems:

  • Discomfort 
  • Deterioration or inability to perform physical or manual tasks normally.
  • Freezing of extremities (hands, nose, cheeks...)
  • Erythema
  • Chilblains
  • Hypothermia

How to combat the cold at work?

If you are going to work in cold environments, you can follow the advice below:

  • Take breaks and recover in warm places. 
  • Don't stay static all the time; for example, sometimes do some activity and then so that you don't get so cold. A very useful activity, especially if you don't know how to warm up cold feet at work.
  • Protect your extremities (head, neck, hands, feet) with gloves, hats, appropriate footwear, socks... 
  • Breathe through the nose: the nostrils warm the air and so less cold reaches the lungs.
  • Lead a healthy lifestyle, following a healthy and balanced diet in accordance with the required energy needs.
  • Drink hot beverages (soups, stews, broths...) that increase the body temperature and keep the body warm.
  • The most important thing: wear work clothes for cold environments, preferably in capes.   

Winter work clothes

Clothing has the mission to protect us from the outside, but work clothes for cold weather are designed to protect the worker from environmental conditions, allowing fluid movements without sacrificing comfort and breathability.
This type of clothing is defined according to different properties:

  • thermal resistance and insulation.
  • air insulation.
  • waterproofing.

In addition to choosing the right cold-weather workwear is the most important thing to control body heat loss and balance thermo-hygrometric changes in the environment, it is important to dress in capes for several reasons: 

  • It retains warmth.
  • We can change it if it gets wet from rain or sweat.
  • If it is hot, we can take it off.
  • The cape closest to the body should be insulating to keep humidity away and keep the skin dry.

Within clothing for working at low temperatures, current regulations differentiate between: on the one hand, working environments down to -5ºC, and, on the other hand, environments below this temperature, which require a higher level of protection.

  • Work clothing for cold environments. The characteristics for this type of clothing are set out in the UNE-EN 14058:2017 standard, which focuses only on simple warm workwear.
  • Workwear for extreme cold is when the temperature of the environment is below -5ºC. In this case, the characteristics are regulated by the UNE-EN 342:2004 standard.

Do you want to know how to combat the cold at work? In Norvil you will find warm workwear and winter workwear such as these elegant coats that add distinction and professionalism to any work uniform. We also hope these tips will help you protect yourself from the cold in the workplace. However, if you have any questions, please contact us - we'll be pleased to help you!