That bitter wind and cold white stuff on the ground? Yeah, unfortunately, it’s not disappearing anytime soon. We’re smack-dab in the middle of a season where outdoor workers’ exposure to harsh winter conditions puts them at serious risk for developing a variety of cold-related illnesses ranging from frostbite to hypothermia. But taking proper preventive measures and wearing appropriate PPE can reduce and often times eliminate those dangers.
Are Layers the Answer?
In wintry outdoor or unheated indoor environments, the body devotes much of its energy to maintaining its core temperature, by redirecting blood away from its extremities to its core. This makes exposed skin and extremities cool rapidly, and increases the risk of frostbite and hypothermia.
"Layers can sometimes bunch up and feel bulky, reduce range of motion, and limit productivity."
Conventional wisdom holds that the best way for workers (or anyone else) to combat extreme conditions and stay warm is to wear a base, middle and outer layer. Base layers serve as a first layer of insulation while wicking moisture away from the body, middle layers provide additional insulation and, as the first defense against the elements, outer layers protect the wearer from wind, rain and snow.
But unless the articles of clothing fit like a set of Russian nesting dolls, layers can sometimes bunch up and feel bulky, reduce range of motion, and limit productivity.
Take the Less Restrictive Path
Workers should find an outer layer that is a durable first line of defense, but also insulating and warming. There are many choices when it comes to cold weather clothing and PPE, but it’s hard to beat a quality heated jacket for warmth and versatility. This is particularly appealing to those who want to wear fewer layers, those who prefer or need an extended range of motion, and those who want to conveniently customize their warmth.
That’s where battery operated heated jackets come into play. For example, the N-Ferno® 6490 Heated Jacket boasts two strategically-placed heat zones on the chest and back, bringing warmth to the core body regions, powered by a rechargeable lightweight 7.4V Lithium Ion battery that provides between three and nine hours of continuous heat. It has adjustable heat settings in case the temperature suddenly drops from slightly nippy to downright bone-chilling. There is also a preheat option that provides a 30% increase in initial warming time for those who need to warm up quickly.
Here are five more reasons why the N-Ferno® 6490 Heated Jacket W/ Removable Sleeves is particularly superior:
- Weight: With fewer layers on, this medium-weight jacket will reduce the overall weight of the wearer.
- Versatility: With its removable sleeves, it can convert to a vest should the weather heat up. It’s also a nice transition piece from fall to winter.
- Battery: It has a small battery with a compact and neoprene shell, significantly lighter weight than a tool battery. Should the battery die, each jacket comes standard with an adapter cord that allows the rechargeable jacket to heat up off tool batteries. Replacement batteries are also available.
- No Bunching: While others have loose liners, the 6490’s is fixed and not fleece-lined. So this is one jacket that won’t bunch up.
- Washability: Some heated jackets are machine-washable, so there’s no need to take it to the dry cleaners or worry about that mustard stain from lunch. That said, make sure you air dry it.
But its utility won’t mean diddly unless you know how to operate it.