How to safely stand out this winter



Safety and health practitioner

Arco provides advice on managing worker comfort in winter, while sharing tips on safety and visibility when working outdoors in the months to come.

As we enter the winter season, people who work outdoors will be faced with freezing temperatures, heavy rain and strong winds that can cause irrational or dangerous behavior, as poorly equipped employees can make mistakes and take shortcuts to avoid exposure.

Studies show that accidents can increase by up to 35% as a result, so it is essential that employers ensure that workers are protected from the effects of working outdoors, in order to avoid cold stress and cold-related injuries.

Individual needs

Thermal comfort is affected by many factors, some environmental and some personal to individuals. The physical characteristics of a person should always be taken into account when considering thermal comfort; factors such as their height and weight, age, physical condition and gender can affect how they feel, even if environmental factors such as temperature and humidity are constant.

For example, some people may feel uncomfortable performing the same task as others in the same environment. This means that workers will need to be able to tailor what they wear to achieve their own optimum level of thermal comfort.


Wearing diapers is the perfect way to ensure that outerwear is suitable for the conditions. A breathable base layer sits against the skin and wicks away moisture, keeping the body warm and dry. An intermediate layer, known as an “insulating layer”, should provide heat. This layer should be adjusted to allow minimal air circulation, which ensures maximum heat retention, while allowing perspiration to escape from the base layer. Workers who undertake high aerobic activities may only need a base layer and an outer layer if the weather is bad as they will generate a high level of heat, but they may still need a layer. of heat for periods of rest.

An outer layer is the shield against wind, rain and abrasion. Employers must ensure that this layer is fully waterproof, windproof, breathable and durable. This includes protective clothing against hazards, such as high visibility jackets and overpants, which should be worn when hazardous environments or situations arise. The wearer should also look for an outer layer that is sufficiently breathable for the chosen activity, so as not to overheat. Comfortable workers can stay outdoors longer and work in safety.

Fog, heavy rain and snow can make it difficult to observe workers outside and, unfortunately, the consequences can be devastating. The second most common cause of workplace fatalities is being struck by a moving vehicle. As the daylight periods diminish and the weather deteriorates, it is essential to ensure that all workers wear appropriate high visibility clothing to help mitigate the risks. Arco, the UK’s leading safety expert, is sharing tips on safety and visibility when working outdoors over the coming months.

Clothing may appear brightly colored, but only yellow, orange-red, and red colored clothing made to safety standards is shiny enough to prevent accidents. In recent years the need to be vigilant over product quality has been clearly demonstrated by counterfeit and poor quality PPE sold in the UK. For all high risk environments, provide EN 20471 certified High visibility clothing is a simple and economical way to improve worker visibility and ensure compliance. The standard guarantees that:

  • The garment has sufficient surface area of ​​fluorescent material to provide high visibility during the day
  • Retroreflective tape covers sufficient area and is designed to reflect light from all sides, keeping workers visible in low light conditions.

Different designs determine whether high visibility clothing provides the highest possible level of protection (Class 3) for very high risk environments or a lower level of protection (Class 2 or 1) for low risk environments such as environments with slower traffic. As a member of the British Safety Industry Federation (OSFI) Registered Safety Supplier Program, Arco provides protective clothing that meets current standards and regulations and actually performs as it claims.

The European standard for high visibility clothing is based on a series of tests, including color fastness, color measurement, dimensional stability, reflective tape testing and garment evaluation. However, care should always be taken to ensure that any hi-vis clothing issued is properly cleaned and maintained. This means checking for damage such as rips or tears that could become a snag hazard or get caught in moving parts, making sure clothes are cleaned regularly and maximum wash cycles are not exceeded. Companies must also take into account their unique working environment. For example, dirty environments will require protective clothing that can withstand the rigors of industrial washing.

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