Appropriate Clothing in Freezing Weather

December 2017 Safety Topic

It is due to the hard work of the CUIMC facilities staff that the campus is fully operational during times of freezing weather. CUIMC employees responsible for cleaning up snow and other outdoor tasks during cold weather have to adhere to important safety practices as they work.

A cold environment forces the body to work harder to maintain its temperature. Whenever temperatures drop below normal and wind speed increases, heat can leave your body more rapidly. This can lead to complications such as cold stress, frostbite, and hypothermia. 

To help combat the negative effects cold weather can have on the body, staff should make sure they are dressed appropriately for the cold weather. 

Wear at least three layers of clothing:

  • The Inner Layer (uniform shirts provided by CUIMC)
    • Clothing is typically synthetic to keep moisture away from the body.
  • The Middle Layer (fleece vests and/or jacket linings provided by CUIMC)
    • Clothing is typically synthetic to provide insulation even when wet.
  • The Outer Layer (coats provided by CUIMC)
    • Clothing should be suitable to protect against wind and rain.
    • Clothing should be able to allow some ventilation to prevent overheating. 

Protect your head. Up to 40% of body heat is lost when the head is exposed. Hats or hoods should be worn in cold weather (hats are provided by CUIMC).

Protect your feet. Insulated boots should be worn to keep the feet warm (in some cases boots are provided by CUIMC). 

It is good practice to keep a change of dry clothes available as a precaution in the event that your work clothes become wet. 

For more information or questions about appropriate clothing in freezing weather, please speak with your supervisor or contact a member of the Campus Life Safety and Regulatory Compliance team.