If you work outdoors, you know you have to be prepared for all kinds of weather conditions and jobsite hazards. Clothing and footwear need to keep your body at a comfortable temperature while protecting it from the blazing sun, freezing temperatures, rain, and any number of weather situations. The physical demands of working outside can present various challenges, but with the right clothing, footwear, sun protection, and hydration practices, you can be assured you can withstand anything that comes your way.
Wear Clothing That Works as Hard as You Do
Your clothing should keep your body protected from the elements. You’ll want to choose clothing that fits your body well so there is little risk of it being too loose and potentially getting snagged or caught in equipment. In cold weather, choose insulated clothing with pockets. Jackets and outerwear should be waterproof or water-repellent. In warmer temperatures, choose well-fitting, breathable fabrics.
Footwear is crucial if your work takes you outdoors. Varied weather and jobsite conditions mean whatever covers your feet needs to withstand just about anything. Boots are the obvious choice since they are rugged and built to take a beating. Well-fitting and comfortable boots offer both safety and protection.
Protect Your Skin
Image via Flickr by John Tann
Nearly 3.5 million people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year. If you have the option, it’s best to cover as much skin as possible with clothing. Protect your head with a wide-brimmed hat. Wear sunglasses that filter out the sun’s harmful UV rays. On the worksite, locate shady places to give your body a break from the sun throughout the day. If the temperature is too high to cover your body with clothing, protect any exposed skin with a waterproof sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15.
Uncovered skin is also prone to insect bites. The CDC recommends using insect repellents that contain at least 20 percent DEET. If you are using insect repellents in conjunction with sunscreen, Apply your SPF 15+ sunscreen first, then insect repellent when the skin is dry.
Ward Off Dehydration
Avoiding dehydration is central when working outdoors in hot environments. If you sense thirst, your body is already in the beginning stages of dehydration. Dodge dehydration by drinking water throughout the day. Consider holstering a bottle of water to your belt or wearing a specialized hydration backpack.
You can take steps to evade dehydration even before you get to work. Limit your caffeine intake, as caffeinated beverages often have diuretic effects. Drink cool or room temperature water before you head out to work so you can start the day fully hydrated. Be sure the food you consume before and during your workday are full of water and nutrients. Consider electrolyte drinks to replenish your body.
Whenever you work outdoors, your safety should be your No. 1 priority. Arm yourself with the essential elements to keep your body protected inside and out. In what ways do you keep your body safe as you work outside?