Hot and cold working spaces are assessed for risk under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. Under this act, organisations and companies are expected to do what is ‘reasonably practicable’ to protect their employees and visitors. There are some workplaces which are extremely hot or cold and measures need to be put into place to ensure that staff are not harmed by such environments. These measures could be in the form of rest periods, appropriate rotas, or the provision of personal protective equipment (PPE). Extended exposure to cold can cause health issues that range from frostnip, the early stage of frostbite where the skin becomes cold and numb, to hypothermia, which causes shivering, slow breathing, tiredness, and confusion, as well as pale cold skin, and slurred speech. Effective PPE for chilled environments, down to -5°C, and frozen environments, -5°C and below, include thermal undergarments, jacket and trousers, gloves, safety boots or shoes with thermal socks, and a hat or balaclava.
The FlexiTog Endurance Active Coldstore Jacket (1) is an example of a coat designed to protect coldstore and freezer warehouse workers in temperatures between -5°C and -50°C, and in chillers from 5°C to -5°C. It incorporates Vivo Teknica technology (2) by Clo Insulation which keeps the wearer at an optimum temperature, even when highly active. This breathable insulation has been utilised in the high sweat areas of the grament to help regulate the body temperature and keep the wearer comfortable. The Vivo Teknica material is 100% recycled polyester made from post consumer waste bottles sourced in Europe locally to where it is manufactured. Due to the use of tiny fibres and a unique fabric structure, this product allows moisture vapor to pass through making it breathable and improving overall comfort. The addition of perforated holes in this sample, which are big enough to allow moisture vapor to escape yet small enough to retain warmth, increase the breathability by 30% compared to the non-perforated material. The FlexiTog Endurance Driver Salopettes (3), use the same technology but are specifically designed for forklift truck drivers as the high back and front provide additional protection to the torso.