Article
When electrical contractors think of personal protective equipment (PPE), it’s usually in terms of clothing, hard hats and other items meant to buffer a physical impact or the severe burns that could occur in the wake of an arc flash or other catastrophic event.

Protective Equipment for the Great Outdoors

Chuck Ross
When electrical contractors think of personal protective equipment (PPE), it’s usually in terms of clothing, hard hats and other items meant to buffer a physical impact or the severe burns that could occur in the wake of an arc flash or other catastrophic event. But for contractors working outdoors, PPE also can include items that provide protection against the elements. Electrical work doesn’t stop just because temperatures become uncomfortable – or even dangerous. That’s when it pays to have gear on hand to help you stay warmer or cooler, as environmental conditions might require.

When it comes to cold weather work, one area of the body that’s particularly vulnerable is the face, because bare skin can pose frostbite risks. We know adding layers can decrease this risk, and neck gaiters and warming bands provide just this function by pulling up over the mouth, nose and lower ears. Some manufacturers now offer these products with an upper panel that’s both moisture wicking and odor resistant, so condensation from breathing doesn’t build up over time.

Hot temperatures can be more challenging, though. You want to keep your skin covered to minimize the risk of sunburn, but keeping covered also can cause internal body temperatures to climb. Interestingly, there are also neck and face bands for these situations, too. While it might not seem logical that adding such a covering could help you keep your cool, but today’s innovative fabrics can do just that.

“They can be worn dry, providing moisture and sweat wicking,” says Craig Fransen, a senior product manager with Klein Tools, which offers several versions of such a product. “However, when wet, they provide additional cooling relief. They feature evaporative technology for immediate cooling – you simply wet the cooling band for instant cooling that lasts hours.”

Even better, there are multiple ways to wear such bands, which also fit under a hard hat. Depending on how you twist the stretchable material, you can make it into a headband, gaiter, face mask or face covering.
Photo courtesy of Klein Tools
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