If you or your employees are required to work in wet weather, you’ll need to be fully protected by quality waterproof clothing to ensure that you remain dry and warm as you carry out your daily tasks. With the UK receiving an average of 133 days of rainfall each year, it’s probable that anyone working outdoors will experience damp conditions at some point in their daily shift. To understand the regulations surrounding working in wet weather, as well as the necessary rainwear kit required to allow you to perform your job safely, this guide will keep you fully informed.
Health and Safety Regulations
Regulations relating specifically to working in wet weather don’t exist. However, as part of the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations of 1992, it clearly states that employers must provide their workers with the necessary clothing, footwear and other safety items which are necessary to carry out their job without putting themselves at risk. It is the responsibility of the employer to conduct regular risk assessments of the working environment and identify any threats to the employee. In the case of working outdoors, as well as rain, there will be other hazards to take into account too, such as the proximity of passing vehicles, or the glare from the sun. However, in the case of wet weather, your employer will need to put various controls in place to ensure that your body is kept warm and dry on the job. The first line of defence against cold, wet conditions is to invest in high quality rainwear PPE kit.
The Risks of Getting Wet
If you’re under the impression that a little bit of water never hurt anyone, then think again. Regular or even one-off experiences of being caught in the rain can have incredibly negative consequences for your health. It doesn’t have to be anything as dramatic as a thunderstorm either. Simply being outside in the rain for prolonged periods of time, such as several hours of your working shift, will be enough to heighten the risks for you.
- Slipping – if the ground is wet underfoot, there’s the potential for you to slide around on its surface, unless you’re wearing a quality safety shoe with a strong grip.
- Chilblains – sensitive, itchy and red patches can form on parts of the body which have been exposed to cold, wet conditions. Chilblains are usually identified on the toes, fingers, face or legs.
- Frostbite – if cold has penetrated through to your skin, you may find the affected area to be incredibly painful and cold.
- Hypothermia – in an emergency situation where you have become so cold and wet that you’re hypothermic, you’ll need urgent medical attention. Common signals for others to look out for are if you are excessively tired, confused and uncoordinated. You may also have a blue tinge to your skin with a slow pulse and dilated pupils.
As frightening as some of these conditions may seem, it’s important to understand that they can all be avoided so long as you wear your PPE rainwear. Although it is the employer’s responsibility to provide you with the waterproof kit, the onus is also on the employee to commit to wearing it correctly throughout the entirety of their shift in wet weather.
Putting Together Your Waterproof Rainwear Gear
To stay fully protected from wet weather, you’ll need to shield your entire body from head to foot, including winter gloves too, to ensure that water isn’t able to seep in beneath your clothing or footwear.
Starting from your outer layer down to your skin, you need to implement a basic three-layer strategy to stay protected from the elements.
Your top level should be your strong, waterproof protective gear. PPE Supplies Direct stocks a wide range of options to suit your specific outdoor role. You may choose a Bizflame Rain Anti-Static FR Jacket which offers excellent waterproof protection as well as being flame retardant too. Priced at £92.23 for a single jacket, this excellent choice of waterproof gear incorporates hi-vis reflective strips for maximum visibility when you need to warn others of your presence outside. You might choose to wear a pair of Classic Iona Rain Trousers which are also hi-vis as a sensible accompaniment to your jacket.
If you prefer an all-in-one rainwear solution, then look no further than the Dickies Waterproof Padded Coverall which comes with plenty of pockets as well as inner storm cuffs so you can stay dry and warm outdoors.
Once you’ve made your decisions on your outer rainwear protection, ensure that you follow with a warm but breathable fleece to keep your body fully insulated, and then a thermal base layer to protect your skin and wick away any excess moisture to avoid discomfort.
Now that you’ve rainproofed your body, it’s time to move on to your feet. Waterproof safety shoes or boots are a critical part of your PPE gear. When you provide an impenetrable barrier to prevent water from reaching the delicate skin of your feet, you’re significantly reducing the chance of developing unpleasant medical conditions such as trenchfoot. We stock a vast selection of different waterproof footwear designs depending on the exact requirements of your role. Our range starts from £27.04 per pair.
If you have any queries at all about our extensive stock of PPE rainwear gear, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Many of our rainwear items can be customised with your brand name and logo on, either through embroidery, vinyl, solvent print or DTG. Contact us with any questions or if you’d like to place an order!