If your line of work requires you to brave the elements - in one form or another - then the right kind of clothes is essential to keeping protected, at a comfortable temperature and dry.
This of course means that it need to be hard wearing, breathable (no synthetics around here thank you), moisture wicking and great value.
Of course what you do with your days will have a direct impact on the kind of clothing you need.
The temptation by many is to opt for heavy synthetic jackets that attempt to replicate the insulating properties found in nature.
If you work in a polar research station we have to concede, that’s probably your best bet for survival. However, for most hard working folks that might be a tad extreme.
Instead - for more professions - there is usually a natural fibre solution to meet any need, it’s just a case of doing your research.
Safety is a broad church so, depending on what industry you’re in the regulations will be different.
However, there are a few things that tend to overlap.
Whether you’re a firefighter, in the motorsport industry or work with high voltage, wool clothing is essential.
Because wool is a poor conductor of both heat and electricity it helps keep you safe. Plus wool doesn’t burn.
The unique way in which wool moves heat and oxygen means temperatures need to be in the hundreds of degrees before it ignites. And even then it takes persistently high temperatures to keep that flame alight.
In short, wool will smoulder rather than burn. So anyone exposed to fire will have a much higher chance of avoiding harm by wearing wool.
Similarly, an all wool garment is significantly safer than a blend or something that’s been stitched together with synthetic fibre. For the simple reason that synthetics - because they’re made from plastics - have a very low melting point.
That means in the event of fire or electric shock the synthetic fibre could melt or ignite. Plastics do nasty things to skin in a molten state. Like fuse to it.
This is why it’s so important to ensure that any safetywear you’re considering is 100% wool.
Wool also has the advantage of being extremely tough - far more so than cotton and most other natural fibres. This provides arms, legs and necks an extra layer of protection against impacts and glancing blows, especially from anything with a sharp edge.
Barring of course any major impacts. As a good wool is it’s not a suit or armour.
If you tend to livestock, grow crops, serve in law enforcement or one of the multitudes of other jobs that require extended periods of time both outside and on your feet you need to take care of yourself.
The three main areas to focus on is:
- Core temperature
It’s so important to maintain a steady body temperature - especially if you’re outside but walking miles at at time.
The reason is simple. Bundling up may keep you warm initially but leaves you vulnerable to overheating. It’s a hassle because you end up having to carry the layers you no longer need.
But the bigger issue is that raising and lowering your core temperature rapidly can cause health problems. In some cases it can cause illness as pathogens are able to breed.
Similarly going from extreme warmth to cold can cause hyperthermia. This can be life threatening if not treated quickly.
It’s far better for your health - and more convenient - to wear layers that breathe and allow your body to maintain its optimal core temperature. This also helps you work more effectively. Simply because your body is working - much like a car engine - the way it’s designed to.
Moisture is another concern. Wet weather can - like fluctuations in temperature - give pathogens the opportunity to thrive, especially if wearing wet clothes causes your core temperature to plummet.
Wool has moisture wicking properties so it keeps your dryer for longer. If you’re out in a field all day or walking a beat around the city, that’s not just useful, it’s essential.
But wool works the other way too. Wool absorbs sweat, pushing outwards towards the exterior of the garment. Again, this helps to regulate body temperature as too much moisture against the skin - of any type - can cause a chill.
Plus - thanks to the lanolin your find in Merino wool, it’ll keep you smelling fresh as a daisy too. Not a bad thing if you’re required to talk to members of the public or don’t want to clear the room when you get home.
Finally you need to take care of your feet. That’s true of us all to be honest but more so for anyone required to be on them all day.
Obviously the correct footwear is important but so are the right socks.
First of all they need to fit. Socks that slip can cause blistering. If you’re at the lower end of a size range you’re better off getting the next size down. The socks will fit you better and won’t slip.
You also need to consider the kind of sock that’s right for you. Warmth is important if you’re going to be out on exposed hilltops all day. Comfort if you’re walking for miles at a time.
And - just like the rest of your body - you need to protect your feet from heat and moisture, especially as the two combined produce some fairly smelly results. Feet are naturally sweaty but they evolved long before the sock.
As a result excess moisture can cause the sock to slip and cause blisters and sores. It also allows bacteria that occur naturally on feet to spread, which is what causes them to smell.
The right pair of socks will stop that build up of moisture by wicking it away. Similarly the socks will help your feet to breathe, lowering the temperature and therefore reducing the amount of sweat.
By moderating the temperature of your feet you will find that you are more comfortable and feel more capable to operate on your feet. Foot discomfort - especially if blisters have formed - can be debilitating when you have no choice but to be on them all day.
So sensible care is essential.
The good news is that there is a fantastic range of options to suit every need and all made from high quality wools.
Whatever your profession or need, we can help. Click here to view our complete range. Alternatively if you’d like to speak to a member of the team to get some specialist advice, just get in touch and we’ll be more than happy to help.