Whether there’s a blazing summer sun or a biting winter cold, weather-associated heat stress can lead to life-threatening discomfort and noncompliance for your workers. The right Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) can help fight back against these harsh realities and AR/FR work wear that is lightweight, breathable, dries quickly and wicks away moisture can support the body’s natural evaporative cooling process: sweat.

These performance attributes are often talked about in the context of athletic wear, but lineman and oil and gas workers often face the same threat of heat stress while performing crucial tasks, typically under the threat of personal safety. The same technology that helps athletes perform in harsh conditions can be combined with AR/FR properties to create work wear that not only protects workers but is also more comfortable. When work wear is more comfortable, workers are less likely to cheat compliance.

The Process of Moisture Wicking

As sweat gathers, it gets absorbed into the fabric, wicking it away from the skin. This moisture then spreads across the fabric, which allows it to evaporate more quickly. The more quickly moisture can be removed, the better. If a garment becomes too soaked, it will not only be uncomfortable, but it will not be able to absorb additional moisture. Once workwear is saturated, additional sweat actually stalls cooling and begins to contribute to heat stress.

A New Generation of AR/FR

For many years, people who worked in conditions where arc flash and flash fire were a common hazard had to choose between safety and comfort. They could wear standard-issue AR/FR gear but would often have to roll up their sleeves or unbutton their collars to withstand the brutal heat generated by these bulky and cumbersome clothes.

Fortunately, there are now AR/FR garments that have incorporated moisture-wicking technology inherently into the fabric. By integrating breathability and moisture evaporation into the fiber, these next-generation garments keep wearers comfortable, safe, and compliant. By specifying an AR/FR garment that employs inherent moisture-wicking abilities, you’re providing your workers with a wide range of advantages:

- Body heat will no longer remain trapped inside as it’s allowed to dissipate through breathable fibers where it evaporates off the garment

- By keeping their body at a comfortable temperature, workers can focus on the task at hand, which is critical in such hazardous industries

- The combination of moisture-wicking ability and AR/FR-rated protection won’t leave them to choose between comfort and safety

Moisture-wicking technology isn’t just for those brutal summer months. Maintaining dryness during the dead of winter is equally important, as excessive sweating beneath heavy layers of protective clothing can lead to hypothermia.

Instead of taking shelter under one large winter garment, consider helping your workers piece together several layers of breathable, wicking clothing that retains important heat without letting activity-induced sweating create a dangerous situation. By reducing the distractions caused by discomfort, excess heat, and undesirable moisture, the right AR/FR garments can help maintain worker productivity.

Clothing is the foundation of a worker’s PPE, so it should be high on the list when aiming to prevent heat stress. Physical comfort is one of the greatest barriers to performance and safety compliance, and the right AR/FR garments can help take that obstacle off the table.

Learn more about how defeating heat stress can increase worker compliance here: https://bit.ly/2TQlWQJ.