Page 47 - OHS, March 2021
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cool for as long as two full hours. Perhaps best of all, the garments can be reactivated an unlimited number of times through the workday. So, a worker could literally grab a half empty water bottle that had been sitting in the sun all day and use it to activate their bandana for instant cool refreshment, thereby saving the cold water from their drink station to stay hydrated.
This technology was a true game changer in keeping workers safe in the heat. Manufacturers created several product types, including towels, neck gaiters, bandanas and even skull caps. The only catch, of course, was that it had to be an item that workers could get wet, wring out and put back on again.
Heat-Release Technology
The demand for body-cooling gear that didn’t rely on adding water sent manufacturers back to the lab to experiment with different weaves and materials to give safety professionals even more options for keeping workers safe in the heat. The result is the latest in cooling technology—VaporActive fabrics.
These fabrics employ a patent-pending construction to remove sweat from the body and allow it to evaporate to cool the wearer down. The first layer of the garment pulls heat and moisture away from the skin and actually passes it through to the outer layer, leaving the skin-side dry to the touch. Then, the outer layer allows the moisture to evaporate. This provides the double benefit of keeping the wearer both cool and dry, allowing the body to stay at a
safe temperature through the natural process of sweating, without leaving the fabric soaked in that same sweat. It’s a bit like changing into fresh clothing, without actually having to change.
ThThese garments are ideal for hot conditions, but they’re also useful for layering up in the cold as they prevent base layers from becoming saturated with sweat that can lower body temperature in cold conditions.
Use All the Tools in Your Toolbox
The beauty of all of these products, methods and pieces of information is that you don’t have to pick just one. In fact, a combination of education, hydration, breaks, shade, traditional methods and new technologies are your best defense against the potentially devastating effects of overheating. Choose the best options for your workers to make this avoidable and too common injury a thing of the past!
M.B. Sutherland ( is the Sr. Safety Writer at Magid, a U.S. manufacturer and distributor of head-to-toe PPE. For more information, visit or call 773-309-4372.
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