Cold during the work activities is uncomfortable, but sometimes inevitable. For instance, road and water works during the winter months or work in the offshore, where moist and wind cause extremely low temperatures. There are also production spaces or cold storages where it is always cold. 

A distinction is often made between temperature and wind chill factor; if the wind blows harder, it feels colder. The wind chill factor is thus calculated on the basis of temperature and wind force. This is done, for instance, on the website of the KNMI (Dutch meteorological institute).


In most cases, cold is uncomfortable at most. Still, there may be situations that could also impose risks: also may pose risks: 

  • Hypothermia: a healthy body temperature is between the 35.5 °C and 37.8 °C. The term hypothermia is used officially if your body temperature drops below 35 °C. The bodily condition becomes critical below 32 °C. At that point, the metabolism is at risk.  
  • Freezing: At temperatures below 0 °C, vulnerable body parts, such as your nose, fingers and ears, may freeze. This could become so severe that part of the limb dies (injury due to severe cold). 
  • • Common coldis not a direct consequence of cold conditions. It is a fact though, that your resistance will deteriorate because your mucous membranes are less well perfused. On top of that, the body must work hard to keep warm.  

Three-layer system 

Dressing in layers with “still air” between them, will create additional insulation. In case of protection against cold, we work in accordance with the proven three-layer system: 

  1. Wind and water-tight layer: wind and water have an effect on the wind chill factor. Therefore, it is important to stop this. Do ensure that this layer is ventilating, otherwise the (rain) coat will become wet from the inside. 
  2. Insulation layer: this can be achieved even with a jumper or fleece vest. They constrain the air and thus the warmth, keeping you warm. 
  3. Thermo layer::this layer absorbs perspiration and discharges it. This is necessary because perspiration aims to cool down your body. This basic layer prevents cooling down too rapidly when sweating. Specifically in the wintertime, this is an important part of your clothing. 

Personal protection  

In general, an employer must offer an employee additional clothing when the temperature drops below 15 degrees. This is a guideline, so it is not legislated, unless it is part of the CLA. Depending on the work activities, you can choose from the following protective equipment:  

  • Outdoor clothing/all-weather clothing  
  • Thermo-underwear  
  • Cap or helmet-hood  
  • Supported gloves
  • Supported shoes or boots  
  • Thermo socks:
  • Turtleneck: safe alternative for the scarf, that could get entangled in rotating parts

In case of extreme cold:  

  • Over-gloves: for a wind and watertight layer 
  • Balaklava  
  • Cyclops glasses: will protect against windchill and snow blindness windchill and snow blindness 


Applying the above, take account of the fact that ‘winter items’ may impose a new threat. A polyester turtleneck may be nice and warm and comfortable, but it would be irresponsible in combination with welding and grinding activities.

Corporate identity clothing

Which role can a PPE-consultant fulfil here? 

Regarding many different work environments, our PPE-consultants have given thought to workwear. Technical developments make clothing usable more broadly and more comfortable, such as multinorm softshell coats. Workwear also provides opportunities for your appearance, such as by use of house-style colours, prints and logos.

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More information

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Phone: +31 184 434 455


By use of our scan, we inventory risks at function level. By means of an advisory report and a PPE-matrix, you will get an overview of the required protection measures. More information about the PPE-scan. 

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