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Maintaining Peripheral Vision

Headwear vs. Hoods When Working in the Cold

We’ve all heard the old wives’ tale that 90% of your body heat escapes through your head when it’s cold. While that isn’t true, you do lose some body heat through exposed areas, so you have to cover your head when working in the cold. For many, this means throwing up the hood attached to your sweatshirt or jacket and heading out into the cold to start you day. But when you work in the cold and safety is a concern, hoods might not be the best choice for you.

Our peripheral vision isn’t something we think about regularly (or at all), but it’s constantly allowing us to process our surroundings. When operating equipment, such as a forklift, it’s vital that peripheral vision not be impaired. Why? While we focus on what is directly in front of us, our brains use what our peripheral vision picks up to create an entire image of what is around us. When driving a forklift, you need to be aware of where racks are, if someone is walking up from the side or another forklift is approaching and other hazards that might come up that aren’t in your direct line of sight. If your peripheral vision is blocked it can cause accidents because you weren’t aware of an approaching coworker or how close a rack really was. Peripheral vision allows us to react quickly and avoid potentially disastrous results.

What does that have to do with hoods and headwear? Hoods can severely impact your peripheral vision and therefore be unsafe for work. So much so, in fact, that many workplaces and job sites have rules forbidding hoods as protection because of the safety concerns. The reason is that hoods aren’t tight fitting to your face, and don’t move with you, meaning more than just your peripheral vision is compromised. If you turn your head but not your body, you are turning part of your direct sightline into the hood, further obstructing your vision.

Headwear designed to protect from the cold fits firmly against your head (and face, if wearing a mask). This means you peripheral vision isn’t blocked from loose gear, and that your gear moves with you when turning your head. Whether you need the simple protection of a knit watch cap or the full-face protection of a mask or balaclava, we’ve got the headwear you need to stay protected and safe at work. Paired with any of our jackets, you’ll stay warm without risking an accident.

Peripheral vision not a concern? If you like hoods, we’ve got gear that’ll keep you covered too. From industrial-strength hoodies to subzero-rated jackets with detachable hoods, RefrigiWear has the gear you need to get the job done no matter the weather.