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The human factors or wearability needs of personal protective devices (ppd) and clothing (ppc) worn in the cold environment become more important as they must compromise with, and be adapted to, the clothing worn for cold protection. The occupational risks among outdoor workers in the cold can be aggravated if the wearability demands of ppd are not met. Failure to adequately meet user needs in currently used ppd in the cold environment has resulted in discomfort, injury, non-use and performance decrement among outdoor workers, particularly in the extreme cold regions. A preliminary study consisting of a literature survey in popular data bases and questionnaire survey among users of ppd, were carried out to ascertain what studies have already been conducted in this area and whether a wearability problem really exists among users, respectively. The literature revealed some specific areas where wearability problems exist and some research carried out on methods of testing of ergonomic characteristics of ppd. The questionnaire among ppd users in the cold climate confirmed that the workers do confront many inadequacies in the use of ppd. A case study carried out on ergonomic demands of safety shoes in the cold climate among users, manufacturers and experts revealed a similar trend of demands and priorities in ergonomics of shoes among all three groups. From the findings of the preliminary study it can be concluded that human factors research in ppd and particularly ppd worn on body extremities, viz. safety helmets, shoes and gloves, for use in the cold environment, seem urgent. Some research needs in the development of methods of testing for ppd evaluation are suggested.
personal protective devices, human factors, cold climate, testing methods
Senior lecturer and Director of Postgraduate Studies, Luleå University, Luleå,
Researcher, Luleå University, Luleå,