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At cold places of work like meat packing industries and cold stores, the clothing is an important factor for obtaining an acceptable thermal environment for man. A field study has been performed to investigate what type of clothing people normally are using in cold environments. The study was focused on the meat packing industries and workplaces with a temperature level of 5–10°C. Approximately 300 people participated.
The results showed that there were large individual difference in the thermal insulation of the clothing used, even if activity level and thermal environment were almost the same. The level of insulation varied between 0.6 and 2.2 clo. As an average the clothing selected provided the people with a thermal sensation around neutral. More than one third of the people did not find their clothing acceptable, both due to feeling cold and sweating. The study clearly indicated that it is difficult for people to select the right clothing and that protective work clothing has to be individually adjustable.
cold environment, clothing, comfort, subjective reactions, thermal insulation
research scientist, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia