Layered Systems Gear Is Key for Keeping Workers Warm and Visible 

Layered systems gear keeps workers warm and visible
By Scott A. Corrao, president of Reflective Apparel 

For employees who work in cold environments, a uniform is more than a form of identification. Uniforms protect against cold and provide ANSI-compliant high-visibility

There is no OSHA requirement that dictates cold-weather clothing. However, it is a best practice for employers to provide workers with winter gear. Exposing workers to extreme cold for long periods of time puts workers at risk, which conflicts with OSHA regulations (Section A(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970). 

A report by the National Center for Health Statistics shows that cold kills more Americans than heat. Out of approximately 2,000 weather-related deaths over a 12-month period, 63 percent were caused by exposure to cold, while 31 percent were heat-related. 

Layering is still the best way to stay warm. It is also the best way to get the most out of outerwear. Reflective Apparel’s ANSI-Compliant 3-in-1 Layered Systems Gear is customizable for comfort, safety and longevity. 


Workers are usually most comfortable in cold weather when they wear at least three layers of loose fitting clothing– a base layer, mid-layer and outer layer. This provides options to adjust to temperature changes. Only having one heavy jacket means workers may be too hot with it on, but may freeze without it. Layering keeps workers warm, but it also prevents them from overheating. 

The base layer should wick moisture away from the body. Sweat can cool the body too much in cold temperatures. Workers can choose to wear a light- or medium-weight shirt with wicking properties, such as WildSpark’s long sleeve shirt. 

Next is the mid-layer, or inner shell. Reflective Apparel’s Layered Systems Gear inner shell options include multiple fabric weights, detachable hoods, thermal fabrics, and waterproof materials. The mid-layer provides added insulation and warmth. The mid-layer may be a sweatshirt, hoodie or three-season jacket. 

The final outer layer provides protection against water, snow and wind. Reflective Apparel’s waterproof Systems Gear ANSI parkas and jackets not only provide warmth, but are also ANSI-compliant. 

Safety Considerations

When planning cold weather safety apparel, consider how extreme the temperatures are. The thickness of the layers should match the severity of the climate. For extreme weather conditions, the 433STLB Safety Jacket: ThinsulateTM Parka is one of the most popular options. 

Also remember that many base layers are not ANSI-compliant. So consider if a worker removes outer ANSI-gear, how will you keep them ANSI-compliant? 

Beware of allowing workers to rely on heated technology that provides warmth for a limited amount of time. If the technology fails, or if there is no back up battery supply, workers may not be warm enough over a long period of time. Workers need fail-safe safety apparel that goes the distance. 

Another safety consideration is corporate branding on cold-weather uniforms. In addition to keeping workers warm and visible, corporate-branded uniforms increase safety and security at job-sites. Logos and personalization make it easier to differentiate between employees who should be on premises and potential trespassers. 


The more customizable your safety apparel is, the more longevity workers will get out of it. Three-season safety apparel takes workers from early fall all the way to late spring and everything in between. 

Reflective Apparel’s ANSI-Compliant 3-in-1 Layered Systems Gear has interchangeable parkas, jackets, and sweatshirts that can be used separately or together to increase the versatility and seasonal longevity of the safety apparel. The combined two jackets are waterproof and breathable. Anytime a worker needs to adjust to changing temperatures, they can unzip and unsnap the inner coat and each jacket can be worn separately or the whole system can be reconfigured. 


Scott A. Corrao is the president of Reflective Apparel, which manufacturers quality high visibility garments for public and private sector workers, including firefighters, police officers, railroad workers, Department of Transportation employees, construction workers and airport employees. Originally founded in 1989 to support the public safety market’s need for nighttime reflectivity, Reflective Apparel was at the forefront of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Standard for High Visibility Safety Apparel, having pioneered many of the ANSI garment solutions found today. Reflective Apparel’s warehouse and production facilities are located in Marietta, Georgia. For more information, visit 

Also read, Reflective Apparel Introduces RAflect50, High Visibility ANSI Compliant Uniforms Engineered for Industrial Laundries