29 "Cool" gadgets and gear for working in the heat

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Overheated

Note: This story, which first ran August 14, 2017, was updated May 29, 2024, to reflect new links, prices and products.

There's no real secret to keeping cool, but if you want to go the extra mile to beat the summer heat on the jobsite, there are plenty of gadgets available to help.

They range from the simple neck band to a full-out fan-cooled jacket. Below, we list 29 products we've found online that might be of interest to construction workers.

At the end of the article, we also provide OSHA's recommendations for what employers and their workers should do for a safe summer jobsite.

Face covers

Arctic Cool Cooling Face Gaiter: The face covers are made of 92% polyester and 8% spandex that is soft and breathable and has UPF 50+ sun protection, the company says. Cost: $9.80 for 3 pack.

Occunomix Cooling Face CoverOccunomix gaiter face coverOccunomixWicking & Cooling Neck Head Gaiter Face Cover by OccuNomix: The Industrial SafetyGear website says this product provides dust, debris, heat and UV protection. It is designed to wick moisture and provide evaporative cooling, the company says. Cost: $7.54.

Milwaukee Tool Workskin Performance Neck Gaiter: Constructed with moisture-wicking fabric with an adjustable rear drawstring, it is designed to dry fast. It also has UPF 50 sun protection and anti-microbial treatment to prevent odors and bacteria buildup. Available in red and gray. Cost: $19.97

Cooling 12-in-1 Neck Gaiter by Mission: The company says the neck gaiter is designed to stay cool up to 2 hours and then can be wet again. It also provides UPF 50 sun protection. Cost: $14.99.

Headwear

Condor Sweatband Terry ClothCondor terry cloth sweatbandCondor Sweatband Terry Cloth: The washable sweatband for hard hats is attached to the head gear or wrapped around the suspension to absorb perspiration. Its cushioning is designed to make the hard hat more comfortable. Cost: $3.78 each.

Chill-Its Cooling Headband: Ergodyne's headband is designed to stretch to fit most head sizes. It can be wetted for cooling. When dry, it absorbs sweat and whisks moisture away. It provides UPF 50+ sun protection. It also can be worn under a hard hat or hat. Available in Hi-Vis lime and orange, as well as other colors. Machine washable. Cost: $6.55.

NoSweat Hard Hat Liner by NoSweatCo: This disposable liner, which can be put in a hard hat, is made of “SweatLock technology” to wick away sweat from the forehead, keeping it from your face and eyes. Cost: $24.99 for six-pack.

Magid Cool Powered by Mission Hi-Vis Cooling Skull Cap: Cools in under 60 seconds and keeps cool for up to 2 hours, company says. Fabric cools to 30 degrees below average body temperature, and mesh top delivers even more cooling power, according to Mission. To activate, wet thoroughly with water, wring it out and snap (repeat to reactivate). Also has UPF 50 sun blocking. Cost: $9.10. 

MSA V-Gard C1 Hard Hat: Designed to keep the head 20% cooler in heat with its ReflectIR Thermal Barrier. Inside it has a moisture-wicking headband that can be removed and machine washed. It has a full brim for 12% more shade and a ratchet four-point suspension for fit. Cost: $57.29.

Neckwear

Neck Shade by OccuNomix: Made of cotton, the neck shade can be worn alone or under a hard hat to protect from the sun. It has a terry cloth sweatband at the forehead. Cost: $7.48.

Studson Cooling Helmet Liner with Nape: It is designed for longlasting, chemical-free cooling technology and UPF-50 sun protection. The company says its stays cool for up to 2 hours after being wetted and is machine washable. It is made of 92% polyesters, 8% spandex. Cost: $24.

Pyramex Cooling Beaded Bandana - American Flag: To get this neck or head bandana cool, soak it in water then knead to spread cooling gel. Polymer crystal beads provide heat stress relief, the company says. It is reusable and machine washable. Cost: $1.86.

ML Kishigo Neck ShadeML Kishigo Neck ShadeML Kishigo Brisk Cooling Neck Protector by Hi Vis Supply: The protector attaches to the inside or outside of a hard hat. First, submerge it in water for 1 to 2 minutes and squeeze out excess water. The company says cooling lasts 5 to 10 hours. Cost: $9.50.

Chill-Its 6660 Hard Hat Brim with Neck Shade: Attaches to hard hats to shade the face and neck. This full brim shade fits most hard hats, with an elastic rim plus hook and loop attachments for securing to the suspension. Available in hi-vis lime and orange. Hand wash as needed and hang to dry. Cost: $12.35.

Shirts

McKenna Sun Hoodie: The hoodie offers UPF 50+ sun protection and has side mesh panels for ventilation. It is designed to be “ultra-breathable and quick-drying in the heat” and wick sweat away. Drop shoulder seams are designed to reduce abrasion and chaffing. It can also be bought as short sleeve or long sleeve without hood. Hoodie cost: $49.

Workskin Lightweight Performance Shirts from Milwaukee Tool: The T-shirts, which come in high-visibility colors as well as red and black, are made of 100% polyester for fast drying and moisture wicking. They are lightweight and designed to provide UPF protection. Cost: $29.97.

Radians ST11Short Sleeve Reflective TshirtRadians Mesh Safety ShirtRadians ST11 Type R Class 2 Mesh Safety Shirt: The shirt is designed to wick moisture and accelerate evaporation, says the FullSource website. The reflective stripes are adhered by heat transfer rather than sewn on to make it feel more like a regular T-shirt. It also has a front pocket. Cost: $10.99.

Magid Cool Powered by Mission Cooling Safety Shirt: The cooling is activated by water in under 60 seconds and cools the body 30 degrees below body temperature for 2 hours, the company says. To activate, wet the shirt thoroughly, wring it out and snap. The process can be repeated as needed. UPF 50 sun protection; comes in hi-vis safety colors. Cost: $28.25.

Arctic Cool Cooling Pocket Safety Workwear T-Shirt: ANSI Class 2-certified, the polyester-blend shirt has "HydroFreeze X Technology" that the company says reduces fabric temperature. It also is designed to wick away moisture "that pulls sweat away from the skin and disperses it through the shirt." It is designed to fit loosely and has "4-way stretch." It is also antimicrobial and has UPF 50+ sun protection. Cost: $45. 

Pyramex RLPH110 Type R Class 3 Long Sleeve Pullover Hoodie: Pyramex says these lightweight hoodies provide UPF 50+ protection and are made with moisture-wicking polyester fabric. They also have a cellphone pocket. Cost: $36.59.

Vests

Hi-Vis Vest by Blaklader: The vest features front and back mesh polyester fabric. It also has chest pockets, one with flap and one with pen pockets; front pockets with flap; inside iPad-pocket; inner pocket with velcro closure. Cost: $29.95.

Chill-Its 6665 Evaporative Cooling Vest: This vest can be activated in a cooler with water to provide 4 hours of cooling, the company says. It is made of 100% quilted nylon with mesh side panels for ventilation. It is available in hi-vis safety colors and is hand washable. Cost: $46.95.

Sta Cool Industrial VestStaCool Premium Industrial VestStaCool Premium Industrial Vests: Constructed of Denier Nylon Diamond Ripstop material, the stain-resistant vests are available in black, safety yellow, orange and green. They are adjustable by Velcro at the shoulders, chest and stomach. The vest has three front and three back pockets to hold the ThermoPaks. An extra set of ThermoPaks comes with each vest. Fully hydrated, the vest weighs 6.5 pounds. Cost: $265. (Note: the company website only shows black color vest. For details on other colors and vests: [email protected] or call 866-782-2665.)

Chill-Its 6685 Premium Dry Evaporative Cooling Vest by Ergodyne: The company says this vest provides dry cooling relief up to three days. It is designed with a V-neck with front zipper closure, with mesh side panels. Before wearing the vest, fill it with 13 to 20 ounces of water. Cost: $192.95.

Zipper Vest with Kool Max Strip Packs and Cool58 Packs by Polar Products: This Polar Technology Kit includes the Adjustable Zipper Vest with four large pockets with two cooling pack technologies: a set of Kool Max frozen water-based packs and a set of Cool58 58-degree Fahrenheit phase change packs. Kool Max Packs offer the highest level of cooling and are the best choice when you have access to a freezer, the company says, and the Cool58 Packs can be reactivated on-the-go in a cooler of ice water. Cost: $267.89.

Standard Cool Vest, with High Visibility by Texas Cool Vest: The company says the vest maintains a 65-degree temperature with four cool packs that charge after being soaked in ice water for 20 minutes, and the packs last about 2 1/2 hours before needing to be re-soaked. The vest has adjustable shoulders, a zipper front and six adjustable side straps. Cost: $149.95 and up.

Miscellaneous

Makita fan jacketMakita fan jacketCordless Fan Jacket by Makita: Two fans are sewn onto the back of the jacket, on the left and right. They run up to 11 hours per charge on high setting with an 18-volt lithium-ion battery. Cost: $140-$363, depending on size on Amazon; battery and charger sold separately.

Reflective Safety Harness by 360 USA: These reflective safety harnesses are designed to be cooler and more comfortable than a traditional full vest while complying with ANSI standards. They have day and night visibility, cloth backing for comfort and can be adjusted to a custom fit as they fit over your clothes. They are stain-resistant and washable. Cost: $25.

Truewerk T1 WerkPant: These summer work pants feature four-way stretch, fast-drying fabric that is abrasion- and tear-resistant. The company says they wick sweat away from the skin and are designed for greater air flow. Cost: $89.

Cat Men's Coolmax Work Pants: Made of 75% cotton and 22% Coolmax stretch polyester and 3% Lycra, the pants are designed to keep you cool by wicking moisture and allowing the passage of heat from your body, and it dries quickly. The pants have cargo, tool and cellphone pockets. Cost: $70.

What OSHA says

Train all workers. Employers should train supervisors and workers on how to control and recognize heat hazards. Workers should also know about first aid for heat illness. 

Follow the 20% rule. On a worker’s first day, no more than 20% of the duration of their shift should be at full intensity in the heat. The duration of time at full intensity should be increased by no more than 20% a day until workers are used to working in the heat.

Water. Rest. Shade. Workers should drink one cup of water every 20 minutes while working in the heat to stay hydrated. When the temperature is high, employers should make sure workers take frequent rest breaks in shaded, cool or air-conditioned areas.

Workers new to the job are at higher risk. Workers who are new or returning to working in warm or hot environments need more time to adapt. 

Engineering controls and modified work practices can reduce the risk of heat illness. Consider reducing physical activity as much as possible by planning for the work ahead and rotating job functions among workers to help minimize exertion.

OSHA is currently working on a potential standard for prevention of heat illness and injury and is seeking comment from small businesses, including those in construction.

 

 

 

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