Tips from Lapland: How to work outside in freezing weather

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Frosty greetings from Sodankylä, Northern Finland, where the temperature has dropped to minus 30 degrees Celsius. These kinds of conditions are challenging when precise work has to be done by hand. We asked Topi, one of our northern technicians, how the current weather effects his work and if he had any tips on working in extreme environments.

-10 degrees

It is still possible to do the work without constantly stopping to warm one’s hands. Hands are the first to freeze since heavy gloves can’t be used while doing precise work, like mounting small conductors. Working precisely on small things is virtually impossible with heavier gloves.

Metallic doors are tricky to work with in cold weather since frost and metal don’t go well together. Wooden doors are nicer to work with in the cold. Draft is also a foe when working on open doors.

-20 degrees

Fingers start freezing faster and the body gets cold quicker. You have to go inside or go sit in a car to warm up more often in order to finish the job.

-25-30 degrees

You can only work on a door for a few minutes before feeling starts to go from the fingers. It is a bad idea to touch a metallic door in these temperatures. The metal is so cold that fingers freeze immediately, even when wearing assembly gloves. It is best not to touch any metallic things longer than necessary since the cold gets to you quickly and is hard to shed.

Hand warmers can be a godsend in the cold. They are worth testing.

Withstanding the cold with overalls

Layers are the key when dressing for the northern climate. If the layers are planned wisely it can be handy to take of some pieces of clothing when going from outside to inside. We northeners routinely carry overalls with us in case we have to do a lot of outdoor work. Overalls are handy to dress on top of usual work clothes. It is also important to have quality shoes to prevent your toes from freezing.

Lastly Topi remarks, ”Since it is always dark in the arctic circle during winter it is important to make sure that your headlamp’s battery never runs out”.

Good luck to everyone working outside in these conditions. It can be done with finnish ”sisu”!