Sharkskin keeps miners warm

Working in wet conditions amplifies the cold as water draws heat from the body many times faster than air. Combine this with wind and the chill factor can be unbearable. Constant exposure to moisture can be a major issue for skin problems and potential infection.

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Specialised garments like this provide industrial users thermal protection in extreme conditions

One of the greatest avoidable risks in the workplace is exposure to cold and wet conditions. Underground mining is often cold, wet and windy, a recipe for potential problems. Problems that until now there have been few effective solutions.

Neptune is a local Hunter Valley company that manufactures products for use in water sports and commercial applications. It is the largest national supplier of apparel for waterborne applications for the army, navy, police and rescue services. They also supply products for recreational water sports across the country and globally.

Recognised as experts in thermal protection in wet, cold and windy environments, Neptune specialises in keeping people warm in the most extreme conditions on earth. When James Cameron produced a Hollywood movie in Australia about cave diving, the company designed the above and below water apparel to keep the actors warm in cold and wet conditions for up to 8 hours filming per day.

Among the range of specialised garments Neptune manufactures, Sharkskin has proven to be one of the most highly effective products. It is a tri laminate technical fabric that is wind proof, breathable, moisture-wicking, lightweight, flexible and will stay warm even when 100 per cent saturated.

The product has garnered instant interest and appreciation amongst grateful miners when Neptune ran a trial in the mining community. Among the success stories has been that of a miner who suffered from constant wet feet from moisture in the mine and foot perspiration. Within a week of using the special fabric socks, the wetness and perspiration stopped. This is because any lingering trace of moisture had been quickly wicked away keeping his feet dry. Up until using the socks he reported sore feet from severe cracking, to the point where at the end of a work week he would have difficulty walking.

The initial feedback from miners has been overwhelmingly positive, with many reporting first-ever experiences of feeling physical warmth while at work. Many who operate in wet conditions have commented on the soft, high quality fleece material that effectively reduces abrasion from coal dust.

Neptune’s state-of-the-art production facilities can tailor the garments to almost any application. The company is continually evaluating products to meet the specific needs of the mining community. The company manufactures and wholesales neoprene products including gloves and kidney belts which have also registered strong interest from certain mining sectors. MAK Industrial, another Australian brand, is the exclusive Sharkskin distributor in the work-wear market. MAK has been operating in Newcastle since 2007 and prides itself on unique and innovative work-wear.

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These socks have proven to keep miners’ feet warm and dry at the workplace