Wearing face protection is one of the simplest ways to shield one's face from the elements faced at work. For this reason, MCR Safety manufactures and supplies a wide selection of face protection: face shields, face masks, balaclavas, and neck gaiters. Depending on the style selected and how the user wears it, protection can cover the head, face, and neck. With additional PPE worn, such as safety glasses, a worker can shield most of their head and face. See the below image of a worker choosing to wear both a black balaclava and safety glasses.
When the temperatures drop, the snow begins falling, and the wind picks up, you need your neck, head, and face covered up.
And, if you think this is personal protective equipment (PPE) you can do without, think again. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 33,940 face injuries occurred in 2018. Of those, there were 750 that involved burns, so we stock a couple of FR Rated options. The top industries that recorded face injuries occur in construction, manufacturing, and mining.
Many industries may not face hazards that cause direct face injuries. However, most all will have workers operating in winter conditions, which means insulated masks play an important role in keeping workers warm. Balaclavas are one of the most commonly selected types of protection worn due to the insulating materials used.
In this article, we're going to highlight some of the different balaclava masks MCR Safety offers, and other PPE designed to protect one's face.
What Is a Balaclava Mask ?
Anyone who has had the misfortune of experiencing harsh winds, snow, and cold temperatures, without wearing a protective mask, knows the importance of covering the face. A balaclava mask is a piece of winter headgear designed to protect the head and face while exposing only the mouth, nose, and eyes—or sometimes just the eyes. It’s a versatile piece, and some designs also can be converted into a hat or collar. Balaclavas are sometimes called ski masks, but regardless of what you call them, a balaclava pattern, as shown in the above image, keeps your face and head warm in frigid conditions! They also protect the wearer from the sun, dust, wind, and even bugs.
Every construction worker knows how important a face mask is during winter weather.
They are versatile too! Balaclavas can be worn as full mask, half mask, or as a neck gaiter. Overall, here are some of the core features wearers look for in this type of PPE:
- Snug Fit
- Premium Quality
- Thin Material
- Value and Price
To choose the correct style, you must first understand what makes one mask different from another. This will ensure you get the feature above that's most important to you. In our next sections, we will break down all the styles we currently provide, including a product matrix that helps you see all your options in one spot.
MCR Safety’s Winter Selection
BLCVB - Black, Fleece Lined
A construction laborer working outside in cold weather knows it’s all about keeping your face warm and the cold chill at bay. That’s why a balaclava mask is part of the winter work outfit worn across many industries where workers are outside during winter months. For example, when you’re working on a roof or another outside construction activity and brutal cold winds are pounding you, facial protection becomes the PPE you rely on to stay warm.
MCR Safety understands the hazards you face when working outside in the winter. That’s why we offer high-quality balaclavas to protect you from frostbite and windburn while keeping your head comfortably dry and warm. Our fleece-lined balaclavas are designed to keep you warm in mild to extreme conditions. By covering the face, you stay warm during the worst winter conditions and survive any wind chill Mother Nature blows your way.
As the saying goes, “The show must go on,” and it goes on all year within the construction industry, in cold or hot weather.
Full-face protection includes wind protection that extends below the neckline. MCR Safety’s balaclavas are engineered to keep your entire neck covered and protected. Our non-FR styles are made of soft-stretch polyester fleece material; these garments help protect your head, face, ears, and neck from the discomforts of extreme conditions. The material is designed to retain heat and keep you warm!
Our premium BLCVB and BLCVL balaclavas have:
• 250-gram polyester fleece stretch fabric lining: for comfort and warmth
• Reflective binding: for enhanced visibility in low light
• Elastic binding around the face: for a secure fit to help protect against wind and cold
• Lightweight material: that fits under a helmet or hard hat without feeling too bulky
• Versatile winter hood: that can be worn in a variety of ways, from ski mask to neck gaiter
In addition to cold weather protection, using an MCR Safety balaclava for layering offers enhanced FR protection for jobs where you’re working with open flames or at risk for combustion or arc flash.
Stay warm when the weather turns bitterly cold with one of our balaclavas!
FR Face Covers and Masks
For those who need FR mask protection, such as those working in oil and gas or utilities, and only require Cat 2 certified products, our BLCVTCN is the one you'll need to purchase. The BLCVTCN is made of 5.5 ounce Westex® TrueComfort® flame resistant material and provides an Arc Thermal Performance Value (ATPV) of 8.9 cal/cm2. TrueComfort® knits are soft, lightweight, and guaranteed to retain their flame resistance for the garment's life.
We also stock the FRMASKDH1 too, which covers the face with two layers of Westex® DH flame resistant fabric. See the below image.
Our Best FR Rated Option
Those who find themselves working in the oil fields knows how FR insulated PPE is essential gear. With MCR Safety’s FR balaclava mask, you will be ready to head out into t
While a hoodie covers the head in cold environments, it leaves the face exposed. In most frigid work conditions, this can be dangerous. An FR hoodie, paired with a high-performance FR balaclava, is a perfect addition to your winter PPE.
A balaclava is a piece of winter headgear that protects the head and face while leaving the mouth, eyes, and nose exposed. Some styles can also be pulled up over the nose and mouth to offer increased protection. Balaclavas are ideal for preventing cold exposure and frostbite to the face and ears. OSHA does not set winter workwear requirements, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't use common sense. You’ll be safer and work better with proper cold-weather gear, like a balaclava.
For workers who face the risk of burns from flash fires and electrical arcs, an FR balaclava makes the most sense. Burns can happen in a split second. PPE made of fire-resistant material is often the only thing between you and severe injury or death. That’s why MCR Safety sells flame-resistant balaclavas made with CarbonX® material. These protect you from some of the most dangerous thermal hazards, from direct flame and extreme heat to molten metals, caustic chemicals, flammable liquids, and arc flash.
Our top-selling BLCVCX Flame-Resistant CAT3 Balaclava, shown in the image above, is made of 7.0 ounce CarbonX® flame-resistant rib-knit material that is soft, breathable, and stretchable, It is the perfect solution for protecting your face and neck from both thermal hazards and the cold.
Check Out the CarbonX Demo
No other FR brand matches the protection provided by CarbonX® FR fabrics. CarbonX® products are made of a high-performance fiber blend that doesn't ignite, burn, melt, drip, shrink, or char when exposed to direct flame, extreme heat, or molten materials. They even protect you from the intense temperatures of arc flash. Best of all, this material continues to withstand high temperatures with its original strength and integrity even after exposure to heat sources.
Additionally, CarbonX products are comfortable. The material is lightweight and wears like cotton. It is breathable and wicks away moisture, reducing the risk of heat stress.
Check out the demonstration of CarbonX’s durability and protection tested on a live person. Any question why we call this the supreme balaclava?
MCR Safety Stocks The Complete Offering
MCR Safety now offers four three different versions of balaclavas: a hi-viz balaclava, an FR Westex® TrueComfort®, an FR balaclava made with CarbonX, and a non-FR balaclava.
|NFPA Cat Rating
Balaclava Mask Matrix
In addition to our Balaclava offerings, we also stock the HVG8 neck gaiter too. Know for being lightweight, soft, and comfortable; many prefer this type of mask during the spring and fall. It can be used for covering the face, neck, or head. For the best maneuverability, you'll need to consider a lighter ounce mask, possibly even a neck gaiter for the best maneuverability.
All other face masks, such as ear loop masks, KN95 masks, and cotton masks, can be found here.
How do you pronounce balaclava?
- It is pronounced ba - luh - klaa - vuh. You can listen to it here.
How to wear a balaclava?
- The great thing about this face cover is that it keeps the entire head and face warm, especially the nose and ears. First, position the balaclava over your head, with the opening located on your face's front side. Second, move the balaclava down over your face to where it rests on your neck and shoulders. Third, straighten it to where openings are comfortable, and you can see.
What is the official balaclava definition?
- It is a closely fitting knitted cap designed for the head, face, and neck.
Do safety glasses fog while wearing a mask?
- There is a strong chance some safety glasses may fog due to warm air traveling from the mask over one's mouth. We recommend wearer consider using one of our Max 6 anti-fog styles, which perform 6X better than standard AF styles. We also now stock styles with UV-AF technology, which is 3X better performing than traditional AF styles.
What is the most lightweight option?
- You'll need to consider a lighter ounce mask for the best maneuverability, possibly even a neck gaiter for the best maneuverability. Our product matrix above shows the weight of each mask.
Cold Weather Face Protection
Workers who find themselves outside during cold winter weather know there is nothing better than covering their facec with an extremely warm and snug fitting balaclava. When the winter months start, being prepared is critical. When you're out in the cold, you will want to keep the wind out with one of MCR Safety's masks.
We welcome any comments, feedback, or suggestions for how we can best protect people at work.
For over 45 years, MCR Safety has proven to be a world leader in gloves, glasses, and garments. Whether it’s on the shop floor, an oil rig, or a construction site, we are there providing solutions to workplace hazards. It’s all part of our commitment to protect people.
No matter your industry, we have the personal protective equipment you need.
Learn more about MCR Safety by checking out our most recent video. For more information, browse our website, request a catalog, find a distributor, or give us a call at 800-955-6887.