Work Clothes as Protective Equipment
Every workplace has hazards, ranging from the possibility of fire or explosion, exposure to toxic chemicals, to being scratched or scraped by rough or jagged materials. Luckily, there is protective clothing designed to protect you against from the hazard you can encounter on the job. But protective clothing doesn’t eliminate a hazard; it protects you from the hazard IF you:
- Select the right clothing for the hazard
- Make sure the clothing fits properly
- Wear the clothing when you might be exposed to the hazard
- Maintain the clothing so that it can do its job.
Suggested Discussion Questions
- What are some of the hazards that require protective clothing?
- What kind of clothing do you use to protect against corrosives?
- What kind of clothing do you use to protect against heat or fire?
- What kind of clothing do you use to protect against toxic chemicals?
- Where do you look to determine what protection you need for a specific hazardous substance?
- What are some precautions to follow when you’re wearing regular work clothes?
- What do you do before put on protective clothing?
- What do you look for?
Protective clothing is an essential part of your on-the-job safety. The company has made a substantial investment in clothing that will protect you from hazards you encounter on the job, and you’ve received a lot of training on this subject.
But none of that will do any good unless you:
- Wear protective clothing for any job that involves hazards
- Be sure you are wearing the right clothing that will protect you from that hazard
- Inspect clothing carefully before putting it on.
- Remove clothing carefully to prevent contamination.
CLEAN, well-designed work garments in top condition—free from rips, tears, missing buttons or other defects—can reduce accidents.
Built-in hazards in work clothing may be waiting traps for the unwary in moments of carelessness or emergency. Many such hazards are commonplace and may not be recognized as dangerous.
- Dirty work clothing, for example, is more than an eyesore. It breeds accident and health hazards. Dirty or oil-soaked work garments often cause skin rashes, irritation, and other forms of dermatitis.
- Missing buttons are another accident hazard, which may not be recognized as such. If a workman has lost a button on the cuff of his shirt sleeve, the dangling cuff may easily get caught in the jaws of moving machinery and drag the wearer in after it.
- Tears and rips in work clothing are also potential causes of accidents.
- Cuffs on trousers are dangerous, since they can also catch on projections and cause crippling falls.
- Oil or chemical-soaked clothing (or clothing soaked with any flammable material) can easily lead to dermatitis or fatal burns.
- Floppy pockets, torn sleeves, and other such items of clothing are hazardous on at least two counts: loose or dangling ends may catch in moving machinery, and they may get caught on something and cause a fall.
- Defective, poorly designed, loose or ill-fitting clothing should not be worn to work.
- Loose belts, dangling ties, and fancy or ill-designed clothing.
Protective clothing. Under conditions indicating their use, flameproof, acid or fire-resistant garments and safety shoes are indispensable aids to safety.