Clothes are one of the essential needs of a human being. Developed as primarily an adaptive measure, it can give varying levels of benefits to a person. Of course, during special conditions such as some situations during work, special pieces of clothing is a must to provide ideal protection and performance to its wearer. This article focuses on the different elements of work safety clothing.
Of course, the first part of safety clothing is the uniform. A set that includes what’s worn in the upper and lower body (sometimes it can even be in the form of a one-piece suit), it endows particular benefits to the person who wears it. Generally speaking, uniforms are composed of a long-sleeved shirt and pants. Made from heavy-duty cloth, garments used for uniforms are usually weather-friendly and can provide different degrees of protection from both physical and chemical agents.
Depending on the situation or condition, these clothes may bear some unique features that make it more suitable for the task at hand. Painters wear stain-proof clothing, firemen and race car drivers wear fireproof clothing, those who work in cold conditions wear insulated clothing, road workers and policemen wear reflectorized garments, and those who work around corrosive chemicals wear clothes resistant to chemicals. With these specially designed garments, the odds of the person getting away unscathed from potential work hazards are exponentially increased.
But work safety clothing goes beyond just wearing particular suits for specific work conditions. These working clothes are complemented by smaller yet equally important accessories that provide extra protection and performance benefits for its wearer.
- Helmet- Keeping the head protected is essential for safety. Depending on the needs of a worker, the helmet can have a varied structure. Some only protect the top of the head (ex.: Hard hats) while others provide full head and face protection (ex: driving helmets). The helmet should provide superior impact protection and force distribution properties. As such, its frame is often constructed using hard and force-absorbing materials. Other protective properties such as fireproofing can also be added.
- Eyewear- The eye is arguably the most important sense organ in humans. As such, it’s very important for it to be protected at all times. Different people have different protection demands. Those working at construction facilities or with firearms need impact protection goggles. These protect the eyes from physical contact and/or projectiles. Welders and pilots need shielded eyewear as it blocks excess glare from both damaging the eyes and compromising vision.
- Footwear- Specific footwear must be worn during particular situations. A particular type of footwear must allow the person to move around his/her workplace efficiently without slipping. Just like clothes, footwear can provide a combination of impact resistance, fireproofing, and corrosion resistance. The right type of footwear for a particular job depends on what type of traction and protection it provides.
- Gloves- Protecting the hands is equally important to protecting the feet. And the hands are protected with the help of gloves. Just like clothing and footwear, they can provide protection for potentially damaging agents such as heat, cold, fire, chemicals, abrasions, and impact. In order to not compromise movement and dexterity, the gloves can also have an articulated construction.