Protective Work Clothing is the attire that is worn in place of regular clothing or over regular clothing to protect an individual or their clothing from damage or abnormal soiling or to maintain a high sanitary environment. This clothing includes items ranging from serving aprons, surgical gowns, farm coats, laboratory coats, shop coats and other dresses. They may also include uniforms worn for visual identification of personnel, for instance, those used by the military, the police, medical practitioners and guards among others.
For clothing to become uniform, the style and colour typically matches the corporate theme. There are rules that govern the use of protective work clothing dependent upon the governing body of that industry. The manufacturer may also set or have input in these rules and standards. Clothing may only be deemed protective clothing when it is used appropriately and follows the strict standards attached to it.
Typically used in industry, research or manufacturing, protective work clothing has numerous standards which include their applicability to the various conditions that surround a specific working environment. These standards could include protection from chemicals, heat, and physical objects in a working environment. They provide the guidance for selection, use, care and maintenance. Also, there are specialised standards specifically for the various sectors or adverse environments such as agriculture, medical use or even violent situations.
There are various hazard categories that govern the manufacture and use of protective work clothing. These are listed as physical hazards, chemical hazards and biological hazards. Under the chemical hazards, we have corrosives, allergens, dermal and systemic toxins. The physical hazards an individual should wear protective clothing to prevent themselves from are radiation, vibration and hot or cold thermal hazards. Finally, the biological hazards include environmental, human and animal pathogens. The standards that specify the use and performance of protective work clothing may fall into numerous categories. These categories exist to ensure the use of all protective clothing is relevant not only to the environment but also in a way that protects those using such clothing from harm.
There are standards that specify the visibility characteristics of a protective garment these are:
· protection against fluids and hazardous material
· protection against thermal hazards when working around electronic equipment like electric arcs
· protection against chemicals – this includes the requirements for the full body protection against any airborne solid particulates and protective clothing for application in welding and related processes
· clothing against heat and flames among others.
Performance specifications describe the properties of the specific materials, be it original or composite as tested by laboratory methods. They must be of a high rating and performance; failure to abide by this will mean they are not suitable for the work environment. If protective clothing is not fit for purpose, it could result in injury, infection or exposure to elements and risks the clothing were originally intended to prevent.
Risk assessment can help you pinpoint areas of your business that may require protective clothing. Risk planning mixed with health and safety can effectively save lives. At TutorCare we offer a wide range of courses for industries that cover all aspects of health and safety. Book now to take advantage of some of our latest offers for training on-site or online.