Safety apparel, also known as protective clothing, is one of the needed personal protective equipment (PPE) in the workplace. The clothing is intended to provide protection and to reduce risk of accidents to the wearer when performing their tasks.
A wide range of materials are used to produce different types of protective clothing. The effectiveness of each protective clothing depends on the types of material and design used to provide protection for each hazard. Different types of protective clothing cater to different conditions like exposure to chemical, heat, flame, cold, electrical charge, weather, antistatic, low visibility, and general use. Design can be in kind of full body coverall, coats, vests, apron, surgical gowns or in a jacket and trouser version that is meant for long term or in disposable manner.
DETAILS TO IDENTIFY WHEN CHOOSING & USING A PROPER SAFETY APPAREL
It is important to know the types of hazard employees will be facing in their workplace to provide a proper protective clothing. Each employee working in a different department or field shall be equipped with a different type of clothing to accommodate to the potential risks. For instance, employees in the healthcare centers with possible exposure to chemical or contagious particles need chemical resistant clothing while employees in the electrostatic environment need the antistatic ESD protective clothing.
While employer prepares necessary protective clothing for the employees, it is also crucial to let employees understand the reason for wearing the protective clothing and their features, so they are aware of the do’s and don’ts when wearing them. Sizes must be properly selected as well as some clothing needs to be worn in bigger, smaller or in fit size for better movement and effectiveness. Back to the example of a chemical resistant clothing, employees need to recognize the state of chemical involved to determine the level of protective coverall to wear in the lab. The provided coverall needs to be on until the employee completes the task and move out from the chemical exposed environment to avoid any contamination.
Employees should also be trained in methods to wear the protective clothing properly as it makes a huge difference between being safety covered or dangerously exposed. They should be informed of the proper method to put on, adjust and remove to avoid any unnecessary damage when handling the job. Employers may request training or sharing session from PPE supplier to new employees or those new to the protective clothing.
While each protective clothing has a unique life span and care method, it is important to be aware of the proper care, maintenance, and disposal direction. Improper care of the protective clothing may possibly decrease the usage frequency and effectiveness. For example, washing a fire retardant (FR) protective apparel with special detergent for FR garment instead of the ordinary clothing detergent will preserve the FR properties for more washes. As for disposable protective clothing, employers need to prepare proper disposal bins be it for recycling or hazardous disposal types.
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