The term work wear refers to the attire worn in an employee’s place of work. More precisely work wear tends to be associated with skilled trades people or any individual who needs to wear an overall and/or any work specific outfit that provides extra durability, waterproofing or safety when they carry out their duties. In very simplistic terms this kind of staff clothing can be seen as the direct opposite of that worn by those who would wear business suits to conduct important sales presentations. Protective work wear refers to garments such specialist goggles, boots as well as helmets and /or hard hats. In their entirety this clothing is designed to protect employees from electrical, chemical and heat hazards as well from pollution and accidents. Clearly, the work wear itself will not prevent an accident but forms part of the statutory requirements of many employers as they carry out their duty of care responsibilities to their employees. Workwear should garner the maximum possible protection to employees no matter the workplace, their occupation or nature of the unfolding hazard.
What does this mean?
If an employee is working in an enclosed space, where ventilation is likely to be inadequate, and contamination of the air by particulates or aerosol pollutants is likely, then a respirator should be worn. Employees who work with corrosive or reactive chemicals need to be protected from accidental spillages that can cause short-term injury, as well as long-term health problems. In environments where exposure to radiation such as UV light is possible extra protection is required for the eyes and skin. To protect the body from mechanical impact work wear as a minimum also includes appropriate hardhat and safety boots. Injuries to the feet are mitigated by the wearing of good strong safety boots that have steel contained within the upper and have thick corrosion resistant soles which are well gripped to avoid slipping on workplace floors. Such boots are expected in heavy duty environments such as construction sites. For those working with biological agents (including customs employees), such as parasites, animals or exotic plants more specific attire will likely be needed. Another facet of protective work wear is the necessity for heat and cut resistant clothing, all of which should provide the best-possible protection from temperature extremes and impact from sharp edges.
Eyes and Ears
In terms of workplace safety and protection the eyes and ears are arguably the most vulnerable and therefore easiest organs to harm. Eye injuries can occur from impact, when solid particles enter the eyeball, chemical, biological and thermal agents can all do serious damage. In a secondary school science laboratory students are not allowed to conduct experiments without eye protection, the same is true for people who are handling large amounts of industrial grade chemicals. For full respiratory and visual protection adequate airflow and the bearing of a full face mask is standard. Many shop floors and factory workshops are noisy, hectic places and so to protect against long term hearing damage; earphones, ear plugs and vacuum headphones should be provided as required. Regular exposure to a constant level of noise can do long term damage to hearing so one way to minimize the potential damage is for employees to cover their ears.
The types of work wear and minimal legal requirements concerning health and safety are under constant review, meaning that recommendations constantly change. Overall protective work wear is concerned with ascertaining the best-possible attire for all employees, irrespective of their occupation.

Published On: June 24th, 2015 / Categories: Blog / Tags: /

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