An office worker might not consider their clothing choices for the day outside the boundaries of what is fashionable, whereas those heading out for a long day working on railway lines or behind the scenes in factories must carefully consider every item they decide to put on that day.
You wouldn’t ride a motorcycle without a helmet, so those working in construction or the railway should never head to a site without a hard hat and the other clothing requirements expected when completing jobs in such hazardous industries.
PPE (protective personal equipment) is essential in many workplaces, but especially those that come into contact regularly with hazardous conditions and work ‘live’ or near live wires, extreme heat or cold and operate dangerous machinery. While you must know where the exits are, you should also know which PPE is fit for purpose. For those working with or near electricity, garments must be anti arc, anti static and flame retardant.
High-vis jackets and trousers, for example, not only ensure workers can be seen when completing jobs in poor light but they also have other properties to comply with health and safety regulations. Just take a look at the Safeaid website and you will see – detailed next to each item – a long list of properties, including performance.
A pair of Signal rail coveralls, for example, comply with the EN ISO 20471 Class 3 regulation required of high-vis clothing and feature high-vis bands at least 50mm apart on the sleeves. As well as this they are EN343 Class 3:3 compliant, which means they protect the wearer against wet weather and are also GO/RT 3279 compliant – a standard set by the rail industry to ensure clothing meets their standards.
All of these regulations and measures guarantee the following:
- The wearer is protected in hazardous conditions.
- Workers are comfortable while carrying out tasks.
- The business is meeting legal requirements to enforce good health and safety practice.
- The business is protected from law suits and legal action being taken against them.
- High quality PPE is being worn.
The correct workwear positions the business as a responsible employer. Management and site visitors must always have the correct Hi-Vis clothing on too.
PPE covers everything from eye protection to footwear that prevents slips and trips, and it is the employer’s responsibility to outline to workers what is expected of them in regards to correct clothing and to provide this. In turn it is the worker’s responsibility to wear it correctly! Stay safe whatever industry you work in and ensure you wear the correct clothing to ensure workplace safety.