Protective Workwear: An Employer’s Guide

Protective workwear is incredibly common; it is used by a lot of different industries to safeguard the staff. Often, providing workwear for your staff is a legal obligation. Your staff have the right to be and feel safe at work, and protective workwear can go a long way in lessening the risk of accidents and injuries. Let’s get into it.

A Background

Protective workwear is an umbrella term that encapsulates any piece of clothing worn by an employee in order to allow them to safely carry out their jobs. They are meant to offset the risks posed by working in hazardous conditions. The specifics will vary depending on the industry and the job role. That being said, one of the biggest industries that utilise workwear is construction. They need to wear things like hi-vis, steel toe capped boots, goggles, helmets, and gloves, which, incidentally, you can find from Cobra Workwear. They offer a wide range of options, so you can find the ones that suit your needs. 

Why is it Worn?

As mentioned above, protective workwear is worn to protect workers. It helps to limit the exposure to potentially harmful elements or situations. The hazard posed will affect which article of protective workwear is needed. If your staff frequently have to work with dangerous chemicals, then perhaps a respirator or mask should be worn as well as gloves and goggles. If visibility is the issue, then hi-vis makes sense. Working with tools or machinery can also be considered hazardous and proper clothing should be provided. 

Eye injuries are more common than you would think because small particles can very easily enter the eye, causing pain and other issues. Blunt force injuries are also fairly common when working in construction which is why hardhats should be enforced. Some industries are loud, and being in that environment every day can severely affect your hearing and lead to damage and deafness, which is why earmuffs should be offered to staff who have to work with loud machinery. Finally, a lot of these industries are often untidy despite best efforts which can lead to slips and trips; while safety boots can protect the feet to some degree, encouraging tidy practices and vigilance is also important. 

Identifying the Risks 

As an employer, it is your job to identify the risks that your staff face. Usually, this will mean conducting risk assessments regularly to work out what, where and how severe the risks are. All areas of the business should be considered, from the environment that your staff are working in to the equipment that they are using to do their jobs. The government also has mandates in place as to what constitutes a risk or a hazard and what measures need to be taken to safeguard the health and safety of your employees. The protective wear can then be provided for the employees and enforced depending on where it will be the most effective.

Other Safety Measures

In addition to protective workwear, there are a number of other safety measures that you should have in place for your employees. Firstly, you ought to put more thought into the lighting; working in low light can be dangerous. Poor lighting increasing the likelihood of injury; it can also increase feelings of fatigue and even lead to eye strain. Depending on the task at hand, better or precision lighting might be necessary. Headlamps or torches can make it a lot easier for your staff to do their work. The equipment that they use will also need to be thought about. It will need to be checked regularly to ensure that it is safe. In addition, as the employer, it is your responsibility to ensure that your staff has everything they need to carry out tasks safely.

Your Liability

As the employer, you are responsible for a number of things when it comes to the workplace and your staff, not least their safety. You are under the obligation to ensure that your staff have a safe working environment and everything this entails. For most employers, this will mean carrying out any necessary maintenance work and repairs to the workplace. You are also likely obliged to provide them with any equipment or gear that they need to do their job. Finally, you should have carried out risk assessments too.

To Sum Up

Some industries pose more dangers and hazards to their staff than others; that is the simple truth. As an employer, the health and safety of your employees are in your hands. You are responsible for them. Protective workwear is only one element; while important, it alone will not keep your staff safe, but when used in conjunction with other safety measures, it can definitely help. If your employees are injured in the workplace, and it is due to your negligence, then there could be severe repercussions which could have far-reaching effects.