Safe workwear isn't always the most stylish, but that doesn't mean you can't be both safe and well-dressed on the job.
Every year in the United States, there are about 2.8 million nonfatal workplace accidents and injuries in the private sector. For example, nursing assistants, heavy truck drivers, construction workers, and freight, stock, and material movers have some of the highest rates of work-related injuries and illnesses.
Some common workplace injuries include
slips, trips, and falls
repetitive motion injuries
sprains and strains
cuts and lacerations
object striking workers
exposure to harmful substances.
Many of these injuries can be prevented if the workers wear the proper clothing and gear for their specific jobs.
A Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is any type of clothing or accessory worn by a worker to protect them from health, safety, and environmental hazards when on a worksite.
PPE aims to reduce employee exposure to hazards when engineering and administrative controls are not feasible or effective in reducing these risks to acceptable levels.
Here are some general guidelines for dressing safely at work, no matter what industry you're in:
Wear closed-toe shoes. This seems like a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised how many people show up to work in flip-flops or other open-toe shoes. Wearing closed-toe shoes will protect your feet from getting stepped on or crushed.
Wear the right gloves. Depending on your work, you may need to wear gloves to protect your hands from chemicals, cuts, or other hazards. Make sure you're wearing the correct type of gloves for the job.
Wear protective eyewear. If you work in a lab or around hazardous materials, you'll need to wear goggles or protective eyewear. This will protect your eyes from chemicals or flying debris.
Wear a dust mask. If you work in a dusty environment, it's important to wear a dust mask to avoid breathing in too much dust. This can be especially harmful if you have asthma or another respiratory condition.
Wear a hard hat. If you work in construction or around heavy machinery, you'll need to wear a hard hat to protect your head from falling objects or being struck by something.
Wear a reflective vest. If you work outdoors or in a low-light environment, you should wear a reflective vest to make sure you're visible to other people. This can help prevent accidents.
Wear appropriate clothing. In some workplaces, it's important to wear loose-fitting, breathable clothing. This is especially true if you work in a hot environment or around a fire.
Follow your company's dress code. In addition to these general guidelines, you should also follow your company's specific dress code. This might include wearing a certain type of clothing or safety gear.
The OSHA website also has some good tips on safety footwear, high-visibility apparel, and flame-resistant clothing.
Remember, dressing safely for work doesn't have to be boring. There are plenty of ways to be both safe and stylish on the job. Just make sure you're following the guidelines for your specific industry.