If COVID19 has largely highlighted the need to strengthen measures related to hygiene and health in companies, in particular by wearing a mask or by the presence of hydroalcoholic gels, it must be borne in mind that these are not the only materials that are mandatory in companies that must manage other risks and protect the health of employees. Focus on the cases where this material can be made compulsory.
The distinction between work clothing and protective clothing
We often confuse work clothes and protective clothing which do not have the same function. Work clothing is used above all to protect the individual against soiling related to his work but it can also be used to identify a profession (for example pilot uniforms or restaurant owners’ clothing) or even to contribute to a brand image. as we often meet in stores. They are provided by the employer, in particular when the work is particularly dirty or unhealthy, and the latter often ensures their maintenance.
Protective clothing is a sub-category of work clothing that serves to prevent hazards, including accidents. In this case, they must meet standards such as fire protection and are considered personal protective equipment. They serve above all to protect the health and ensure the safety of the worker against risks of various kinds. There is a plethora of protective clothing such as parkas, gowns, safety shoes, flame retardant clothing or latex gloves to recite nobody else but them.
Clothing adapted to the risk encountered
Finally, the presence or absence of a protective garment depends above all on its ability to protect against a risk even if it can be at the same time linked to comfort or to its functionality.
There are various risks that you must take into account: heat and burns, presence of chemicals, potential falling objects, risks of cuts. They are generally distinguished into 8 categories: mechanical, thermal, biological, chemical, lack of visibility, electrical and electrostatic, fall and drowning.
The risks that weigh are linked to the conditions in which the work is carried out or to the nature of the work. Thus your employees are confronted with dangers during exposure to high heat or cold, as well as during the handling of chemical and biological agents. These risks increase in certain activities such as construction or maintenance, as we have seen since the health crisis.
The types of clothing according to the risk
Thus a variety of clothing has been created and each of them adapts to a risk. Thus against heat and burns, non-flammable clothing will be preferred (standard EN 533) and their role is not to melt or spread fire or even those in industry exposed to heat (NF EN 531).
In the same way, bad weather and cold have their clothing adapted (standard EN 342) or against chemical risks. The best known remain those linked to mechanical risks and which are very present in fields linked to buildings or factories. The materials can therefore vary from one situation to another and according to the risk involved.