Safety is something that should be taken care of everyday. Employers and employees need to be extra vigilant about their responsibilities when it comes to workplace safety in high risk environments.
Investing in your technician workwear helps you create a great impression while providing the services. While the right workwear creating a great impression is just one piece of the puzzle, it can still go a long way in protecting Field Service Technicians. It can save them from getting serious injuries and developing illnesses in the long run.
Let’s dig deeper into the importance of trade staff workwear/technician workwear. We will discuss what kind of workwear is suitable for each trade as well as common PPE items and their benefits. We will go through what workwear is suitable for some of the trades. Finally, we’ll discuss the role of employers in making worksites safer for their staff.
Work site safety and the importance of workwear
Trade workwear and Personal Protective Equipment aka PPE, plays an important role in keeping employees safe from workplace hazards. Every business provides its employees a distinct workwear that they must wear while performing the job. This is especially true for construction workers, where high visibility and PPE is vital.
If an employee doesn’t feel protected, they will focus on protecting themselves rather than focusing on the task at hand. To fully understand the dangers of working in high risk environments with safety workwear, it’s important to first know the risks you could be dealing with.
Following are some of the risks that can be mitigated through the use of safety workwear:
- Getting electrocuted by wiring
- Workwear catching fire
- Chemical spills causing burns
- Grinder dust or asbestos causing respiratory diseases or lung cancer
- Machinery noise causing loss of hearing
- Fumes or sparks causing loss of eyesight
- Cuts, punctures, injuries or loss of limbs due to dangerous machinery
- Too much sun exposure causing sunburns or skin cancer
- Head injuries due to trips or falls from heights
- Broken bones due to slips on slope or uneven surfaces
What Trade Occupations require Hi-Vis workwear
High visibility workwear is used to improve the visibility of the workers on the site. It helps avoid accidents due to its reflective properties. It is a regular item in the workplace and is considered a vital part of an employee’s personal protective equipment.
There are a range of occupations that require hi-vis workwear. From a trades point of view, these include:
- Construction site workers
- Oil and gas engineers
- Utilities installation technicians
- Underground or excavation work
- Plumbers and electricians
Common PPE Items and Their Uses
Safety Workwear does not include just the clothing. It includes protection for each and every body part this is at risk while performing the job. These are called personal protective equipment or PPE.
- Ear Muffs
Construction workers, carpenters, welders and other tradespeople are often exposed to loud noises on work sites. This could potentially cause irreparable damage to their hearing. To protect your Field Service Technicians from this hazard, ear defenders, ear plugs or ear muffs are a must.
- Safety Boots
Safety boots come in a variety of soles, in order to serve different purposes. Some have anti-slip soles to avoid falling off slopes such as roofs. Others offer qualities such as being chemical resistant, electrically conductive and thermally insulated. With the right safety boots at work sites, workplace hazards can be avoided to a great extent.
- Safety Gloves
Another useful PPE item are safety gloves. These are intended to protect your hands from workplace injuries such as cuts, burns, electric shocks and even sun exposure. However, it must be kept in mind that these should be worn only when needed for the intended purpose. Just like other protective equipment, these also come in a variety of materials, to protect from a specific workplace risk.
- Hard Hats
Hard hats also referred to as safety helmets are intended to protect the Field Service Technicians from head injuries. This could be from objects falling from above or due to falls. It also serves as protection from electrical shocks or from rain. With the right head protection, most of the common head injuries can be avoided at the workplace.
- Hi-Vis Clothing
The purpose of hi-vis clothing is to ensure that everyone can see workers on busy worksites. Depending upon the nature of your work as well as the work environment, hi-vis workwear can vary.
During day time, workers are required to wear hi-vis shirts of fluorescent colour and reflective stripes. At night, trades staff workwear should be made of retro reflective material. The Hi-vis clothing should also be able to protect from chemicals as well as UV rays.
- Safety Glasses
Some employers need to provide their workers with eye protection from chemical fumes, flying particles, sparks etc. The safety glasses must be the right fit so that they do not hinder the vision and end up causing even bigger damage.
- Respiratory Protection
Most construction sites are subject to high levels of dust, fumes and gases. If inhaled, the toxins that enter the body could be fatal. For this purpose respirators or masks are an essential PPE item. Masks come in a variety of materials and designs each fit to provide protection against a specific workplace condition.
- Full Body Protection
Protective coveralls and cut protection sleeves are yet another PPE item. These are tailor made to be used under extreme conditions such as heat or radiation.
What Workwear Different Tradespeople Wear
High-risk jobs call for companies to set up Policies and safety workwear, Having said that, there is no one size fits all. Each occupation has its own workplace risks and hence the safety workwear should match accordingly.
Let’s look at some of the most common trades and the workwear that best fits their occupation.
Electricians’ clothing is designed to avoid injury from heat, sparks and electrical shocks. It is made of flame and heat resistant material. They also need insulated rubber gloves and work boots along with safety glasses and neck protection.
Plumbers have to do a good amount of kneeling down. Their workwear is made of thick material and a comfortable fit, to allow free movement. Their work pants have pockets to keep tools handy along with a tool belt. Some of the safety equipment they need to wear includes safety glasses, knee pads, hi-vis jackets and respirators.
Painters’ workwear is pretty simple. It’s made of breathable cotton and includes a simple t-shirt and shorts/trousers. They still need to climb up on ladders, so their clothing needs to be a relaxed fit to allow free movement.
4.) Construction workers
These individuals work in the most high risk environments. Their work wear is made of duck cotton to offer durability without compromising comfort. Their protective equipment includes face shields, hard hats, ear plugs, safety glasses and gloves.
Flying debris and loud noise coming from the grinder are an everyday occurrence at a carpenters workshop. Their workwear must be the right fit to avoid getting caught in the machinery. Their protective equipment includes: face masks, safety glasses, earplugs, respirators, gloves and face shields.
Men’s technician workwear vs Women’s Trade Workwear
Traditionally workwear designed for men did not consider the needs of female tradies. Female Field Service Suppliers used to wear the same ill-fitted and unflattering men’s trade workwear, because there was no other option. As a result, most women would wear their own casual clothes to the worksite, risking their own safety and that of their co-workers.
However, finding protective workwear that properly fits a woman’s body is now a struggle of the past. With more women entering this male dominated industry, women’s trade workwear is being introduced by a number of companies. Now different workwear is offered for men and women.
From quality workwear to comfort, safety and professionalism, today, women’s trade workwear is specifically designed for women. It has all the boxes checked and is as good as the men’s trade workwear.
The Role of Employers in Keeping Workplaces Safe
Most employers recognise the need to provide the right workwear and PPE to their field technicians. Now is the time to understand its true value.
Safety wear should be a part of the overall workplace health and safety measures taken by the company. Dealing with it as a stand alone thing is not going to work. It is important that a health and safety risk assessment is carried out prior to issuing safety workwear.
Things to consider include:
- The nature and extent of hazards
- Who could be at risk
- What policies are in place already
- What new measures need to be taken
- Regular review of changes taking place at the work site
All workplace safety policies revolve around the individual, the environment and the equipment.
Remember, employers that are vigilant about worker’s safety in mind have a workforce that feels valued.
Safety workwear is the last line of defence against potential health and safety hazards. Just because your Field Service Technicians are wearing PPE doesn’t mean that you have eliminated all workplace risks. The equipment and environment they work in need to be equally safe. Additionally, employees need to work with extra caution while carrying out risky tasks to keep themselves and others safe.
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