Workwear Customization for OSHA Compliance

Employers can't pick and choose when an accident is going to happen. Avoiding workplace hazards is a daily reality for workers across many industries. Your employees have to wear the correct protective workwear and be ready. Specialized workwear is an asset that protects employees' health and safety, preserves your company's product integrity, and saves money by preventing accidents before they happen.

OSHA regulation 1910.132 requires employers to assess their workplaces for personal protective equipment (PPE) needs and cover those costs. Businesses can do a lot to increase worker safety by using customized workwear that meets or exceeds OSHA, FDA, USDA, and HACCP requirements.

Depending on the industry, businesses can provide employees with work apparel that increases visibility and resists fire, electrical, and chemical hazards. Workers in industries such as pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, chemicals, food processing, service, hospitality, health care, manufacturing, and transportation need clean garments daily that protect them from the hazards they face on the job.

So, what should you consider when selecting customized customized workwear and PPE for your business? We'll help you avoid workplace catastrophes by exploring workwear needs in multiple sectors.

Workwear Needs by Industry

Food production
If your business is in the food processing industry, employees need apparel that ensures they create safe food products while staying safe and meeting industry standards. To prevent food production hazards, companies should provide non-slip footwear such as rubber boots, freezer garments, arc- or flame-resistant apparel, and an extra layer of protection such as aprons, frocks, or lab coats. Workwear with snap fasteners helps to prevent contamination of food products by loose buttons. Latex gloves prevent the spread of foodborne illness.

Industrial and manufacturing jobs
If your company is in the manufacturing industry, your employees need durable, long-lasting workwear and PPE so they're able to do their daily tasks safely and produce quality-controlled products. For example, fitted workwear prevents workers from getting clothing dangerously caught in machinery, and high-visibility garments keep employees safe from harm. Cut protection gloves or boots keep the wearer safe from sharp objects.

Pharmaceuticals and biotechnology
If you're in the pharma and biotech industry, workwear helps you control the safety of products and protects workers against contaminants while adhering to OSHA and FDA standards. Lab coats and scrubs with snap fasteners for easy removal also help workers avoid the issue of workplace contamination. Latex gloves should also be worn to protect against chemicals.

Chemical industry
If employees work around the potential for chemical spills, they should wear OSHA regulation chemical resistant workwear and PPE. Elastic or velcro cuffs, double zip front fastening, storm flaps, full seals at all seams, thermal gloves, and flame-resistant lab coats, shirts, pants, and coveralls keep workers safe from contaminants. Flame-retardant garments prevent fire spread. You can also protect workers with arc-rated clothing, which prevents injuries from shock and arc flashes or blasts. Snap fasteners should be used on all garments for easy removal in the case of chemical or fire emergencies. Workwear worn around chemicals requires specialized washing and should never be part of employees' home laundry because chemicals can pollute a home's internal water system.

Health care
If your employees are health care workers, they should wear sanitary workwear. There are specific washing and garment handling processes that are mandated by infection control policies. Lab coats, medical scrubs, and latex gloves protect workers against bloodborne pathogens and other bodily fluids.

Workwear Testing and Garment Care
It's important that all workwear is tested to ensure it meets OSHA requirements. Don't miss the details: If a garment needs to be flame retardant, for instance, labels and threading must use flame-resistant materials, as well. It's also vital to replace workwear as it ages to remain in compliance. Laundering at too high a temperature or too often takes away the integrity of arc-rated and fire-retardant materials. A garment at the end of its life cycle should be taken out of circulation to avoid risk. Businesses across all industries should also use specialized garment sterilization processes to remove contaminants, lint, or other hazards that could affect the quality of a product.

Companies sometimes say fire-retardant, flame-resistant, and high-visibility products are expensive, but if you consider the cost of one lawsuit, it makes a lot of sense to be proactively safe and not sorry, not to mention the importance of protecting your workers' lives. You don't want to wake up in the morning and find out that something preventable happened to an employee. Safety first!

Jim Wasserson brings more than 30 years of experience to the workwear industry as the CEO and President of Clean Rental, a nearly century-old, family-run corporate workwear and uniform solutions provider headquartered in Philadelphia with locations in Newtown, Pa.; Lehigh Valley, Pa.; and the New Jersey/NYC Metro. Clean Rental offers creative, strategic, and unique workwear solutions customized for each customer across several industries. As a certified HUBZone business, Clean Rental proudly serves the community within an underutilized area by providing employment opportunities for Philadelphia’s local residents and stimulating the local economy.

Posted on Mar 09, 2017

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