The world is heavily industrialized now with machinery involved at every step, from heat to metallic sparks and electrical arc, the workers in the field have to deal with severe and harsh working conditions. Over the years, with numerous research work, development and innovation, manufacturers have designed workwear fabric that protects the field workers from meeting any severe accident that is life-risking. So where this is a lot of risks involved, the workers should be provided with a safe working environment.
The focus of the article is about the protective fabrics used in making uniforms and kits for people who work in these industries.
Protective wear for various industries
The fabric used in making uniforms and protective wear for workers who are doing their job in the industries which usually have chances of facing fire, heat, flames, electric arcs, flashes and electrical sparks, molten metal, oil spillage and gas leakages; they require protective material which keeps them safe from it all.
For industries like these, the workwear textiles make use of mainly cotton as well as other blends to provide comfort and making it breathable, as well as protection from the sweltering heat and flames so that every worker can work more efficiently. The fabric that is used in making and designing such protective wear has to meet all the international standards and certifications to be able to continue manufacturing the fabric. Not only this, the clothing has to be durable, abrasion-resistant, and maintain its quality after frequent washes.
Equipment and clothes
Other than the usual uniform kit that the workers have got to wear to such field works, they also require other safety wear such as gloves, glasses, caps, boots, jackets, and so forth. The workwear material used in making these accessories should also ensure that things like these do not catch fire or conduct any electrical arc or sparks right away or melt due to the high degree of heat around them.
Working with fire
Working with fire is more like risking your life’s every precious second. For this reason, the protective clothes worn by such workers include fire-resistant pants, shirts and cotton undergarments. For workplaces where the degree of heat is more, they are required to put on two layers of these fire-resistant pants and shirts along with their cotton undergarments. For one’s face protection it includes a face shield and safety glasses. For hand protection, the worker’s ar supposed to wear leather over rubber for arc flash protection along with leather boots. Leather is preferred as it is a treated fabric, hence it repels fire and any chemical damages too.
Working with electricity
People working with electrical units and wires face electrical hazards, so they must be provided with workwear cloth that has insulation properties. The insulation property keeps the workers safe from any sort of electric shocks, sparks, and burns etc. Where the insulating capability of protective equipment is subject to damage during use, however, the insulating material used in clothes must have some degree of covering with leather or any other appropriate materials. Similarly, headgears and caps must be made of non-conductive materials. The tools and equipment underuse of the workers must also be insulated the tools and/or equipment may make contact with the conductors or parts.
Working with metal
Like the skin, face and eyes are exposed to harsh working conditions when working with metals, the workers must be wearing kits made from protective fabrics that keep them safe from hot metal sparks, ashes, heat, fire, burns and even harmful fumes and oxides. Therefore such employees should be given kits to wear that include fire-resistant pants and jackets. Not only this, a few important factors must be considered when the protective material is designed:
- The workwear material should ideally be heavyweight and tightly woven and made from 100% wool or cotton to protect from UV radiation, hot metal, sparks and open flames.
- Shirt pockets must be closed or taped to avoid collecting sparks, similarly, the pants must not have cuffs and must cover the tops of the boots. Cuffs can collect sparks.
- Wear high-top boots fully laced to prevent sparks from entering into the boots.
- Use fire-resistant boot protectors or spats strapped around the pant legs and boot tops, to prevent sparks from bouncing in the top of the boots.
- Use of leather in outer layers of clothes such as aprons, to protect from sparks while working with metal
- Avoid too many layers of clothing as overdoing it causes sweating and sweaty clothes cause rapid heat loss. ( Leather welding jackets are very heavy and are breathable and can make you sweat if you are overdressed.)
And most importantly workers must not be wearing any metallic or any sort of jewelry altogether. The clothes must not be made from any sort of synthetic material and they can catch fire and burn very quickly, resulting in bad skin burns.