As any upstream oil worker will tell you, the correct equipment is absolutely essential. In fact, the vast majority of all required equipment is mandatory, and supplied by the company that you work for.
Toolhands wouldn’t dream of wearing sunglasses instead of proper protective glasses or visors. This is partly because they know that it might cost them their job, but also because near misses happen often enough to remind them. How many times has a machine worker said: “look – I’m glad I was wearing my hard hat/visor/gloves/steel toe capped boots.”
Each company must follow the National health and safety laws, and penalties for non compliance are huge. In addition, most companies also push for perfect safety records. The difference between a near miss and a fatality can literally be as simple as one item of clothing or safety gear.
In the USA, the Department of Labor creates strict guidelines for each specified item. Here’s a link to the page about eye and face protection, you’ll see that there are guidelines for employers. In addition, there are regulated tolerances for shading or material thickness. Eye and face protection that doesn’t not comply to these standards will not be marketed successfully. All countries will have similar regulations and guidelines.
When you join a company, you’ll be provided with the necessary equipment for your job, including PPE.
As a pro-active and safety conscious individual, you won’t want to stop there. You’ll put thought into the other clothes and equipment that you’ll use at work, but might not be mandated.
This article covers a few items that you’ll wear to work, but won’t necessarily be mandated by your company:
Nowadays with the advent of smart phones, watches could be seen as more of a fashion item than a practical choice. A person will want to feel good wearing their chosen timepiece, and make a choice to project a certain image to the world. An Omega tells a different story to an oversized hip hop watch…
From a safety point of view, you’ll want to choose a rugged model, that is smash proof and won’t send shards of glass into the air on impact. In this regard, sapphire crystal glass is better than simply scratch proof. A Tag Heuer or a Rolex will be better than a cheap one that will scratch and break.
For those that are very practical and/or on a lower budget, a multi function watch such as a Casio G-Shock is a good choice. You can find ones with illumination, compasses, temperature and air pressure monitors.
Flame resistant clothing
You’ll be provided with overalls, hard hat and so on by your company. Many will wear comfortable under garments and clothes, knowing that they’re protected outside.
Someone with a real eye on safety will choose flame resistant shirts, trousers and other clothes that might be seen as standard.
In an emergency situation, you might need to remove your jacket quickly if it has been covered in flammable material. It makes sense that your next layer of clothing also offers protection as well.
The best brands of flame resistant clothing are just as comfortable and fashionable as standard casual wear, so choosing the extra protection is a must.
The key to the extra safety aspect is due to the use of Dupont’s Nomex treated cotton. Since this technology is available, there’s no reason to buy regular clothes if you’re working with potentially flammable materials.
Steel toe capped work boots.
Your footwear choice is really important. Most injuries are likely to happen to your extremities, and the parts of your body that do most work. This means your hands and feet. Dropping heavy items, or spilling dangerous liquid is extremely common.
There are different types of footwear that might have different advantages. All in one rubber boots will be the best for liquids. Ankle high boots will allow flexibility of movement.
The main disadvantage of a lot of the footwear choices, is that they might comply for the job you’re doing, but are they comfortable?
If you search around, you can find the types of footwear that you’d wear anywhere, but have the required safety features. Due to modern technology, there’s no need to compromise on style, comfort and safety.
Photo credit: The 2 clothing images on this page were used by kind permission from FROutlet.com to illustrate that safety doesn’t mean unfashionable!