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Working in Manufacturing and Industrial Settings: What’s Acceptable vs. What’s Not

There’s no doubt the way we dress has a say in the impression others get about us, but let’s not forget other than the role clothes have on our appearance there’s that of protection as well. This is an important aspect to consider when choosing apparel that’s work-related, specifically when you work in manufacturing and industrial settings where a uniform is so much more than merely aesthetic.

Woman-Factory-Worker-Eye Protection PPE equipment

Casual is a style that’s made it into the realm of various industries and businesses as the acceptable dress code however this doesn’t mean every casual piece ought to find its place in the industrial workplace, more so when there’s reputation, professional image and most importantly safety to think about taking all the hazards into consideration.

The Pants

work pants cat blue

For instance, you might find your favourite pair of jeans to be ideal for work because of how comfortable you feel wearing them yet a pair of hardwearing pants that’s created for the work environment has all the properties needed in suitable workwear for such a setting, from being equipped with various storage pockets, including internal, to having triple stitching to prevent tearing, as well as features like reinforced knees and knee pads for more protection.

Additionally, you have to look for comfort and flexibility to be able to perform effectively. Along with this, knowing how easy it is to get stains in such an environment, some colours are better than others, i.e. black work pants and other dark tones like ink blue are infinitely better than bright pants, since they’re much easier to care for.

men wearing black work pants

Now that you know which properties to look for, plus the colours, it’s necessary to point out pants that are above knee length aren’t acceptable, and the same goes for shorts, leggings and spandex.

The Shirts

Regardless of the season, same as the pants the top should be comfortable, flexible, breathable and moisture-wicking, doesn’t matter if it’s a shirt or a T-shirt; the last thing you want is working all sweaty! This requires checking the materials well before purchasing the tops, then again the same goes for the length of the sleeves considering bare shoulders are considered inappropriate for the manufacturing settings, and the obvious no-no – tank tops.

men worker wearing work shirt

Depending on the location and the specific tasks of the employee, you might require the use of shirts with hi vis elements created to meet the Australian high visibility standards for day and night use, or even conditions with low visibility. This is an option for those working in high traffic areas as well as those working outside. Additionally, in some cases it might be best to replace the black work pants with hi vis pants too.

Dress for the Season

workers on the field wearing hi vis jackets

Comfort also means wearing the suitable clothing for the specific season too. The key to staying warm in winter is to layer up, so if you work at the areas where high visibility is needed, then your last layer should have hi vis details, i.e. the jacket should be hi vis or at least wear a bright reflective vest. Also, be sure to choose warm materials like flannel, perfect for keeping you warm and dry. Summer-wise, to stay cool it’s advisable to choose breathable fabrics like organic bamboo and organic cotton.

The Footwear

We all have our favourite pair of sneakers however it’s not that it’s going to be suitable for every occasion or location, and this includes the workplace. When you’re in the manufacturing and industrial sectors, your footwear has to be carefully chosen with the right properties, as is the case with choices like shirts and black work pants.

men wearing black work boots

For example, shoes with open heels or toes are definitely something to avoid, and so are those with heels higher than two inches. An ideal pair would be one that offers protection at the toe area, is anti-static, has a padded heel area, is easy to put on, and of course is waterproof. In terms of foot comfort, it’s got to be a pair that’s designed to conform to the foot’s contour, and has removable foam and midsole in case you need more support.

Extra Protection

worker wearing extra protection on the field

In environments where extra protection is needed, you’d have to wear clothing items and accessories for your safety, like helmets and goggles created for those work conditions. Wearing any hat or any goggles won’t do, it has to be specialised PPE otherwise the worker isn’t following the dress code.

Extra Care

Men worker hearing protection PPE equipment

Same as you’d take care of your regular clothing, the pieces of equipment you wear for work require the same, if not more, attention so make sure you handle them properly, following the washing instructions. Also, not only is it an eyesore looking at clothes that are full of stains, wrinkles, dirt, truth is some stains can be hazardous (as in flammable) thus you ought to consider it your duty to maintain them unwrinkled, unstained and neat at all times.