Workers the world over will be well aware of the major hazards found across a workplace; falling debris, harmful substances and annoying co-workers to name a few. However, it can be easy to lose track with so many health and safety protocols, and subtle dangers such as loose workwear can often be overlooked.
Nothing can be more nightmare-inducing than getting snagged by moving parts, inching your way towards a potential injury—or worse. These issues are all too real however, with many injuries and deaths occurring in all kinds of different environments. They are completely preventable though, and through the implementation of a strict dress code, the dangers of loose workwear can be drastically minimized .
Keep it tight
Everyone deserves to be comfortable whilst working, and this is typically shown in the clothes we wear and the way in which we wear them.
In winter jackets or coats are an important part of any uniform, helping to provide thermal insulation in the coldest conditions. However, these should be completely zipped up, as the loose ends of the clothing can pose a serious hazard. It only takes one unlucky snag to lead to danger. If it needs to be unzipped, it is usually safer to just remove the jacket altogether if that is viable. Jackets should also fit well and not restrict movement, allowing for necessary flexibility during tasks.
Hoodies and sweatshirts can be a warm alternative, but can also present risks. Baggy clothing such as this can pose a multitude of work dangers, whether that’s snagging or as a fire hazard. These forms of clothing, as well as any attached zipcords or hoods, should be completely tucked into the trousers to reduce risk.
Keep to the dress code
Dress codes aren’t some form of draconian law, but a means of making the workplace safer. Tucking in shirts and t shirts, for instance, is a common workplace rule, but is essential when using machinery or tools. Sleeves and cuffs should be buttoned to avoid any contact with machinery that can get tangled or dragged. Employers should be enforcing this rule correctly through spot checks, checking for any workwear that appears loose and that may constitute a hazard.
No time to accessorize
Luscious locks and jewelry can look stylish in the workplace, but it also adds to the dangers loose workwear can pose. Losing a precious ring or bracelet is enough to warrant taking these items off beforehand, but the added hazard of a loose article should be enough to convince workers. Those who work in food may need to take extra care to prevent stray hairs or rings landing in someone’s meal.
Long hair should be tied back or kept short unless you fancy an untimely haircut. A hairnet or similar can keep a mane at bay, preventing it from getting caught in machinery or catching aflame.
Those who work outdoors, requiring gloves, hats and scarves, should heed caution. Gloves are a common hazard, with a poorly fitted pair leading to a weaker grip. It is imperative that, when gloved, the hand remains completely dexterous. Similarly, loose hats or scarves can obscure vision and should be worn tight.
Even simple workplace norms, such as lanyards, can present a hazard to the neck. There is a snagging risk whilst using machinery, but cases of aggressive customers yanking lanyards also exist.
Know your equipment
Machinery and equipment are made with potential hazards in mind, and they are usually fitted with the likes of guard pieces and emergency stops to prevent accidents occurring from loose workwear. Checking these regularly is important, reporting any faults seen and receiving the necessary maintenance.
Simple procedures should be in place to reduce risk and danger when using machines. Having multiple employees present during the use of equipment that carries an entanglement risk can keep those using it safer. This can make it easier for emergency shutoff to be activated in e dangerous situations.