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When Should You Throw Out Your Apparel? Five General Tips For Always Staying Safe On The Field


Protective apparel is one of your best lines of defense against injury and illness when on the job.

Even a dull day can suddenly take a hard right turn and put you in the hospital. This is why you always need to have breathable, comfortable and high-quality apparel on at all times. Construction is a dangerous field that involves constant interaction with heavy equipment, extreme weather and long hours. Not only does your hi vis hoodie and breathable rain gear need to fend off the cold, they also need to be swapped out at the nearest sign of damage. Figuring out how to save money and maintain quality can be tricky, though.

Below are the more common staples of the construction industry, from hi vis waistcoats to rain gear, and the visible signs you should swap out standard equipment.

Traction And Holes In Shoes

Every construction worker needs a good pair of shoes. While the average person walks around 10,000 steps a day, a construction worker can walk three times that amount. Shoes need to be more than just comfortable. They need solid traction to keep your footing and a snug fit to reduce the onset of blisters. Shoes that start to slip off need to be replaced. Same with shoes that are far too tight and pinch your toes. It’s estimated $70 is spent per employee on foot protection each year, but more may be required for long-term comfort.

Ear Plugs That Don’t Fit

Construction is not just a busy field. It’s incredibly noisy. Ear plugs are a necessary addition to protect an employee’s hearing, even when they’re not actively operating heavy machinery. Permanent hearing loss is able to be caused by sounds louder than 85 decibels and, according to the National Institute For Occupational Safety And Health, the maximum exposure to loud noises for any stretch should be eight hours or less. Ear plugs should fit snugly and securely, as even a minor slip can expose the ear to serious damage.

Ill-Fitting And Wobbly Helmets

Just like shoes, helmets need to check off multiple boxes to be considered fit for work. Even a small object falling from a great height can cause severe damage, even death, to a worker. The hard hat is a standard item that needs to be worn on-site at all times, irregardless of whether or not someone is on-the-clock. A helmet should fit snugly and be free of any dents or major scratches. Pairing them alongside hi vis waistcoats and thick gloves is how workers of all shapes and sizes stave off the potential for work-related injury.

Poor Visibility Hoodies And Rain Gear

When a worker has little choice but to spend hours in the rain or the dark, hi vis waistcoats and hi vis work jackets are a must. This is both to make sure bystanders can make out workers while on the road, but so other workers can see each other. While slips and falls are some of the most common work-related injuries, so too are sudden collisions. Breathable reflective rain gear kills two birds with one stone by providing visibility in bad conditions and staving off cold temperature. Comfort is a necessity for all workers, whether they work at a desk or out in the field.

Gloves And Glasses

Last, but not least, your hi vis waistcoats, hi vis cargo pants and sturdy shoes need to be topped off with useful accessories. Gloves are used to protect the hands from burns, cuts and scrapes. They’re also helpful when handing extremely cold or hot tools. Glasses and goggles are an absolute must to protect the eyes from both water and more hazardous chemicals. Just like the hard hat, these are basic staples of any construction job and should be replaced at the nearest sign of damage.

Good equipment is an ongoing task. Make sure you replace old and lackluster apparel to keep your employees safe at all times.

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