Apparel

Personal Protective Apparel for the Outdoor Workforce

A large percentage of the U.S. labor force is made up of people who work outside every single day. That percentage includes a wide range of individuals who work in farming, forestry, landscaping, traffic control and construction, just to name a few. While the occupations vary, each and every outdoor working environment has its own types of dangerous hazards and every worker needs to be properly protected.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that all employers protect their employees from outdoor workplace hazards that can cause injury or illness by requiring that every outside laborer is properly clothed for their particular line of work. For this reason, there are many different types of safety apparel and products that both outfit and protect our outdoor workforce and educate them about proper safety gear.

Here are some articles of protective safety apparel commonly used by our American outdoor workforce.

Safety Vests and Tees

Often, on daily commutes, drivers see men and women along highways wearing bright yellow or orange tee shirts and vests. Those neon colored articles of clothing are actually worn to improve visibility for drivers in order to protect the individuals wearing them. Many people working outside, especially near heavy traffic, need to be protected from anyone driving vehicles or operating heavy machinery around them. The safety vests and tees protect them by letting others see them more clearly at all times of the day.

Protective Gloves

When outdoor workers handle dangerous materials, the type of gloves they wear is crucial to receiving the proper level of protection. Potential hazards to the hands in outdoor work include skin absorption of harmful substances, chemical or thermal burns, electrical shock, bruises, cuts, punctures and fractures, but the right safety glove can prevent these risks. Protective gloves are available in many different types of materials and fabrics depending on their purpose and employers are required to determine which particular material will be the most beneficial for any type of outdoor work.

Eye Protection

There are numerous possible hazards to the eyes when working outdoors. Construction workers are at risk of having dust, dirt, metal or wood chips falling into their eyes while timber workers or log cutters are at risk from swinging tree limbs or sparks from power saws and tools. Additionally, irritants or sprays entering the eyes are serious concerns for anyone working with chemicals or pesticides. Safety glasses and goggles can eliminate most of these threats.

Safety glasses are made with metal or plastic frames and have impact-resistant lenses. Some models include side shields as well but for work that requires even more eye protection, there are goggles instead. Goggles are tight-fitting and completely cover the eyes, eye sockets and the facial area immediately surrounding the eyes to provide protection from impact, dust and splashes.

Hard Hat Head Protection

Objects that might fall from above or low hanging blunt objects, like tree limbs, exposed electrical wires and heavy machinery are all hazards associated with the risk of head injury in an outside working environment. Construction workers, electricians and traffic workers are all at risk, but wearing a hard hat can reduce most of these dangers. A hard hat is intended to protect the head from impact and penetration hazards as well as electrical shock or burn. When worn properly they can reduce the risk of head injury or trauma almost entirely.

This is just a small selection of the many types of protective apparel that members of the American outdoor workforce are required to wear every day. It’s good to know that so many of our hard workers are staying well protected and safe on the job.

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