Mar 30 2022
During the pandemic, much of the world was introduced to the acronym PPE for the first time. But personal protective equipment does not solely refer to face masks and sterile gloves. It refers to anything that workers wear to keep themselves safe from accident, illness, and injury in the course of their work.
Many of you already know that apparel is often governed by industry regulating bodies or even by the law. If employees are not provided with the correct safety equipment for their roles, they can be injured—and employers can face expensive and reputation-damaging legal issues when illness or injuries occur at work. The total cost of workplace injuries in the U.S. in 2019 was $171 billion. That’s more than $1,100 per worker. The overwhelming majority of these accidents and injuries were completely preventable.
In today’s post, we will look at some of the most common forms of safety apparel you might use and how to choose the right PPE for your employees. We will also discuss how to use your safety apparel and PPE to further your brand and your business identity.
What Kinds of Safety Apparel Are There?
There are many different kinds of safety apparel, and all industries use slightly different combinations of items. Here are a few common types of PPE and safety apparel that you may come across:
- High Visibility Apparel: This is brightly colored clothing (often yellow, orange, or green), sometimes fitted with reflective panels, that allows the wearer to be seen clearly at a distance or in low light. High visibility apparel is often utilized in situations with moving vehicles or heavy machinery.
- Thermal and Weather-Proof Clothing: If your employees will be working in very cold or very hot environments, they may need thermal or weather-proof clothing. This clothing helps to keep their body temperature at a safe and comfortable level.
- Safety Helmets: Head injuries can be very serious or even deadly. Therefore, in any environment where there is a risk of blows to the head, employees should wear safety helmets.
- Ear and Eye Protection: If your employees are working in loud environments, such as construction sites or factories, they will need ear protection such as earplugs, earmuffs, or ear defenders. If they are working with hazardous substances or in any environment with a risk of splashes or materials being propelled, they must use protective eyewear such as safety goggles or eye shields.
- Overalls, Aprons, and Coveralls: These are often used to protect the employee’s body and clothing from hazardous or staining substances.
- Face Masks: These are often used in dusty environments and where working with hazardous substances. Some companies are also still requiring masks to curtail the spread of airborne viruses such as the coronavirus that causes Covid-19.
- Life Jackets: For people who work on or close to water, life jackets are an essential piece of safety apparel should an employee accidentally land in a body of water.
How to Choose the Right Safety Apparel
Before choosing a particular item, you should be clear on the role it will fulfill and the specific risk it will mitigate. It is a good idea to involve your employees in the process of choosing safety apparel. They may have insights into the risks of their day-to-day work that you had not considered. Prioritize both functionality and comfort when you choose PPE—remember that your employees may be wearing these items for many hours each week. In some circumstances, it will be appropriate to have different items for summer and winter, or for indoor versus outdoor work.
Remember, too, that not all your employees will necessarily require the exact same kinds of protective apparel. Consider what each individual and team needs in order to do their job safely and effectively.
You should also check any relevant legislation or regulations governing your industry, as these might specify that particular kinds of PPE must be provided or that safety garments must meet certain standards.
How to Get the Most Out of Safety Apparel
In order to put the “safe” in safety apparel, just buying the equipment and giving it out to your employees is not enough.
The first step is to ensure that your PPE garments fit your workers properly. Poorly fitting safety garments can compromise their effectiveness. Ask your team members to provide their measurements to ensure their PPE fits well.
You may also need to provide training on the correct use of PPE. If your employees are responsible for their own PPE between shifts, they will also need to know how to clean, store, and transport it. This training should be offered to every new employee and should be refreshed periodically for existing team members.
Safety apparel does not last forever and should be replaced periodically. Some items can be used until they are showing visible signs of wear or a notable loss of functionality. Others should be replaced after every incident. For example, if an employee receives a blow to the head while wearing a helmet, that helmet should be replaced even if it looks fine on visual inspection.
The Benefits of Branding Your Safety Apparel
Safety apparel is vital in many workplaces. However, ensuring your employees’ health and safety with appropriate PPE does not have to come at the expense of expressing and reinforcing your brand.
Why not achieve both of these goals at the same time with branded safety apparel? You can order custom garments decorated with your company’s name, logo, brand colors, or other features of your brand identity. You can offer different options for employees in different teams, depending on their needs, and variations for men and women. In this way, you can create a kind of safety apparel “uniform” that your employees will wear to work each day.
One of the easiest ways to achieve this is to create a company store with your apparel provider. This will allow your employees to order what they need quickly and easily and to replenish their supply of safety apparel when something breaks or wears out. By simplifying the process, you will ensure everyone has what they need and save staff time (and therefore money) at the same time.
Here are a few great reasons to consider branded safety apparel:
A Sense of Belonging
Wearing branded equipment can help employees feel that they belong within your organization and their team. And when staff feel this sense of belonging, they will also feel an increased sense of responsibility, accountability, and ownership over their work.
This helps to create harmonious, productive teams who are all working together toward a common goal. Employees who feel that they belong and take pride in their work will also become great ambassadors for your business.
A Cost-Effective Form of Advertising
If they are wearing branded apparel, your employees can become walking advertisements for your business. If your team members are meeting with clients or interacting with members of the public, their branded safety apparel will immediately identify them as an employee of your company. In other words, every time your customers or potential customers see one of your employees, they will also see your brand.
Since it takes an average of seven touchpoints between a customer and a brand before a sale is made, these impressions can do wonders for your sales figures and bottom line.
Compared with many other traditional advertising formats, branded workwear is also incredibly affordable. You will be providing safety wear for your employees anyway, and it only costs a little more to brand your workwear. That money will be well spent and will pay dividends many times over.
Increase Brand Recognition and Trust
Brand recognition is one of the most vital components of successful advertising. When your employees wear apparel branded with recognizable identifiers, brand recognition increases. And with brand recognition comes customer trust.
Trust is perhaps your most important asset when it comes to attracting and retaining customers. When your employees wear branded apparel, this reassures customers that they are associated with a reputable company that can be trusted. In the many industries where safety is a concern, customers are also far more likely to trust companies that are seen to be prioritizing their employees’ safety.
With branded safety apparel, you can achieve both of these goals at once, furthering client and public trust in your brand.
A Display of Professionalism
Branded workwear shows your customers and prospective customers that your business is professional. It indicates that your company is well-established, well-regarded, and prides itself on its name and reputation. Branded safety apparel is an easy way to promote professionalism internally and project a professional image externally.
It is a good idea to have clear guidelines for what behaviors are appropriate and expected when your staff members are wearing branded apparel.
Learn More About Branded Safety Apparel
Here at Hygrade, we are proud to be able to source and supply a range of high-quality, branded safety apparel to businesses in many different industries.
If you’d like to learn more about keeping your team safe while reinforcing your brand identity, get in contact today and a member of our knowledgeable team will be pleased to advise you on choosing the most appropriate items for your team.