Saturday, September 29, 2007

Fusing Form Function Selecting Protective Apparel For Comfort and Protection

Making protective clothing wearable ...

"Protective clothing must protect workers, yet still be comfortable enough that they want to wear it.

The objective of protective apparel is to protect the wearer from hazards in the work environment. Unfortunately, some people charged with apparel selection may be operating under some misconceptions when it comes to matching the right protective garment to a specific task. Moreover, the issue of wearability often is not adequately considered, creating compliance issues with safe operating procedures.

Perhaps that is why 85 percent of safety professionals polled at the 2006 National Safety Congress (NSC) reported observing people in their organization not wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) when they should have been. Nearly half said this had happened on numerous occasions.

About two-thirds of the safety professionals polled at the NSC said PPE compliance was an issue, with 40 percent describing it as a “major concern.” The main reason for noncompliance, according to a third of those polled, was a feeling of invulnerability (“It won’t happen to me.”). Other reasons given for noncompliance included:

* Lack of awareness of workplace hazards.
* Lack of training on how to don, doff and use PPE.
* Ill-fitting, uncomfortable garments.
* Lack of “breathability” and inadequate supplies.

While selection of task-appropriate protective garments may appear daunting – especially without an established U.S. standard for protective apparel – it does not have to be insurmountable. The key is to balance function (protection) and form (style, comfort and wearability) within the scope of a realistic hazard assessment and risk analysis."    (Continued via Occupational Hazards)    [Ergonomics Resources]

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