Using the correct size of personal protective clothing is crucial to one's safety on the job. Without it, you can be exposed to environmental hazards. Wearing protective clothing that is too small can cause rips and tears to form in the clothing that make it unsuitable for protecting you as it was intended. If it is too large, it may get caught on hazards on the job, which can injure you or damage the clothing and make it unusable. It is important to wear personal protective clothing on the job, it is also important to wear it in the right size for you.
Why is Finding the Right PPE Size So Challenging?
Finding the correct size for you can be challenging. Unlike regular clothing, there are several factors that go into sizing personal protective clothing. As an example, while you may wear size Large clothing with your regular street wear, this may not be the right size for you in personal protective clothing. This is because you have to take into consideration all of the layers you are wearing underneath your protective clothing. Those layers add up to additional sizing, especially when you are bending, squatting, or doing anything that puts stress on a seam. A person who wears Large in regular clothing may need to wear a size or two larger in order to get the correct fit.
Frequent change-outs of protective clothing is recommended. It is not uncommon for a wearer to use four to eight garments a day. Disposable protective clothing is designed for limited use. It wears out more quickly than regular clothes and is not designed to last as long. You want to wear the most durable type of personal protective clothing, but also must get your sizing correct, because chances are high that you will be receiving new clothing on a more frequent basis than in your off-duty life.
Properly Fitting Protective Clothing Benefits Both Employee and Company
No one wants to wear clothing that does not fit right. It is uncomfortable, and if someone is expected to work all day in ill-fitting clothing, they will not have a good work experience. They will be distracted by the discomfort of their clothing, and this can negatively impact their performance on the job. Many employees who are given protective clothing that fits poorly will not wear it at all. Those who do may modify it in some unapproved way to make it fit better, which could make the clothing less effective. By giving employees protective clothing that fits properly, issues like these can be avoided entirely, with a better working experience for everyone involved.
Considerations for Protective Clothing for Women
Getting a good fit for protective clothing for women is a task in its own right. By its very nature, most protective clothing is designed for men. OSHA actually states that only about nine percent of employees in industries where protective clothing is needed are women, so this tendency toward male-dominated sizes makes sense. The one size fits all clothing is as bad of an idea for women as it is for men, and for the same reasons. The same is true of so-called "unisex" clothing.
Men and women have different average body sizes, weights, fat and muscle composition, and more, so finding clothing designed for women particularly is important. If a woman is wearing protective clothing that does not fit well, she may roll up her pant legs or sleeves to get a better fit, which puts her at greater risk for getting the bunched up material caught in machinery, or getting her skin exposed to things that could hurt her. Rolled up pant legs can also increase her risk of tripping and/or falling on the job.
When selecting protective clothing for employees, it is extremely important to buy items that are designed for women, if you have any women in your company who require this clothing. It is the only way to be sure the fit will be good for your female workers. If women's clothing isn't available on the market in your industry, then you must have men's clothing or unisex clothing custom tailored to fit each female worker properly. It is an investment in the safety of your employees as well as that of your company.
The Importance of Sizing Charts
Don't just assume you know the size of protective clothing your employees are going to need. As discussed, protective clothing sizes are different than regular clothing. Using online sizing charts with each individual employee (and for each individual piece of protective clothing) will make a big difference toward making sure you get everyone the fit that is just right for them. If a company does not have online sizing charts available, use the ones in their catalog, or call the clothing company and ask to be sent a sizing chart.
Once in a while, a company may not have a sizing chart, but will have someone in their manufacturing department who specializes in sizing who you can talk to about getting the right measurements from your employees to ensure perfect sizing. Just do you due diligence when obtaining the correct personal protective clothing for your employees, and you will always be sure to get the right sized pieces for them.
Important Things to Remember
The protective clothing worn by your employees must fit them correctly if they are going to do their jobs properly and safely. Each employee is different in body type and size, so each size is going to be individualized to a certain extent. You may be able to purchase pre-made sizes that fit most employees well, but be prepared to order custom sizes for those who require them, as well. When protective clothing fits properly, your employees will be more comfortable, and better able to perform their jobs well and safely. Enhanced worker safety protects not only your employees, but also your product and your company.
It may take a little more time to find protective clothing that fits your employees perfectly, but it is worth it. The increased safety and improved job performance are your reward for your time investment in choosing protective clothing with the correct size for each employee. Your employees will appreciate your consideration in this area, as well. This will make you a stand-out employer, and that is always a good goal for any company.