TOP 23 TRENDY AND AFFORDABLE WORK WEAR SOLUTIONS
Industry creates jobs, fuels economies and advances livelihoods. Not least of these industries are mining, agriculture, manufacturing amongst many others. Over time, such industries have become the bedrock of global economies, particularly here in Africa where raw materials happen to be an endowment without measure.
Driving these industries are committed people, operating machines, alternating shifts and serving humanity; steering the production of foods and other consumables we need on a daily basis. It goes without saying that these people feel the need to be safe. Their families and economies need them to be safe and even companies, not just because it’s good for the bottom line but a natural desire that comes with the package of being human.
Time would not permit us to dive deeply into some of the hazards that these heroes face on a daily basis from the risk of collapsing mines, heavy duty machinery in construction, forestry and power industries. Well, you got the point. They have to feel and be safe.
The good news is we have saved you the trouble. Whether you’re a manufacturing company looking out for your employees or an individual not about to take chances on your life whilst working from home, we’ve got you covered. We have sieved through the internet, called in favors and used our experience in the garment manufacturing industry to draw up a list of 23 trendy and affordable work wear protective equipment and accessories you should know. Not just in Zimbabwe, but Africa and the world at large.
But before that, let’s quickly look into some universal factors to consider before purchasing any form of workwear, from anyone.
KEY THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN ACQUIRING WORK WEAR
There are four factors to consider other than safety and these are the price, aesthetics, the fit and performance on the job. In simple terms the perfect work wear should be affordable, fit well, look good and get the best performance for the job.
There are at least four factors. Yes, you guessed the first one right, practicality. Whether it’s an overall, helmet or email muff, it should be fit for purpose. It must aid the job not impede it by making the person wearing it uncomfortable. In addition, it just should be good enough to actually keep people safe. Here we are talking about strength, durability and quality as aspects of practicality. Put simply, you don’t want helmets that fit and look like a 50-cent snapback yet collapsing under the weight of a 1-pound hammer. It should achieve both and this applies to all forms of protective wear.
Other factors include price, aesthetic appearance and colors. The importance of price usually goes without saying. It’s not about getting something cheap for the balance sheet which will cost you more in the long run. It’s about getting the proper value for your money. The rest of the factors are usually overlooked but it’s just as important. You want anyone wearing these garments to feel confident, valued and included. If you’re a company, aesthetics speak more to your overall brand strategy and attention to detail. It’s not folktales and fables that some clients have turned down some restaurants based on the look of the waiters’ uniforms.
Now let’s go through the list of some of these items.
HEARING AND SIGHT PROTECTORS
Inorder to prevent noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) in workplaces, use of hearing protectors is essential to reduce the amount of noise reaching the ears. Examples of these ear protectors include ear muffs, ear plugs and custom made devices.
#1 Ear Muffs
NRR27 ear muffs have a high sound protection ability as calculated with the globally acknowledged NRR system. Noise reduction rating (NRR), a method employed to accurately determine the effective exposure to a person wearing a hearing protector. NRR estimates the actual sound protection offered in working places vs that in laboratory situations.
The most common and practicable ones consist of sound attenuating material and soft ear cushions that fit around the ear and hard outer cups. They are held together by a head band. Main advantages include being easy to fit, making them ideal for intermittent use especially for construction and landscaping use.
#2 Ear Plugs
NRR25 are inserted into the ear canal which allows them to offer greater protection and makes them more suited for louder workplaces like airports, factories and foundries. Ear plugs are a great choice when pairing up with other PPE safety wear particularly, safety glasses. They are more portable and lighter than ear muffs but happen to have a lower NRR rating than the former.
#3 Custom made HPD
Other than using 1 and 2, hearing protection devices (HPD) can also be customized as ready-made products are sometimes uncomfortable and hinder communication. For instance, the NRR30 custom made HPDs which are super comfortable to wear and effective not only in hearing protection (high NNR) but also in preserving communication ability. These custom made HPD come in various types to suit various needs.
#4 Hard Hat
Workplaces like underground mines can pose hazards which include falling objects, debris and collision impact. The hard hat/ helmet is one of the most resilient types of PPE equipment, a proven means of saving lives in the workplace. There have been series of cases where hard hats have managed to prevent serious head injuries during the numerous tragic underground mine collapse cases that have been occurring in Zimbabwe and the world over the past few years.
The hard hat resists penetration and absorbs the shock of a blow. The shell is fabricated of a material hard enough to resist an impact while the shock absorbing lining headband and crown strap keeps the shell away from the worker’s head.
Finally, hard hats do not only lessen the impact of falling objects but reduce the danger to high voltage electricity (440 VAC electrical insulation) and resists molten metal.
#5 Eye Protection
The most popular accessories come in the form of goggles/ safety glasses that can withstand the impact of small objects travelling up to 45 meters per second as well as the impact of extreme temperatures.
There are several kinds of workspaces in factories, at home or adventure sports where foot protection from heavy or sharp objects becomes necessary.
#6 Safety shoes
There are lot of varieties for these, both genuine and knock-offs. But some of the more popular ones have bear steel toes and full grain leather texture layered on the upper surface of the boots to provide sturdiness and layered protection of feet. They also have closed heels and toecaps that have been tested at 200 joules energy level to prove their ability to offer protection against impact as well as being conductive and antistatic.
The safety shoes should in general offer:
- Penetration resistance (P)
- Insulation against heat (HI)
- Insulation against cold (Cl)
- Upper resistance to water penetration/absorption (WRU)
- Outsole resistance to hot contact (HRO)
Apart from the prior mentioned safety shoes, gumboots are also of great use. Lower limp injuries are highly prevalent in underground coal mining. Wearing gumboots with inadequate ankle support was thought to contribute to these injuries. Hence the design and features of the boot are very important and should spell comfort in every sense. Gumboots, also known as wellington boots or rain boots are also suited for very wet environments.
The best-selling ones on the market have knit nylon/polyester liner which allows for easy cleaning and quick drying for maximum hygiene.
Additional features include anti-penetration stainless steel epoxy coated midsoles, steel caps conforming to EN12568 and PVC/PU uppers for optimum flexibility and abrasion resistance. Durability against fats, oils and chemicals is provided by the PVC/Nitrile sole and the cleated sole design provides maximum SRA level slip resistance and maximum soil release.
In light of the COVID-19 global pandemic that engulfed our world, I’m sure everyone now knows what masks are. But it’s not just any mask when it comes to protective wear.
#8 Dust mask
They mainly cater for protection against dust particles of various products and are efficient but not reusable.
#9 Full face mask
These are not specific for dust or any other particles, they are for general use and protection from a vast range of hazards. Some of these have been used at length during the pandemic.
#10 PVC Gloves
These function well between temperatures of -4 degrees to 66 degrees Celsius and offer resistance against the following at the given values of the measure of resistance:
- Abrasion resistance -4
- Blade cuts resistance -1
- Tear resistance -2
- Puncture resistance -1
#11 Gloves (Ninja)
These have a wet and dry grip and just like PVC gloves, they also offer resistance against:
- Abrasion resistance -4
- Blade cuts resistance -1
- Tear resistance-2
- Puncture resistance-1
#12 Gloves (leather)
These can be chrome leather gloves or pig skinned gloves and offer resistance to:
- Burning -3
- Contact heat -1
- Convective heat-2
- Radiant heat -X
- Resistance to small splashes of molten metal -3
- Resistance to large splashes of molten metal -X
#13 Medical gloves
These are the classic powdered or non-powdered disposable, single use latex gloves used in medical setting like surgeries in hospitals.
#14 Gloves for firefighters
The tried and tested varieties have a heat resistance lining and dexterity greater than one, offer resistance to:
- Abrasion resistance> 3
- Cut resistance > 2
- Tear resistance > 3
- Burning resistance- 4
- Convective heat resistance >3
- Radiant heat (RHT124 time of .18s when tested according to EN ISO 6942 guideline)
- Contact heat (time of > 10s when tested according to EN 702, wet and dry)
- Heat shrinkage < 5%
#15 Gloves for chemicals and microorganisms
Have determined resistance to penetration and permeation by chemicals as well as resistance to degradation by chemicals as per EN 420 and EN 388 guidelines, a global standard in glove wear.
#16 Gloves for electrical purposes
Look out for the ones with a symbol indicating they are insulating protective equipment and a category designation as follows:
- A- acid resistance
- H- oil resistance
- Z- ozone resistance
- R – all the above
- C- resistance to low temperature
Size designation is also available as follows:
- 00- beige (is the shortest and thinnest depending on length of the glove and thickness)
- 0- red
- 1- white
- 2- yellow
- 3- green
- 4- orange
#17 High visibility clothing
Forms of these range from simple reflectors to more advanced ones. They are sectioned into classes based on minimum areas of visible background, retro-reflective and combined performance materials. Classes range from 1-3 and class 2 is the most reflective.
#18 Sinking suits
Designed to protect people from drowning in deep water levels, the best-selling suits on the market have reflective material, water penetration and resistance, they are rated from class 1- 3, class 3 being the best.
Perhaps the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of work wear. The most popular ones in the market are 100% cotton or 80/20 poly cotton overalls with minimum 270 gsm fabric in sizes 32-58. The embedded natural fibers make the garment breathable and comfortable. They also have a two-way YKK concealed brass zip, fully triple stitched shoulders, arm holes, side seams, in leg and back rise.
Additional features include cargo pocket with concealed press stud v-flap and patch back hip pocket and a left breast pocket with V-flap, concealed press stud and pen division on top of flap. They also have 50mm of silver reflective tape over shoulders, around arms, legs and 50mm Hi-Viz orange/green tape on the back are also included. In other words, they’re the best there is.
#20 Thermal jacket
A thermal jacket offers protection in the event of a flash fire, accidental chemical spillage and do have this petrol chemical flash fire protection potential. It is double knit stitched, 100% cotton with 300/310 gsm fabric flame acid outer and 220 gsm inner. The sizes range from 30- 64 with natural fibers adding comfort and breathability.
Additional features include a YKK brass zip, flame retardant 50mm silver reflective tape on arms, flame retardant and coated acid resistant fabric outer, adjustable size flap on cuff, two square front pockets and two inner square bottom pockets.
Apart from the above, the thermal jacket also has nickel press studs throughout and reflective tape for increased visibility.
#21 Work suit
These can be used in a wide range of sectors which include agriculture, construction and mining.
The work suit come in 100 % cotton or 80/ 20 poly cotton with minimum 270gsm fabric with YKK concealed metal zip on jackets, pants and elasticated cuffs and side slits on jacket. In addition, the work suits have fully triple stitched shoulders, arm holes, side seams, in leg and back rise as well as 50mm silver flame retardant double needle stitched reflective tape on arms and legs. The sizes range from 28-60.
Last but not least, the work suit has mitered laid on jacket pockets, mitred breast pocket with flap, mitred hip pocket and tool pocket on pants.
#22 Cap lamp belt
The most common Cemtec-Fency Belt is a 57mm black cap lamp belt complete with casp buckles, eyelets for easy adjustment, one 38mm self-rescue strap and a one 25 mm battery strap.
#23 Leather spats/ apron
The standout form of this variety is made of chrome leather or cow split leather and has the following resistances:
- Burning resistance- 3
- Contact heat resistance-1
- Convective heat resistance- 2
- Radiant heat resistance- X
- Resistance to small splashes of molten metal-3
- Resistance to large splashes of molten metal-X
These are obviously not all and end all solutions for your protective equipment and clothing needs, but certainly most of them and are available in varied formats and affordable prices. Here at Shanduko we have most of these products available in store. Do contact us now for a quote or you can simply visit your nearest shop.
Will be back for more. Why don’t you do your friend a favor and share these golden nuggets?