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Glossary

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Body protection Garments

Equipment intended to protect the body of a worker from possible injury of any kind while performing their activities. Examples of workplace hazards are cuts, radiation, extreme temperatures, and splashes from molten metals, impacts from tools or other materials, or hazardous chemicals.

There are many varieties of protective clothing, the most appropriate one must be chosen depending on the hazard related to the activities. Some examples of body protection garments include laboratory coats, coveralls, vests, jackets, aprons, and full body suits.

Whenever a body protection garment is needed, it must be assured that it fits the worker properly, that it functions correctly and that it is promptly replaced with another equipment in case it should be rendered ineffective due to contamination.

Protective clothing comes in a variety of materials, each effective against particular hazards, such as:

  • Paper-like fiber used for disposable suits provide protection against dust and splashes. 
  • Treated wool and cotton adapts well to changing temperatures, is comfortable, fire-resistant and protects against dust, abrasions and rough and irritating surfaces. 
  • Duck is a closely woven cotton fabric that protects against cuts and bruises when handling heavy, sharp or rough materials. 
  • Leather is often used to protect against dry heat and flames.
  • Rubber, neoprene and plastics protect against certain chemicals and physical hazards. Properties of materials to be handled have to be checked carefully in order to choose the correct material for protection.

Specific body equipment should be provided when a worker is exposed to hazardous conditions, such as: 

  • High visibility apparel. A worker performing his/her activities in a dark area, being exposed to the hazards of vehicles travelling nearby, should wear high visibility apparels fitted with fluorescent retroreflective strips. 
  • Buoyancy equipment. A worker who is employed under conditions which involve a risk of drowning must wear a personal flotation device (PFD) or lifejacket with sufficient buoyancy to keep the worker's head above water. 
  • Safety harness. A worker performing his/her activities in an area elevated from the ground level with risk of being hurt in case of failure should always wear a safety harness. 
  • Flame resistant clothing. Workers must wear flame resistant clothing appropriate to the risk if working in areas where they may be exposed to flash fires, molten metal, welding and burning or similar hot work hazards.

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