Protective clothing refers to garments designed to protect the wearer's body from injury caused by blunt impacts, electrical hazards, heat, chemicals or infection, for job-related occupational health and safety purposes, such as flame retardant overalls, chemical resistant aprons or anti-viral barrier garments.
There are several factors to bear in mind when considering the benefits of garment rental over garment ownership. The reliability of the industrial laundering process, as opposed to washing at home, means that textile rental services play a key role in providing safe, appropriate garments for employees wearing workwear in many sectors and environments. In industrial laundering:
The protective properties of garments are consistently maintained
Hygiene is paramount
Stains and soiling are removed without any risk to the wearer
In addition to laundering, garments are repaired, replaced and quality approved
Colour cross contamination and deterioration is avoided
The lifetime of a garment is tracked so that it is retired at the end of its life
Textile rental services play a key role in providing a safe, risk-free working environment for employees in many sectors. As occupational health and safely is a priority in our business, ETSA member companies work with the European Agency for Health and Safety at Work (EU OSHA) on risk prevention, promoting healthier and safer workplaces.
As an employer, you have a legal responsibility to ensure the health and safety of your employees. Supplying employees with legally approved protective clothing only fulfils one part of your legal responsibility. An employer is also responsible for the correct care and maintenance of every garment until the end of its lifetime. It is vital for employee safely that this ongoing care is not overlooked.
A report released by ETSA reveals a worrying confusion between the concepts of cleanliness and hygiene in many people's minds. Given the number of employers that allow or even rely on employees washing their own workwear at home, this represents a threat to companies that rely on strict hygiene.
Employers and purchasers can find guidance on how to buy and maintain workwear garments by referring to official selection, use, care and maintenance guidelines, known as 'SUCAM':
Selection: determining which clothing is suitable for the required level of protection
Use: determining how to use the protective clothing and knowing its limitations
Care (washing and drying): knowing how to keep protective clothing in good working order and the procedures for cleaning, decontamination and storage
Maintenance: ensuring valid procedures for inspection, repair and the ultimate removal of garments from service.
Risk assessment is an essential component of professional care and maintenance. To maximise safety, the rental process begins with identifying and selecting the correct type of protective clothing, then ensuring it is properly cleaned and serviced. Due to the technical requirements of many protective garments, in most cases washing them at home can do more harm than good.
Workwear is exposed to intensive wear and tear and soiling. ETSA member companies have drawn up a set of requirements and recommendations for garment manufacturers to try to ensure that the workwear available on the market is able to stand up to tough industrial laundering processes over its full life cycle.
Workwear and protective garments are subject to two important standards which guide the manufacture of these garments and the industrial processes they go through in their life cycle.
The first concerns how suppliers of workwear and protective garments test the suitability of their textiles for tough industrial laundering (ISO 15797).
The second concerns the new labelling code with standardised symbols for certifying that the textiles are tested (ISO 30023).
To find out more about our members including suppliers, national associations and research institutes click here.
To find out more about our members including textile rental companies, national associations and research institutes click here.
To find out more about our members including textile rental companies and suppliers, click here.