It is clear that America’s definition of workwear has changed over the years. Workwear used to be heavy-duty clothing suitable for blue-collar environments. Today, thanks to Madison Avenue and the prevalence of social media, workwear is basically anything a person wears to work. Modern workwear can be anything from a business suit to khakis and a polo shirt.
Companies like Alsco, an international provider of uniform rentals, define workwear differently. They are more apt to classify it as industrial clothing. As such, they provide industrial uniforms offering benefits that go way beyond mere aesthetic value.
The reality is that industrial uniforms are more than just workwear. They offer real, tangible benefits workers just don’t get from off-the-rack clothing.
Protection Against Cuts, Scrapes, and Burns
Some employers opt for industrial uniforms to protect their workers against cuts, scrapes, and burns. Take the repair shop at your average car dealership. Auto mechanics are subject to all sorts of harmful surfaces. For example, reaching down into the inner recesses of a car’s engine compartment exposes a mechanic’s arms to a variety of sharp edges. Heavy-duty shirts with long sleeves offer the necessary protection.
A typical machine shop environment exposes workers to sharp edges and hot surfaces. Heavy-duty pants can protect against burns while long sleeve shirts offer the same kind of protection against cuts and scrapes.
Protection Against Solvents and Chemicals
Likewise, industrial environments frequently expose workers to a variety of chemicals and solvents. Some of these substances can be quite harmful if they come in contact with the skin. The solution is heavy-duty workwear that protects against splashes and spills.
Again, industrial coolant is pretty common in machine shops. Though most coolants are not extremely dangerous, they can be rather irritating to the skin. An industrial uniform covering most exposed skin protects the line operator from coolant splashes and machines dripping with residue.
High Visibility Protection for Workers
Industrial uniforms are not necessarily always about heavy-duty clothing that protects against sharp edges and irritating chemicals. Some industrial uniforms are more about visibility than anything else. High visibility clothing is critical in certain industrial environments, not the least of which is the typical warehouse in which materials are constantly being moved back and forth with forklifts.
High visibility industrial uniforms reduce the likelihood of accidents between workers and equipment. When a forklift operator can clearly see other workers on the floor, he or she is more likely to avoid them as he/she moves about the warehouse.
High visibility workwear is also critically important for construction workers. Indeed, road construction crews in most states are required to wear high visibility clothing and hard hats on the job. They need to be clearly visible to drivers in order to maintain their safety.
Branding Industry Uniforms
One final thing to consider is that industrial uniforms do not have to be ugly. They can be both functional and aesthetically pleasing. They can also be branded. And according to Alsco, they should be.
Branded uniforms are especially helpful when employees have regular contact with customers. Branding appeals to customers by inspiring confidence and helping them remember a company when they need that company’s products or services. But even for positions that do not involve direct customer contact, branding serves a purpose.
Uniform branding creates a sense of belonging among employees. It creates a team mentality by associating individual employees with the company as a whole. And yes, branding can help foster company pride among employees.
Not all workwear qualifies as industrial clothing. But all industrial uniforms are workwear. They are workwear with a purpose beyond mere aesthetics.