Uniforms are a part of many occupations and industries. From police officers to retail workers, almost everyone is subject to uniform dress codes, and even in spaces where uniforms aren’t required, many professionals are still required to wear certain clothing items for various reasons.
Work Clothing Policies In Manufacturing And Industrial Spaces
A perfect example of this is in manufacturing and industrial spaces. Although office workers at manufacturing and industrial facilities tend to wear business dress clothes, workers out on the floor may have more relaxed standards.
Even as this is the case, floor workers are usually required to adhere to certain dress code standards that include the use of items like reflective clothing or high visibility clothing as well as safety clothing that protects against the specific dangers posed by each individual facility.
Because manufacturing and industrial facilities tend to be very busy with lots of heavy machinery in operation all around employees, clothing with higher visibility is often a good idea so that workers get noticed in the rush of things.
High visibility clothing also helps to differentiate workers in environments where no specific dress code exists. In some cases, reflective vests may include colors to indicate the role of each worker when multiple people are working in a crowded area.
Of course, safety as it applies to dress codes isn’t just a matter of style in potentially dangerous work environments. Loose clothing or articles of clothing that feature billowing or hanging fabrics can also pose a safety concern as these features can get caught in between moving equipment parts.
This means that many industrial dress codes often limit the wearing of accessories like necklaces and some earrings. Head coverings may also be required to prevent workers with long hair from becoming entangled in machinery.
The Merits Of Work Uniform Vs. Employee Choice
When it comes down to choosing between allowing employees to dress as they please versus requiring industrial clothing and safety workwear, the benefits of the latter tend to outweigh those of the former.
While it may be convenient to be able to wear whatever you would like in the workplace, there are some merits to having enforced dress code requirements, particularly when it comes to safety.
As stated above, safety workwear in an industrial or manufacturing setting helps to protect workers in environments where large, dangerous machinery may be operating.
High-visibility vests, patches and stickers make it so that employees don’t go unnoticed around this heavy machinery, and this can be especially important in dark industrial environments.
Additionally, requiring some semblance of a dress code has the added benefit of helping all workers to feel like they are a part of the team.
When people wear what they want at work, it can be easy to feel like a disparate group of individuals who have come together for their own purposes. Uniformity provides a sense of belonging and drives workers forward with a shared purpose or mission.
Uniform requirements in industrial clothing can also be a security matter. If someone enters an industrial or manufacturing facility and doesn’t belong there, they will be easier to spot if they are not wearing standard uniform items.
In addition to identification badges or similar official identifying items, dress code and uniform standards improve facility security and prevent the wrong people from entering secure areas.
Should Employers Provide Safety Workwear?
If you’re an employer and you’re wondering whether you need to provide dress code items that relate to safety, you may not have a choice. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration in conjunction with state and local regulatory agencies usually requires certain employees to be provided with personal protection equipment (PPE).
Failure to provide these items could not only lead to lawsuits but can also see your business receive fines and fees. If dress code items are not regulated in your industry or area, you may still want to consider supplying them.
When employees are simply given a list of acceptable items, the concept of uniformity tends to suffer.
For example, if your dress code requires black safety shoes, you may end up with some employees showing up on the manufacturing floor wearing black combat boots, black steel-toe shoes and various other types of shoes that employees may have considered acceptable.
Providing workwear alleviates burdens on employees, and it also promotes uniformity.