Work wear that works

Work wear that works

Using the correct personal protective equipment (PPE) when it is required can save lives – and employers who don’t provide their employees with the correct gear could face dire consequences. CLAIRE RENCKEN takes a look at some of the latest PPE innovations.

There are many reputable suppliers of PPE. Companies like Gross & Co, for example, offer equipment of all kinds – disposable clothing, freezer clothing, gloves, PVC (polyvinyl chloride) protection, rain wear, reflective clothing, safety equipment, work wear, aprons and footwear. Its extensive glove range includes heat-, cold- and acid-resistant gloves; gloves that are suitable for welding and glass handling; and gloves for motorcyclists, brick handlers and builders. The company also stocks safety glasses, goggles, flip-front welding goggles and face shields. Hard hats or hard caps, and safety belts and harnesses are also available, as are ear muffs, respirator masks and respirator cartridges, and PVC and leather aprons. In terms of shoes, Gross & Co stocks chef clogs, safety shoes, ladies safety shoes, and gumboots for both men and women.

Safety footwear makes up a large and important component of PPE, and Bagshaw Footwear, supplier of the Lemaitre and Fuel brands, is one of the leaders in the field. Each of its designs are SABS-approved, with certificates available on request. The company offers a range of shoes catering for just about every industry, including agriculture, mining, law enforcement and the military, with shoes that are resistant to heat, acid, fuel, water and general hard wear. There is also footwear suitable for motorcyclists.

All Bagshaw shoes have been designed to suit South African conditions and have an extra wide toecap. However, the true secret of their success lies in their soles.

Bagshaw soles fall into four categories:

• The parabolic sole, designed to provide the user with optimal comfort. While the additional thickness of the midsole offers extra comfort, the addition of the parabolic curve in the sole adds even more comfort and spring since this curve absorbs the pressure of the weight of the person. Further comfort is provided by deep cleats and air movement channels, which prevent heat from dissipating into the footwear through the sole;

• The Maxeco sole, which is designed for general use and has the added feature of a built-in arch support, ideal for employees who spend long hours on their feet. It has a large surface contact area, providing superior slip resistance, while the geometrically designed tread pattern moves water under the footwear in wet conditions;

• The Apollo sole, designed for maximum slip resistance. The design offers optimal surface contact, while square cleat edges and flow lines in the cleat design take advantage of any surface area to maximise the slip-resistance effect; and

• The Raptor sole, which has a plate designed around the pressure points exerted on the arch of the foot, thus providing maximum support in instances when the ankle could be twisted or sprained.

There’s no excuse for employers not providing their employees with the correct gear – it’s all out there. In a risky industry, ill-fitting, unprotective work wear should be the least of anybody’s worries.

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