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It’s really important that no matter the job, we’re properly protected when we’re at work. No one wants to sustain a serious injury, especially when they can be easily avoided by wearing the appropriate protective clothing.

Lots of jobs are dangerous, but this danger can be mitigated through the use of protective workwear, or PPE. We have compiled a list of jobs that require you to wear protective clothing – some of these jobs may surprise you, but there are lots of potential dangers in any workplace.

It should be noted that this list is extensive but not exhaustive. Lots of jobs require protective clothing, and you should always check with your employer how best to protect yourself on the job.

 

What is protective clothing?

 

Protective clothing is also known as PPE - personal protective equipment.

 

This doesn’t include average working clothes or uniforms, or even clothes provided for food hygiene purposes (such as a hair net or disposable apron). Typical examples of protective clothing include high-visibility garments, head protection and safety gloves, alongside a whole host of other pieces.

 

When you think of a job that requires protective clothing, you often think of heavy-duty industries like construction, but a wide variety of employees require protection even where this is not obvious.

 

Head protection

This usually includes safety helmets, hard hats and bump caps. These pieces are designed to protect the head from any falling debris or swinging objects, or in case you bump into a stationary object (such as when in a space with restricted head room).

They come in a wide variety of styles and will offer certain levels of protection. Be sure to select a sturdy piece of headwear that is appropriate for your working conditions.

Jobs requiring head protection

  • - Construction

  • - Working underground in excavations or tunnels

  • - Manufacturing work

  • - Oil and gas engineers

  • - Forestry

  • - Utilities

  • - Anyone who works in an environment where things may fall, or they may bump their heads

 

Eye protection

This refers to safety goggles, glasses and face shields. Eyes are the most complex part of the body, and they are particularly fragile. Eye injuries are some of the most common that occur at work, but they can be easily prevented.

Jobs requiring eye protection

  • - Welding

  • - Construction

  • - Laboratory work

  • - Manufacturing

  • - Anyone working with power tools where materials may be propelled, or with a risk of splashes

 

Respiratory protection

This is a really common form of protective clothing now; face masks are mandatory in a lot of public spaces like shops and restaurants. Most staff members that work alongside other people will now have to wear them regardless of the job they do.

 

Respiratory protection refers to face masks - specifically dust masks, masks with filters, full face respirators etc.

Jobs requiring respiratory protection

  • - Construction

  • - Painters

  • - Masons

  • - Tile workers

  • - Nail technicians 

  • - Anyone who works with serious chemicals or is exposed to dust

 

Hearing protection

The ears are often forgotten about when considering protective clothing, but they are just as important as any other body part. Your hearing can be damaged if you are frequently exposed to extremely loud noises, but you can prevent this by wearing earplugs or over-earmuffs to cancel the noise out.

Jobs requiring hearing protection

  • - Heavy machinery operators

  • - Construction

  • - Engineers

  • - Airport workers

  • - Musicians

  • - Event stewards

  • - Anyone working in an environment with consistently loud noise

 

Hand protection

Safety gloves can protect from a number of things, such as vibrations, cuts and lacerations, cold or heat, bacteriological risks, or splashes.

 

Hands are arguably our most important body parts when it comes to work; therefore, they are more susceptible to injury. Be sure to have the correct gloves for the job.

Jobs requiring hand protection

  • - Construction

  • - Laboratory work

  • - Oil and gas engineers

  • - Electricians

  • - Heavy machinery operators

  • - Fire and rescue service

  • Kitchen staff

  • - Anyone working in a potentially dangerous environment

 

Body protection

This is a more extensive category of protective workwear. It includes items like overalls, aprons and coveralls, harnesses, life jackets and knee pads, alongside many other garments related to specific jobs.


These are important for protecting your body from any harm it may face while at work. Your body is the biggest area to protect, with many different areas that can be exposed to different threats. There are lots of different pieces of PPE, and therefore many jobs that require you to wear it.

Jobs requiring body protection

  • - Construction

  • - Laboratory work

  • - Warehouse-based work

  • - Forestry

  • - Mechanic

  • - Fire and rescue

  • - Police

  • - Anyone working in jobs where their body is exposed to dangerous materials, or even if they have to carry heavy objects or kneel for long periods of time

 

Foot protection

Most practical jobs will require you to have some level of safety shoes, particularly those with a non-slip sole. Alongside the requirement, it’s also really important to be comfortable while at work to allow you to do your best, and safety shoes are some of the best footwear for any job.

 

You can get safety boots, which will usually have a steel toe cap alongside non-slip soles and other features like insulation or waterproofing. You can also get wellington boots that offer the same protection, and anti-conductive footwear to prevent against electrical charges.

Jobs requiring foot protection

  • - Construction

  • - All emergency services

  • - Manufacturing

  • - Laboratory work

  • - Kitchen staff

  • - Contractors

  • - Delivery drivers

  • - Anyone who could potentially have heavy things dropped on their feet, or work in a slippery environment

 

High-visibility garments

These are particularly important in a job where you need to be seen. This could apply to needing to be visible to other people in a crowd, for example, or needing to be seen in dimly lit areas.

 

This is probably one of the most common types of protective clothing, and you will find it is part of the uniform for many workers. A lot of use might even own high-visibility clothing for exercise purposes, such as cycling at night-time.

 

However, high-visibility garments for work purposes can differ – these are more than just reflective stripes, but rather vests, trousers, and even whole suits made of vibrant, visible material.

Jobs requiring high-visibility garments

  • - Construction

  • - Emergency services

  • - Heavy equipment operators

  • - Security personnel

  • - Event stewards

  • - Airport ground workers

  • - Postmen

  • - Truck drivers

  • - Warehouse staff

  • - Waste collectors

  • - Traffic control staff

  • - Toll booth staff

  • - Trolley attendants

  • - Parking attendants

 

Most jobs require some level of protective clothing. Whether you work in a kitchen and need protection from the heat, or you work in a dangerous construction site where everything can be a threat, you need to be sure you are adequately protected.

 

No matter the job, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. So, be sure to do your research to make sure you are wearing the best protective gear for the task at hand.


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