Work Appropriate Clothing

Posted by Melissa Hall in #YHSafetyTips, Aug 29, 2018

Work Appropriate Clothing

Did you know your company’s dress code is designed to do more than limit your sense of style? Workplace apparel guidelines and regulations are set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as well as through specific state laws. A dress code gives employers a chance to inform workers about these guidelines and enforce these regulations, allowing them to be protected from liability in the event of an accident.

Regulations vary depending on the nature of the workplace, but as a general rule, OSHA states that “clothing must protect employees from chemical hazards, environmental hazards such as machinery or sharp materials, radiological hazards and irritants.”


When determining a dress code for your workers, ask yourself “Will these clothing choices allow the operator to dress safely for the job?”

General Clothing Guidelines

Well-Fitting Clothing Without Holes or Tears

Loose-fitting or excessively baggy clothing can interfere with a worker’s ability to safely complete their job. Loose-fitting clothing can get caught in a machine or on other objects. Clothing should be well-fitting, free of holes or fraying, and other tears.

Long Pants and Long Sleeves

Long pants and long sleeve shirts are encouraged to add an additional layer of protection from chemicals and environmental hazards including the sun, biting or stinging insects and poisonous plants.

Remove or Limit Jewelry and Accessories

Jewelry is a hazard on many job sites. Rings are dangerous in settings where workers must reach into a machine, and necklaces, watches, bracelets, and long earrings may get stuck on equipment. In addition, drawstrings and hoods on sweatshirts should be avoided, as they can get caught in machines with rotating parts.

Tie Back Long Hair

Long hair should be secured via a hair tie to avoid getting caught in machinery or on other hazards.

Closed Toe Shoes with Slip Resistant Soles

Proper footwear consists of a minimum of closed toe and closed heel shoes. Slip resistant soles are encouraged to avoid slips, trips, and falls, and steel toe shoes may be required in certain industries.


The following clothing items should be avoided in any professional work environment:

  • Shorts or pants that end above the knee
  • Tank tops or tops with bare shoulders
  • Sweatpants, leggings or exercise pants
  • Flip-flops, sandals, clogs or other shoes with an open toe or heel


When employees follow the dress code they are able to complete their job duties safely and efficiently.

If you haven’t read last week’s post on Insect Prevention, read it here.

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