Friday, 18 July 2008

Work Uniforms - Look Smart, Work Smart!

As signs of recession approach, how many companies have assessed how fit they are to weather the storm? It is interesting to note that Tie Rack has seen an unusual leap in sales. Could this be put down to employee concerns over job security? Several analysts think that this is the case. The last time that the tie was considered a fashion statement was back in the early seventies, paisley, kipper, pencil etc & etc.

Well, the employee has seen the light but what about the employers?

Harris Interactive Polling and J.D.Power & Associates have both produced data that shows that customers have more trust and confidence in employees that are in a work uniform. They also report that uniformed employees provide products and services that are perceived to be of higher quality.

However, let us not kid ourselves that an embroidered oxford shirt constitutes an extension of a well thought out corporate identity. There is far more to this than at first appears.

What about the benefits that the business receives from its employees in performance, self / company image and attitude. A well designed, functional corporate wardrobe can have a startlingly positive effect on employees which can translate into improved / service levels and stronger customer loyalty.

A poorly designed / quality wardrobe can turn the potential customer away and make the employee feel a complete lack of worth to the business.

Put yourself in the position of the customer. Would you trust or buy from someone who looked like a bag of spanners or would you trust someone that was dressed in smart workwear and had pride in their appearance – at the same time, projecting the company image?

It’s a no-brainer!

When selecting your company uniform / work wear supplier, asses their experience and look to see how you can incorporate safety items, PPE and functional fabrics to make a complete corporate image. supplies end users and distributors with a comprehensive range of only high quality and tested workwear, PPE and corporate clothing. We like to sleep at night knowing that our customers are going to be around after the recession.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Chainsaw Safety Clothing

Regulations generally recommend that chainsaw users wear protective clothing, also known as Personal Protective Equipment or PPE, while operating chainsaws. There is general agreement worldwide on what clothing is suitable, but local jurisdictions have specific rules and recommendations.

Clothing Types


The helmet attempts to protect the user's head against impact with the cutter bar of the chainsaw should a kickback occur. This can only be successful if the chain brake has operated to stop the cutter chain. A chain running at full speed easily cuts the helmet.

The helmet also protects against impacts from small falling objects, such as a dead branch from a tree being felled.

The image shows a helmet which integrates visor and ear defenders into one unit. This is a very popular arrangement with chainsaw users.

In the EU, the helmet must meet the requirements of EN397.

Visor or Goggles

A visor or goggles reduce the chance of chips penetrating the user's eyes.

The relatively flimsy visor, with imperfect coverage of the face, is considered acceptable because the chips produced by chainsaws are of relatively uniform size and speed. Unlike other woodworking tools, a chainsaw produces little or no sawdust, only chips. The chips are too large to fit through the visor's mesh.

Some chainsaw users prefer conventional safety goggles. The choice may depend on the environment. The visor provides better ventilation for hard work in hot weather.

In the EU, a visor must comply with EN1731, or goggles must comply with EN166.

Ear defenders

Ear defenders and ear plugs attenuate noise to levels that cause little or no damage to the user's hearing. The chainsaw is very loud, typically 115 dB.

In the EU, ear defenders must comply with EN352.


Special fabrics have been developed for chainsaw clothing, and this development is still very active. Conventional fabric is useless at protecting against a running chainsaw, being immediately cut through.

There is a real struggle between making a fabric proof against more violent impact, and making it light, flexible and comfortable enough for the user. Clothes which make the user too hot, or which prevent the user moving easily, are a safety problem in themselves. A worker suffering from heat exhaustion is not safe. Extra fabric layers can be added to clothing to improve cut resistance, but clothes which cannot be cut at all by a powerful saw are impractical, even with modern fibres. What is worse saw and chain technology seems to be outstripping fabric technology. High power saws with aggressively cutting chains are almost impossible to protect against.

A classification scheme has been developed in the EU to rate trousers, and fabric in general, for protection against cutting.

Chainsaw Fabric Classification


Max chain speed m/s









The chain speed is specified in the manual for a chainsaw. Higher class trousers cost more and are heavier, so there is an advantage to choosing the trousers to match the saw.

There are two standard types of trousers, Type A and Type C. Type A protects only the front of the legs, and can be supplied not as full trousers but as chaps, worn over conventional work clothes. Types C gives protection all round the legs and are almost always worn as ordinary trousers; not over another garment. In the EU, most workers choose to wear type C trousers.

Chainsaw protective fabric works on a number of principles. The outermost layer can be made both tough and slippery, so that the chain skids across it rather than cutting in. Lower layers of fabric can be tough to cut, absorbing saw power. The final defence is that long fibres of the protective fabric (commonly Kevlar) are drawn out by the running saw, not cut through. These long fibres travel with the chain to the saw drive sprocket, where they jam the mechanism and stall the saw. After this, the saw has to be taken apart for cleaning out. Chainsaw protective trousers in the EU must comply with EN381-5.


Chainsaw gloves have cut-proof fabric protection like that for trousers, but only on the back of the left hand. It's especially important that work gloves are flexible, which limits how much padding they can have. Experience has shown that most chainsaw injuries to the hands occur on the back of the left hand.

In the EU, chainsaw gloves must comply with EN381-7.


Chainsaw boots are based on ordinary steel-toe boots, but have layers of chainsaw protective fabric on the exposed front surfaces. They are available in lace-up leather or rubber Wellington boot versions.

In the EU, chainsaw boots must comply with EN345-2.

Logos for Fabric

Chainsaw Logo

In the EU, chainsaw trousers, boots and gloves (the items containing chainsaw protective fabric) must carry a special chainsaw logo. This shows that the fabric is of a type tested to protect properly, and also shows the class of protection, the rated maximum chain speed.

Additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

First Aid Kit

In the UK, workers are required to carry a first aid kit containing at least a large wound dressing.


In the UK, workers are recommended to carry a whistle to call for help if they are injured. Colleagues may be close by, but unable to hear over the noise of chainsaw(s) still running. The whistle tends to overcome this.

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Peltor Sportac Electronic Ear Defenders

At Granite Workwear we took some time sourcing ear defenders. We wanted products that were high quality and with a good reputation. We decided that Peltor products ticked all the right boxes and that has been backed up by our customers. Peltor Sportac ear defenders are a classic example of that quality.

Active-volume hearing protector from Peltor eliminates harmful noise so fast you don’t even notice it.

The Peltor SportTac is an active-volume hearing protector for shooting applications. With new digital technology, the hearing protector has sound reproduction and a sense of direction that are as close to nature as humanly possible. They have a very fast reaction speed, so you don’t notice when the hearing protector blocks out harmful noise. The new electronics in the Peltor SportTac react instantaneously, protecting the hearing from loud impulse noises. But it does so softly, so that the hunter or marksman rarely even hears the clip as the protection is activated.

The active-volume function adjusts smoothly, ensuring the user very pleasant sound reproduction and less irritation. The digital sound circuit eliminates the sharp sound clip that is typical for most active-volume hearing protectors on the market. Many people find that sound unpleasant and disturbing.
The specially designed digital circuit provides unique sound reproduction and better performance – higher amplification of ambient noise and 600 hours’ operating time.

Comfortable and Safe, With Interchangeable Shells in Different Colours

Another new feature with the Peltor SportTac is the interchangeable shells. Now for the first time, hunters and marksmen can choose their colours to suit the hunt or their mood. They are available in red/black combination or orange/green. The hearing protectors were designed for extra comfort during long hunts that last all day. And of course they can be connected to a hunting radio or dog tracker.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Agriculture Safety and PPE

Over half a million people currently work in Agriculture which in the current context includes, farming, arboriculture, horticulture, fish farming and of increasing significance, amenity use of the countryside. Although employment has steadily been declining, the industry has remained a priority for HSE because of its notoriously poor injury record

Agriculture is also an industry with a poor record of occupational health. The SWI (Self-reported Work-related Illness) survey in 2001/02 estimated that 30,000 people (whose current or most recent job in the last eight years was in agriculture) suffered from an illness, which they believed was caused or made worse by their job sectors.

With a prevalence rate of 6,500 per 100,000 people, agriculture has one of the highest prevalence rates of self-reported ill health of all industries.

Musculoskeletal injuries (MSD), exposure to dusts and respiratory sensitisers, zoonoses, noise and vibration (whole body and hand/arm) are the main causes of illness:

  • 80% of those working in the industry suffer some form of musculoskeletal injury;
  • the incidence of asthma is twice the national average, and 40% of those working in the industry suffer respiratory disorders;
  • 20,000 people suffer some form of zoonotic infection each year; and
  • 25% of those working in the industry suffer some form of noise-induced hearing loss.

At Granite Workwear we have first hand farming knowledge with one director running a family farming business. We think farmers need to be more aware of the modern range of PPE, or Personal Protection Equipment, available.

Many farmers avoid wearing safety boots as they are seen to be uncomfortable and heavy. However the latest footwear incorporates high tec materials with steel toecaps and midsoles replaced with lightweight modern materials and uppers made from breatheable and waterproof materials. Trainer and hiker styles allow a comfortable choice. Wellies can now be now comfortable and safe with toe protection, ankle support and non slip soles.

Hearing protection and ear defenders is now covered by our Peltor range. Comfortable, lightweight with options for radio, intercoms etc.

Eye protection by Bolle and Peltor is stylish and comfortable with a huge range of glasses that will protect in the workshop, out in the field and from the sun.

Gloves are a rare sight on UK farms but there is a massive range of gloves to protect hands from many risks – infection, chemicals, heat, cuts, cold the list is endless.

Hi-vis clothing is standard practice on building sites and factories wherever a risk of vehicle or other impact is possible. It is high time this policy was adopted on busy farms. Granite workwear offer a large range of hi-vis clothing from a polo shirt to full waterproof breathable gear.

The safety record on UK farms need to improve, PPE is an easy and low cost way to help protect farm staff. See our range at

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Do You Have A Noise Problem At Work?

This will depend on how loud the noise is and how long people are exposed to it. As a simple guide you will probably need to do something about the noise if any of the following apply:

  • Is the noise intrusive - like a busy street, a vacuum cleaner or a crowded restaurant - for most of the working day?
  • Do your employees have to raise their voices to carry out a normal conversation when about 2 m apart for at least part of the day?
  • Do your employees use noisy powered tools or machinery for more than half an hour each day?
  • Do you work in a noisy industry, eg construction, demolition; woodworking; plastics processing; engineering; textile manufacture; forging, pressing or stamping; board making; canning; foundries?
  • Are there noises due to impacts (such as hammering, pneumatic impact tools etc), explosive sources such as cartridge operated tools, or guns?

Noise can also be a safety hazard at work, interfering with communication and making warnings harder to hear.

The health effects of noise at work

Noise at work can cause hearing loss that can be temporary or permanent. People often experience temporary deafness after leaving a noisy place. Although hearing recovers within a few hours, this should not be ignored. It is a sign that if you continue to be exposed to the noise your hearing could be permanently damaged. Permanent hearing damage can be caused immediately by sudden, extremely loud, explosive noises, eg from guns or cartridge-operated machines.

But hearing loss is usually gradual because of prolonged exposure to noise. It may only be when damage caused by noise over the years combines with hearing loss due to ageing that people realise how deaf they have become. Eventually everything becomes muffled and people find it difficult to catch sounds like 't', 'd' and 's', so they confuse similar words.

Hearing loss is not the only problem. People may develop tinnitus (ringing, whistling, buzzing or humming in the ears), a distressing condition which can lead to disturbed sleep.


By law, as an employer, you must assess and identify measures to eliminate or reduce risks from exposure to noise so that you can protect the hearing of your employees.

Where required, ensure that:

  • hearing protection is provided and used such as ear defenders;
  • any other controls are properly used; and
  • you provide information, training and health surveillance.

A wide array of noise protection is now available from the simple disposable ear plug to electronic ear defenders with intercom and radio features.

At Granite Workwear we have chosen to sell the Peltor range of ear defenders. Peltor offers a huge range of ear protection supplying the military, industry, police etc.

Monday, 28 April 2008

Formal business wear is key to promotion says UK workers

A recent survey of 3200 staff

• 51% believe that dressing smartly helps win promotions
• 87% wear suits for Interviews

It seems that Richard Branson’s ban on his employees at Virgin from wearing jeans is not unusual. According to a Reed Employment survey of 3200 office workers registered on that database, jeans and comedy ties are banned from the majority of offices, with 47% of workers wearing smart casual business wear to work every day and 40% wearing formal office attire such as suits. What’s more, the majority of people questioned felt that dressing smartly will advance their careers, with 51% believing it will help them win a promotion.

85% feel that in today’s office environment having a dress code is still highly relevant; 87% would always wear a suit to an interview and 62% also believe that wearing a suit is important to create the right impression on the first day at a new job.

Office workers seem to like their work uniforms believing it creates a separation from their office and home lives (37%), whilst 37% stated that they feel proud to wear a uniform as it represents their company’s brand image. We are not a rebellious lot either – 90% of respondents stated that they strictly adhere to their work dress codes every day.

‘Dress down Fridays’ is still quite popular and a third of respondents claimed that their company had a policy in place to allow more casual business wear on Fridays.

Lewis Woodward, Head of Network Marketing at Reed stated, “The old adage ‘dress for success’ clearly rings true, with the majority of office workers happily embracing their company’s dress code and feeling proud to represent their brand. It is however, surprising that so many people feel that wearing smart office attire is still highly relevant in today’s business climate and that it is key to advancing their careers.”

At Granite Workwear we feel the same feeling applies outside the office as well. Staff want to look the part whether they are a one man plumber or a member of a large organisation. Staff are often proud of their company and are happy to wear a logo on their workwear.