Providing employees with suitable workwear, to protect them from hazards, or to protect the product being produced, such as in the food industry, and then ensuring that it is maintained and cleaned properly can be a difficult and time-consuming task for businesses.

While the supply of workwear is usually associated with minimising risk, choosing or washing the workwear incorrectly can actually create risks, for employees and the business.

Here are four questions that businesses can ask themselves, to help minimise risks associated with employees’ workwear.

1 Do you have the correct workwear?

Elis estimates that around 60 percent of businesses, that provide their employees with workwear, are using at least some that is not properly protecting their employees and may not be compliant with legislation. Businesses often look to suppliers for advice on which workwear to provide and should check that those providing the advice have the knowledge to do so. Elis, for example, has in-house PPE expertise so can help businesses choose appropriate garments. It also provides food safety garments for the food industry and workwear for catering and hospitality.

2 – Is the workwear being washed properly?

Did you know that a build-up of oil on workwear could turn it into more of a hazard than a protection? Or that washing high visibility garments incorrectly can make them less visible? In food production and catering, are you confident that the required level of hygiene is being achieved? Businesses should consider whether their wash processes are delivering an appropriate standard of cleaning and hygiene. A workwear supply and laundry service, such as Elis’, that uses industrial laundries with programmes and processes tailored to each sector, can ensure consistency and validation of the thermal wash process. Garments are tracked using bar codes or RFID technology in order to improve delivery accuracy, garment quality and stock visibility.

3 – Is the workwear being maintained?

Ensuring that the workwear is washed properly is extremely important for risk reduction but ensuring that it is maintained and repaired, in the correct way, is critical too. Holes and tears can leave skin unprotected and also be at risk of catching on machinery or tools. Keeping on top of repairs also means garments last longer and costs can be reduced. A maintenance service can be part of the workwear laundry package so that any necessary repairs are undertaken automatically, before items are returned to the customer. This approach can help to minimize workwear risk, as well as cost, and can be a lower carbon footprint option.

4 – How are workwear and laundry costs being controlled?

It can be useful to take a look at the total costs involved in workwear supply and laundry. Businesses can be surprised to find that they may save money moving to a rental/laundry contract, rather than buying workwear and paying for laundry separately. Rental options, such as Elis’s, can also help businesses keep control of costs and there are no up-front purchasing costs either.

As part of the cost analysis, businesses should include how the workwear is organised when staff change. A rental contract can mean that workwear can be swapped if employees change, ensuring they always have the most appropriate garments and the best fit. RFID tags and bar codes on garments also help to ensure that the business has the right workwear to meet its needs; not too much and not too little, as well as minimising lost stock.

Elis works with thousands of businesses around the UK, advising them on their workwear requirements, supplying the garments and then regularly laundering and maintaining them.

For further information see or telephone our regional sales consultant, John Urquhart, on 07458 074 828.