What’s the difference between regular workwear and protective clothing?

Protective clothing refers to clothing that complies with certain safety standards that are in line with the risks that your employees face in their unique work environment. When your employees can be exposed to electrical arc, for example, their protective clothing needs to comply with IEC 61482-2. When workers do welding activities, just like the German company I visited, their clothing needs to comply with EN ISO 11611, the norm for welding and related activities.

Regular workwear refers to clothing that is worn in the work environment – such as coveralls – that does not have to comply with protective clothing norms.

In general, protective clothing is more expensive than regular workwear because the materials used in order to achieve the right protection levels are just more expensive than the most commonly used basic polyester and cotton blends for general workwear. These materials can have inherent properties like we see in modacrylics and aramids or they can undergo a chemical treatment that gives them their protective properties. In other words, higher protection levels require more sophisticated solutions that logically have a higher cost.