When you're a manager at a manufacturing plant, warehouse or any other industrial setting where you split your time between an office and a floor filled with heavy machinery and hardworking employees, it's important to dress for safety and appearance. By having a job that straddles warehouse life and office work, you have to create a hybridized uniform that takes into account the important aspects of each – business professionalism and industrial safety.
Wear the Right Footwear
Safety is the most important footwear quality to look for in a industrial facility. There are a number of dangers that lurk in many industrial facilities, ranging from hazardous chemicals and sharp objects to heavy materials and slippery surfaces. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration has created rules that govern when and where specific footwear is needed.
"Each affected employee shall wear protective footwear when working in areas where there is a danger of foot injuries due to falling or rolling objects, or objects piercing the sole, and where such employee's feet are exposed to electrical hazards," OSHA explained as part of its comprehensive safety standards. This means that any warehouse manager needs to have work shoes that help protect against these workplace dangers. Thick soles and steel toes are a couple of important features to look for, but there are others as well.
Slip-resistant shoes are also critical in many lines of work where extra traction can help reduce the chance of injury. Warehouse managers will also want to look for work boot or shoe options that fit well with their more formal or semi-formal appearance. There are plenty of options available that look professional for both men and women, while still providing grip and safety.
Remember that there are slipping hazards in the office area as well. Nonslip shoes can help keep you safe and on your feet in both environments.
Balance Style With Function
Although most industrial managers are well aware that there are many places where a tie or long hair are more dangerous than they're worth, there are other common styles that are potentially harmful. Skirts, dresses, baggy clothing and even shirt collars can present danger in some situations when dealing directly with heavy machinery. In these circumstances, it may be smart to dress down or wear a protective layer over your clothing. Looking good is important for clients and your superiors, but don't sacrifice safety for appearance.
In some jobs, a short sleeve may make the most sense to reduce the risk of being snagged or caught. Some people may prefer long-sleeve shirts, but short-sleeve shirts may be a good compromise between a safe T-shirt and a profession button-down. For women, similar situations can arise with blouses and suit jackets.
The best way to ensure a balance between style and safety is to think of precautions first. Plan on wearing reliable work shoes, resilient gloves and a hard hat. From there add element that are fashionable and functional: tough industrial dress pants, a flexible skirt or a short-sleeve shirt, just to name a few.
Keep Yourself Clean
While safety is the top priority, you want to maintain a managerial presence when you step back into the office by staying tidy and looking sharp. However, a warehouse can get your clothing dusty, your hands dirty and your hair messy because of wearing a hard hat. You may want to keep a few products nearby or in your office to help you gracefully transition from one working environment to another. This can include simple items like hand soap or a hair brush, as well as a change of clothes in case you end up getting very dirty helping out the other employees.
Maintain a Safe Dress Code for Employees
There are a number of laws that govern workplace safety as well as warehouse dress code policies. Like with your own clothing and appearance, you need to strike a balance between your enforcement of the industrial dress code for employee expression rights and workplace safety. As a manager, your most important role may be simply to ensure that people are following rules and not getting lax on rules such as wearing hard hats or proper footwear.