Personal Protective Equipment

Protective clothing (used in the automotive industry) is clothing designed to protect either the wearer's body or other items of clothing from hazards such as heat, chemicals and toxic dust.

Protective Clothing

Protective outerwear


Always wear appropriate work clothing. Whether this is a one piece coverall/overall, or a separate shirt and pants, the clothes you work in should be comfortable enough to allow you to move without being loose enough to catch on machinery. The material must be flame retardant and strong enough that it is not easily torn. A flap must cover buttons or press-studs.

If you wear a long sleeve shirt, the cuffs must be close fitting, without being tight.

Pants should be cuff-less so that hot debris doesn't become trapped.

Care of clothing

Always wash your work clothes separately from your day-to-day clothes. Start a new working day with clean clothes and change out of contaminated clothing as soon as possible. It is a good idea to keep a spare set of work clothes in the workshop in case some toxic or corrosive fluid is spilt on the ones you are wearing.

Protective shoes


Always wear safety shoes that comply with the relevant standards for your area. The soles must be acid and slip resistant, the uppers made from a puncture proof material such as leather and the toes protected by a steel cap.

Protective haircap


It is also good practice to wear a cap to hold longer hair in place and to keep it clean when working under a vehicle.

Hand protection

Wherever possible wear gloves to protect your hands. There are many types of gloves available and their applications vary greatly.

Protective chemical gloves

Chemical gloves

Heavy-duty impervious gloves should always be worn when using solvents and cleaners. They should also be worn when working on a battery. They should extend up to the middle of your forearm to reduce the risk of liquid spilling into them when your hands are immersed. Some chemical gloves are also slightly heat resistant. They are suitable for use when removing radiator caps and mixing coolant.

Protective leather gloves

Leather gloves

These will protect your hands from burns when welding and heating or handling hot components. You should also use them when removing steel from a storage rack and when handling sharp objects.

Protective rubber gloves

Rubber gloves

Light duty rubber and plastic gloves should be used to protect your hands from exposure to greases and oils.

General-purpose cloth gloves

General-purpose cloth gloves

Wear these in cold temperatures, particularly during winter so that cold tools do not stick to your skin.

Barrier cream

Barrier cream

This prevents chemical being absorbed into your skin and should be applied to your hands before you commence work. Even the slightest exposure to some chemicals can lead to dermatitis, a painful skin irritation.

Protective hand wash

Cleaning your hands

When cleaning your hands use only specialized hand cleaners, which protect your skin, not solvents such as gasoline or kerosene as they remove the natural oils.

Eye protection

Safety glasses

Safety glasses

The most common is a pair of safety glasses. It is good practice to wear these whenever you are in a workshop. They are designed to protect your eyes from direct impact or debris damage. The only time they should be removed is when you are using other eye protection equipment. Prescription safety glasses are also available.

Welding mask

Welding mask

Wear a welding mask when using, or assisting a person using, an electric welder. The light from a welding arc is very bright and contains high levels of ultraviolet radiation. For this reason the viewing aperture has heavily tinted glass, to reduce the intensity of the light from the welding tip, so you can see what you are doing and the remainder of the mask is made from a durable material that blocks any other light from reaching your face

Protective gas welding goggles

Gas welding goggles

Gas welding goggles can be worn instead of a welding mask when using, or assisting a person using, an oxyacetylene welder. The eyepieces are heavily tinted, but not as much as those in an electric welding mask, allowing you to see the welding task. There is no ultraviolet radiation from an oxy/acetylene flame, so the full-face shield is not required.

Full face shield

Full face shield

When using solvents and cleaners, epoxies and resins, or when working on a battery, it is necessary to use a full-face shield. The clear mask allows you to see all that you are doing, but will protect your whole face from chemical burns should there be any splashes or battery explosions. You should also use a full-face shield combined with safety goggles when using a bench or angle grinder.

Safety goggles

Safety goggles

Safety goggles provide much the same eye protection as safety glasses but with the added protection from any harmful gas that may find its way behind the lenses. Safety goggles must be worn when servicing air conditioning systems or any other system that contains pressurized gas

Ear protection

Ear protection

Ear Protection should be worn once sound levels exceed 85 dB, when working around operating machinery for any period of time or when the equipment you or others nearby are using produces loud noise.

If you have to shout at a person two feet away from you in order to be heard, then the sound level is about 85 decibels.

Ear protection comes in two forms, one type covers the entire outer ear and the other is fitted into the ear canal. Both types perform the same task and it is a matter of personal preference as to which is the most suitable for you.

Breathing devices

When working in an environment where dust is present or where the task you are performing will produce dust you should always wear some form of breathing device.

There are two types, disposable dust mask & respirator.

Disposable dust mask

Disposable dust mask

A disposable dust mask is made from paper with a wire reinforced edge that is held to your face with an elastic strip. It covers your mouth and nose, and is disposed of at the completion of the task.



The respirator has removable cartridges that can be changed according to the type of contaminant they are to filter. The cartridges should be replaced periodically to ensure their effectiveness.

Tony Ferguson,
Feb 27, 2013, 10:51 AM