Neck-to-ankle protection from hazards is a vital aspect of PPE
As their name denotes, coveralls cover all of a worker's body from neck to ankles. Coveralls are integrated body suits that provide a barrier between the worker and
- dust and dirt
- contaminated dry particles
- chemical or oil splashes
- heat and fire
OSHA includes coveralls as necessary personal protective equipment in the top three categories of hazard exposure. Materials used for coveralls include
- 100 percent cotton
- cotton / polyester blends
- flame-resistant cottons and man-made materials such as Nomex
- disposable materials such as Tyvek for contaminated or other dirty jobs.
Cotton / polyester blend coveralls are a staple - comfortable, durable and breathable - and offer good, basic protection from many messy tasks and rough, sharp objects.
As well, cotton / poly blend coveralls are a stronger material than straight cotton, offering better resistance to abrasion.
Welders are best protected by wearing cotton coveralls that are treated to be flame-resistant. Welders' coveralls are needed to protect them against the risk of flash fire and electric arc exposure. This kind of flame-resistant coveralls is also suited for chemical exposure of a lighter nature.
Nomex coveralls - strong but sticky
Flame-resistant Nomex coveralls are not recommended for use around molten substances or welding operations because Nomex decomposes between 700 and 800 degrees Fahrenheit. At those temperatures, molten substances will stick to the coveralls' fiber.
Nomex coveralls are the industry standard for workers in petrochemicals, utilities and military applications, as well as for race drivers and fire fighters. Nomex fibers are unaffected by most acids and generally have good resistance to alkalis.
Disposable Tyvek coveralls
Disposable Tyvek coveralls are typically worn for jobs that deal with exposure to contaminated materials in factories, laboratories and food-handling operations - or sometimes just for dirty jobs dealing with noxious substances.
Paper-like Tyvek coveralls are a good choice because they are lightweight, resistant to punctures and provide an excellent barrier against
- harmful dry particles such as lead dust and asbestos
- water-based acids
- pesticide / herbicide splashes
- non-hazardous dirty jobs
- painting jobs.
Insulated coveralls with cotton or arctic fleece linings are ideal for work in
- subzero labs
- refrigerated plants
- ice skating arenas
- outdoor utility or construction jobs.
Various other coverall features offer comfort and convenience:
- snap or button front closures
- concealed nylon zipper
- concealed brass zipper for welders
- reflective bands for visibility
- pleated back for ease of movement
- multiple pockets
- hunting/camouflage pattern
- men's and women's sizing
- assorted colors.