Workers Health and Safety in the Apparel Industry (Videos)

The apparel industry is a labour-intensive industry. In an existing garment factory or in a new set-up workers’ health and safety must be considered in the first place. Workers are the main resources that keep the machine running in a factory, and making the desired products.  In an unhealthy workplace, workers could not work for a long time. All companies must follow health and safety policies. 

In a garment unit, you need to take care of the following points at the factory level.
  • First aid box
  • Maintain accident resister
  • Fire extinguishers with marked area
  • Emergency lights on the floor and in the path to the exit
  • Fire alarm 
  • Exit signs
  • Exit doors should be kept open while the factory is working
  • Yellow lines on the shop floor to demarcate a pedestrian pathway and space for machines
  • Factory layout and evacuation plans
  • No obstruction in the aisles on the shop floor
  • No cables left loose or visibly hanging
  • Enough light to the shop floor
  • Broken needle record  policy
  • Canteen for workers 
  • Enough toilets for workers and members of staff
  • Safety measures followed at every workstation
  • Adequate pure drinking water supply
  • Encourage workers to use safety masks where needed
  • Voluntary overtime work
Workers health and safety in the garment industry

Department wise safety measures:

Following are few examples of work safety that must be followed in the shop floor.
Fabric Store
  • Don’t keep fabric roll on the floor. Store fabrics on the racks or on pallets
  • Keep enough space for walking and fabric and other item movement
  • Must have air ventilation and enough light.
Cutting Section
  • Wear metal hand gloves while operating cutting machine
  • Don’t use loose wire. All power supply must be covered
  • Wear mask 
Stitching floor
  • Use Needle guard while operating on a sewing machine
  • Keep walking space free of obstacle 
  • Wear mask in the sewing floor 
  • Keep enough space at each sewing workstation for operator movement 
  • Provide height-adjustable chair to workers
  • Enough light
Finishing section
  • Wear a mask while working on a chemical process
  • Keep steam pipelines insulated

Recommendation: For further reading refer ILO guidelines and books on employee health and safety. 

Disclaimer: This is not the complete list of workers' health & Safety measures. Before taking any action please follow the guidelines provided by the concerned department. 

Watch these animated videos

Following videos are published by ILO and betterwork organization on YouTube for the raising of occupational heath and safety in the garment industry.

Video-1: Fire safety

 Video-2: Needle Guard for sewing machines 

 Video -3: Chemical processing (Mask)

 Video-4: Cutting room (mask)

Do you like this post and the above videos? Share this and increase awareness of occupational health and safety in the apparel industry.

Prasanta Sarkar

Prasanta Sarkar is a textile engineer and a postgraduate in fashion technology from NIFT, New Delhi, India. He has authored 6 books in the field of garment manufacturing technology, garment business setup, and industrial engineering. He loves writing how-to guide articles in the fashion industry niche. He has been working in the apparel manufacturing industry since 2006. He has visited garment factories in many countries and implemented process improvement projects in numerous garment units in different continents including Asia, Europe, and South Africa. He is the founder and editor of the Online Clothing Study Blog.

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