Step 5: Determine mechanical performance requirements Fabric performance is critical, but it is only as good as the integrity of the garment itself. Excellent fabric barrier properties are only of value if they remain intact for the duration of the task and can withstand the working conditions. Consequently, in addition to the requirements for barrier performance, protective clothing must be considered from a whole garment perspective taking into account factors such as the fabric s mechanical properties such as strength, abrasion resistance, susceptibility to tearing, and seam integrity. To assess these qualities it is highly recommended that all garments under consideration are subjected to wear trials under actual conditions of use (please see Step 8).
Two important factors that contribute to protection-in-use (and overlap with comfort and ease-of-use considerations are garment sizing and garment ﬁ t (please see Annexe 6 and donning and dofﬁ ng videos in Annexe 8). The correct size and cut of a protective coverall has a huge impact on the protection provided to the wearer and is a signiﬁ cant determinant of comfort and ease of use. Garments must be available in a full range of sizes to suit different physical and gender characteristics, must be of a non-restrictive, ergonomic ﬁ t, compatible with other PPE items, and yet not be so bulky as to present undue risk of snagging, tearing or tripping.
Step 6: Comfort considerations (please see Annexe 6) Effective protection is vital, but so is wearer comfort. When it comes to day-in day- out health and safety compliance, operator comfort is one of the key human factors that govern the correct use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). The importance of wear-comfort and correct garment ﬁ tting cannot be overstated. A large proportion of observed PPE non-compliance occurrences are not due to an absence of protection but are simply due to workers shunning, misusing or abusing the protection provided. And even where staff are wearing the appropriate equipment, if it doesn t ﬁ t or if it isn t comfortable then it is often being worn incorrectly. Identifying the appropriate protective and mechanical performance, yet, at the same time, maximising wearer comfort is a critical part of the selection equation and will signiﬁ cantly contribute to correct coverall use with optimised wearer satisfaction and productivity. As with protection-in-use (please see Step 5) it is essential that donning and dofﬁ ng procedures are developed and practised (Step 8) and user wear trials (Step 9) are conducted to assess the perceived comfort-in-use of the garment(s) being considered.
THE 9-STEP GUIDE FROM DUPONT TO GARMENT SELECTION