Apparel and Footwear Industry
OSHA is committed to providing apparel and footwear industry employers
and employees with information and assistance to help them comply with OSHA and
industry standards and to ensure safer workplaces.
This page was developed as a product of OSHA's former Alliance with the American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA).
Apparel and footwear hazards are addressed in specific standards for the general and construction industries.
This section highlights OSHA standards, Federal Registers (rules, proposed rules, and notices), directives (instructions for compliance officers), and standard interpretations (official letters of interpretation of the standards) related to the apparel and footwear industry.
Note: Twenty-five states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands have OSHA-approved State Plans and have adopted their own standards and enforcement policies. For the most part, these States adopt standards that are identical to Federal OSHA. However, some States have adopted different standards applicable to this topic or may have different enforcement policies.
Frequently Cited Standards
A listing of the most frequently cited standards by Federal OSHA for Apparel And Other Finished Products Made From Fabrics And Similar Materials Industry Group (SIC code 2300) is available.
Other Highlighted Standards
General Industry (29 CFR 1910)
Construction Industry (29 CFR 1926)
- 1910 Subpart G, Occupational health and environmental control
- 1910 Subpart I, Personal protective equipment [related topic page]
- 1910 Subpart I Appendix B, Non-mandatory compliance guidelines for hazard assessment and personal protective equipment selection. Provides guidance on how to perform the hazard assessment mentioned in 29 CFR 1910.132.
- 1910 Subpart L, Fire protection [related topic page]
- 1910 Subpart N, Materials handling and storage
- 1910 Subpart Q, Welding, cutting, and brazing
- 1910 Subpart R, Special industries
- 1910 Subpart Z, Toxic and hazardous substances [related topic page]
- Table Z-1, Limits for air contaminants
- Table Z-2
- 1910.1043, Cotton dust [related topic page]
- Appendix A, Air sampling and analytical procedures for determining concentrations of cotton dust
- Appendix B-I, Respiratory questionnaire
- Appendix D, Pulmonary function standards for cotton dust standard
- 1910.1045, Acrylonitrile
- 1910.1050, Methylenedianiline
- 1910.1051, 1,3-Butadiene [related topic page]
- 1910.1052, Methylene chloride
- Occupational Exposure to Cotton Dust. Notice 66:18191-18192, (2001, April 6). On December 7, 2000, OSHA issued a direct final rule amending its occupational health standard for cotton dust (29 CFR 1910.1043) to add cotton washed in a batch kier system to the other types of washed cotton that are partially exempt from the cotton dust standard (FR 65:76563-76567).
- Methylene Chloride; Final Rule. Final Rules 63:50711-50732, (1998, September 22). OSHA amended its standard regulating occupational exposure to methylene chloride (29 CFR 1910.1052). Specifically, it has added a provision for temporary medical removal protection benefits for employees who are removed or transferred to another job because of a medical determination that exposure to methylene chloride may aggravate or contribute to the employee's existing skin, heart, liver, or neurological disease.
- Occupational Exposure to 1,3-Butadiene. Final Rules 61:56746-56856, (1996, November 4). Amended the occupational standard that regulates employee exposure to 1,3-Butadiene (BD).
- Occupational Exposure to 4,4' Methylenedianiline (MDA). Final Rules 57:35630, (1992, August 10). By this document, OSHA promulgated new standards regulating exposure to MDA. The basis for this action was a determination by the Assistant Secretary, based on animal and human data, that exposure to MDA at the current occupational exposure levels causes adverse effects on employee health including an increased risk of cancer.
- Response to Court Remand for Proposed Rule on Occupational Exposure to Formaldehyde. Proposed Rules 56:32302, (1991, July 15). OSHA proposed amending its existing regulation for occupational exposure to formaldehyde, 29 CFR 1910.1048. The proposed amendments lower the permissible exposure level for formaldehyde from the existing level of 1 ppm (parts per million) as an 8-hour time-weighted average (TWA) to an 8- hour (TWA) of 0.75 ppm.
- Search all available Federal Registers.
- Enforcement Procedure for Occupational Exposure to Formaldehyde. CPL 02-02-052 [CPL 2-2.52], (1990, November 20). Provides uniform inspection procedures and guidelines to be followed when conducting inspections and issuing citations for workers potentially exposed to formaldehyde.
- Cotton Dust Manual. CPL 02-02-031 [CPL 2-2.31], (1981, January 16). Provides guidelines for using the Cotton Dust Manual.
- Benzidine - Based Dyes: Direct Black 38, Direct Brown 95 and Direct Blue 6 Dyes. CPL 02-02-027 [CPL 2-2.27], (1980, February 22). Provides guidelines to follow when issuing citations under Section 5(a)(1) of the Act, and pertinent standards of a general nature, for employee exposure to Direct Black 38, Direct Brown 95 and Direct Blue 6 benzidine-based dyes.
- Search all available directives.
- Requirements for guarding points of operation and belts on heavy duty sewing machines. (1991, July 9).
- Regulations For Cotton Waste Operations. (1991, May 10).
- Sampling for benzidine congener dyes. (1991, January 18).
- Adjusting cotton dust permissible exposure limits (PELs) for extended work shifts. (1990, December 6).
- Formaldehyde Standard Clarification. (1989, February 21).
- Use of Walkman Radio, Tape, or CD Players and Their Effect When Hearing Protection Is In Use. (1987, April 14).
- Sample numbers and measurement duration for compliance to the cotton dust standard for a weaving operation. (1986, November 3).
- Tufting of undyed and unwashed cotton is not covered in the scope of the revised cotton standard of December 13, 1985. (1986, June 4).
- The cotton dust standard applies to the elastic fabric industry. (1986, April 16).
- National Policy on Guarding Roving Frames. (1981, February 13).
- Search all available standard
Hazards and Solutions
The following references discuss issues of exposure for
employees who participate in a variety of activities involved with making
finished apparel and footwear, including sewing, cutting, gluing, and stitching.
This page does not include information on the hazards of weaving, synthesizing,
compounding, or in any other way producing textiles, leather, or other starting
- Sewing and Related Procedures. OSHA eTool.
- Sewers and Tailors. US Department of Labor (DOL), Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Provides information specific to textile machine operators, and apparel workers.
- Laundry and Dry-cleaning Workers.
US Department of Labor (DOL), Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Provides information specific to laundry and dry-cleaning workers.
US Department of Labor (DOL), Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Provides information specific to upholsterers.
- Career Guide to Industries (CGI). US Department of Labor (DOL), Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Provides information on available careers by industry, including the nature of the industry, working conditions, employment, occupations in the industry, training and advancement, earnings and benefits, employment outlook, and lists of organizations that can provide additional information.
- All Other Cut and Sew Apparel Manufacturing [1 MB
PDF, 37 pages]. US Department of Commerce, US Census Bureau Publication EC97M-3152P, (1999, November). The 1997 economic census for manufacturing provides in-depth information regarding the apparel manufacturing industry.
- Health and safety in the textiles industries. Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Discusses major industry hazards including manual handling, working with dyes, etc.
- Hazardous and Toxic Substances. OSHA Safety and Health Topics Page.
- Control of Dust From Powder Dye Handling Operations. US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Publication No. 97-107, (1997). Discusses the reduction of worker exposure to powdered dye through ventilation, work practice controls, and limiting bulk container height.
- Current Intelligence Bulletin 24: Direct Blue 6, Direct Black 38, and Direct Brown 95 Benzidine Derived Dyes. US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Publication
Number 78-148, (1978, April 17). Outlines textile dyes hazards.
- Special Occupational Hazard Review For Benzidine-Based Dyes. US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Publication No. 80-109, (1980, January). Evaluates available information concerning the carcinogenicity and metabolism of benzidine-based dyes and concludes that all these dyes should be recognized as potential human carcinogens.
- The following are information sheets published by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
- Dyes and chemicals in textile finishing: An introduction. Dyeing and Finishing Information Sheet No. 1. Focuses on safely handling dyes and chemicals during textile finishing.
- Non-dyestuff chemicals: Safe handling in textile finishing. Dyeing and Finishing Information Sheet No 2. Outlines risks typical to the dyeing and finishing industries together with risk control measures likely to be appropriate.
- Dyestuffs: Safe handling in textile finishing [391 KB PDF, 4 pages]. Dyeing and Finishing Information Sheet No. 3, (1996, June). Outlines safe use of textile materials.
- Hazards from dyes and chemicals in textile finishing: A brief guide for employees [181 KB PDF, 2 pages]. Dyeing and Finishing Information Sheet No. 4, (1996, June). Informs employees of what precautions to take in order to protect themselves from potential hazards in the workplace.
- Reactive dyes: Safe handling in textile finishing [55 KB PDF, 4 pages]. Dyeing and Finishing Information Sheet No. 5, (1997, October). Discusses how reactive dyes can damage the immune system if they are inhaled or ingested.
- Dust control in dyestuff handling [116 KB PDF, 4 pages]. Dyeing and Finishing Information Sheet No. 6, (2002, April). Gives advice about controlling dust when handling of dyestuffs.
- Selection and safe use of spotting solvents in textile and clothing industries [86 KB PDF, 4 pages]. Textiles Information Sheet No. 7, (2002, April). Provides practical, step-by-step guidance on selecting spotting solvents and on how to prevent risks to the health and safety of those who use them.
- Fall Protection. OSHA Safety and Health Topics Page.
- Preventing slips and trips at work [149 KB PDF, 5 pages]. Health and Safety Executive (HSE), (2003, November). Points out that over one third of all major injuries reported each year are the result of a slip or trip. Provides examples of potential slip and trip hazards in the workplace and explains how to identify those hazards as well as possible controls needed.
- Machine Guarding. OSHA Safety and Health Topics Page.
- Machine Safety. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Workplace Safety and Health Topic. Provides a list of NIOSH publications on machine-related injuries.
Safety and Health Programs
An effective safety and health program depends on the
credibility of management's involvement in the program, inclusion of employees
in safety and health decisions, rigorous worksite analysis to identify hazards
and potential hazards, including those which could result from a change in
worksite conditions or practices, stringent prevention and control measures, and
thorough training. It addresses hazards whether or not they are regulated by
government standards. The following resources provide information that can help employers
develop and implement a safety and health program.
Related Safety and Health Topics Pages
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