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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 products.

General
  • Sewing and Related Procedures. OSHA eTool.
  • Laundry and Dry-cleaning Workers. U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Provides information specific to laundry and dry-cleaning workers.
  • Occupational Outlook Handbook. U.S. 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 (PDF). U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Census Bureau Publication EC97M-3152P, (November 1999). 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.
Cotton Dust
Dyes
  • Chemical Hazards and Toxic Substances. OSHA Safety and Health Topics Page.
  • Control of Dust From Powder Dye Handling Operations. U.S. 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. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Publication Number 78-148, (April 17, 1978). Outlines textile dyes hazards.
  • Special Occupational Hazard Review For Benzidine-Based Dyes. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Publication No. 80-109, (January 1980). 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. Dyeing and Finishing Information Sheet No. 3, (June 1996). Outlines safe use of textile materials.
    • Hazards from dyes and chemicals in textile finishing: A brief guide for employees. Dyeing and Finishing Information Sheet No. 4, (June 1996). 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. Dyeing and Finishing Information Sheet No. 5, (October 1997). Discusses how reactive dyes can damage the immune system if they are inhaled or ingested.
    • Dust control in dyestuff handling. Dyeing and Finishing Information Sheet No. 6, (April 2002). Gives advice about controlling dust when handling of dyestuffs.
    • Selection and safe use of spotting solvents in textile and clothing industries. Textiles Information Sheet No. 7, (April 2002). 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.
Ergonomics
Falls
  • Fall Protection. OSHA Safety and Health Topics Page.
  • Preventing slips and trips at work (PDF). Health and Safety Executive (HSE), (November 2003). 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.
Hazardous Substances
Heat Stress
Noise
Machine Guarding
  • 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.

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