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Page last reviewed: 07/29/2008
  • Ergonomics: Sewing and Related Procedures. OSHA eTool. A Spanish version is also available. Provides guidance information for workers involved in sewing activities, such as manufacturing garments and shoes, who may be at risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).
  • Machine Guarding. OSHA eTool. Focuses on recognizing and controlling common amputation hazards associated with the operation and use of certain types of machines.
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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.

Apparel and footwear hazards are addressed in specific standards for the general and construction industries.

OSHA Standards

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

OSHA maintains a listing of the most frequently cited standards for specified 6-digit North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes. Please refer to OSHA’s Frequently Cited OSHA Standards page for additional information. For Textile Product Mills, use NAICS code 314 in the NAICS search box.

Other Highlighted Standards

Federal Registers

  • 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.


Standard Interpretations

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.


  • Sewing and Related Procedures. OSHA eTool.

  • Laundry and Dry-cleaning Workers. US Department of Labor (DOL), Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Provides information specific to laundry and dry-cleaning workers.

  • Occupational Outlook Handbook. 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.

Cotton Dust




  • 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.

Hazardous Substances

Heat Stress


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.

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.

Additional Information

Related Safety and Health Topics Pages

Other Resources

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