Fit and sizing evaluation of limited-use protective coveralls

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Virginia Tech


Garment fit is a complex concept made up of objective and subjective variables. It can be measured in terms of functional ease, garment ease, comfort, and appearance. The success of any garment design is dependent upon the suitability of fit for intended end use. Garment fit is fundamental to user satisfaction. One type of garment where fit is essential is protective clothing. Protective clothing should minimize discomfort to the wearer, maximize the level of environmental protection, and provide minimum interference with the task being performed. Because of consumer complaints about the fit of protective clothing, a recommendation for revision of current sizing specifications has been made by the Industrial Safety Equipment Association (ISEA). The purpose of this research was to evaluate the fit of limited-use protective clothing manufactured to the proposed size revision of ANSI/ISEA 101-1985 Men’s Limited-Use and Disposable Protective Coveralls Sizing and Labeling Requirements.

Garments which met minimum specifications were provided in three styles by manufacturers. Subjects were obtained at agricultural conferences sponsored by the Virginia Cooperative Extension Service. After selecting garments according to height and weight measurements, subjects were asked to wear the garments while completing an exercise work protocol designed to represent common body movements. Data were collected with a questionnaire concerning overall fit, ability to perform a job while wearing the garment, and whether the garment was too large or too small. Results were used to analyze and make recommendations concerning 1) static fit and dynamic fit, 2) key body measurements other than height and weight needed to select garments, 3) required ease, and 4) the effects of design on fit.

Significant results made it possible to make recommendations concerning amounts of ease necessary for overall fit as well as dynamic and static fit. However, evidence was inconclusive in regard to garment design. Comparisons between body and garment measurements were not definitive enough to make recommendations for use of any body dimensions other than height and weight for size selection. Recommendations were made that more anthropometric data be collected for this purpose.