Cleaning out the elephant pen at a zoo, that’s got to be one of the dirtiest jobs in the world. Cleaning out any animal pen would be actually, but elephants have pretty large leavings, that makes the job pretty high up in the awful stakes. You’re going to want some specialist equipment to deal with it. Specialist equipment and special industrial strength, ultra durable, everything retardant clothing. Perhaps something like the waders that fly fishermen wear, only better and with goggles.

Some people earn their living cleaning out the grease and oil that gets bunged up in the huge machines that keep factories running (sugar refining factories for example). They have to go into the bellies of the beasts with shovels and buckets and shovel, sweat and slave until all of the gunk is gone. Its not a simple little half hour job either. It takes hours and many buckets full to complete. Its something for which you would also want specialist clothing, going from neck to toe as well as a little something covering your noggin to catch unexpected drips.

There are others whose work involves going into houses where murders most foul have been committed and includes cleaning up after all possible evidence has been collected. This can be particularly gross if bodies have been lying decomposing for months and the smell has permeated the walls and floors and seeps into your pores and no number of scalding hot showers and bars of soap will get it out. Then there is all of the blood as well as all of the other bodily fluids and solids that get spilled in the commission of violent crimes. Television can make it look bad, in real life it always looks worse, and it smells. You so want specialist clothing for this kind of job and a mask and goggles and shoes and gloves and if possible, a body double.

All of these people, and countless others with jobs equally dirty or even worse (eek!) are in luck. You do get companies that make specialist work wear. They cater for a variety of situations and risks. There is probably nothing that is elephant dung repellant or grease retardant or dead people smell proof but you do get flame retardant material (obviously or else fire fighters would be in serious trouble). You also get material that is waxy so that it is difficult for muck to stick to it with its accustomed great and mighty sticking power. You get shirts, trousers, overalls, high visibility clothing and jackets.

You also get specialist accessories like footwear, this includes a variety of shoes and boots and even socks, hopefully a few flame retardant socks. You never know when a pair of those will come in handy. Other accessories include gloves — very important in all dirty work, helmets – also handy in a wide variety of dirty and/or dangerous situations, harnesses — for those times when you just have to hook yourself up to something and first aid kits, because if you’re going to be getting dirty you might be getting sore and if you’re getting sore while you’re dirty you want a first aid kit to prevent infection and said injury turning purple and falling off.

It must be said that high visibility clothing sounds like fun. It kind of makes you want to climb a pole and fix telephone wires, or climb down manholes and do whatever it is that people do down manholes. One theory is that they train all the alligators alleged to be down there. That would be quite cool. It would certainly be a place to bring your first aid kit, as the chances are good that it might come in handy.

Sandra wrote this article for the online marketers Dickies Store protective clothing one of the largest manufacturers and providers of personal protective equipment in the UK

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