Month: November 2020
Understanding the Importance of Wearing Hi-Vis Clothing in the Workplace
Safety must be the topmost priority when it comes to working in an environment where you need to deal with moving traffic, machinery, or heavy/risky equipment. Risky jobs such as Construction, Roadwork, Pedestrian Control, and Warehousing typically requires employees to wear high-visibility (hi vis) clothing to ensure their visibility to others present on those premises. The aim of hi vis clothing is to avoid terrible accidents that unfortunately are quite possible!
The correct use of hi vis clothing is relatively simple, and it is a reasonable precaution to put into effect. In addition to this, it plays a major role in maintaining safety & preventing accidents. Read on to understand the importance of wearing hi vis clothing in the workplace.
Reduces the risk of accidents & fatalities
Hi vis workwear clothing significantly reduces the risk of accidents and fatalities in a busy work environment. At busy work locations such as vehicular traffic, construction areas, marshalling yards, and industrial premises, hi vis workwear is required as per Health and Safety regulations. Similarly, in large storage aisles & warehouses, forklifts can be relatively silent if their warning horns are momentarily not in operation. In such type of environment or when working near entrance & exit areas of that premises, hi vis vests or hi vis work jackets are required as a minimum safety measure.
Essential in traffic management roles
Depending on the ambient lighting & any electrical illumination, full-body hi-vis workwear is necessary so that the drivers of approaching vehicles are able to see the wearer more easily. This is especially important in traffic management roles; the reflective trousers & jackets here are much more noticeable and, therefore, they increase the margin of safety. Probably the most effective choice of hi vis garment color is fluorescent or Day-Glo yellow for a traffic management role. However, it is important to consider the contrast of the wearer against any background for safety where there’s less than optimal lighting. Extra reflective strips on some types of hi vis waistcoat & trousers work as an additional bright feature for such jobs.
Useful for people other than workers
Not just employees, but wearing brightly colored reflective over jackets or waistcoats are also important for site visitors to maintain visibility and safety. Lightweight options can be considered for summer use, while thicker & heavier hi-vis clothing with thermal insulation is clearly suitable for winter temperatures. Hi-vis clothing or jackets are also suggested for motorcycle couriers as they help to prevent accidents & certain life-threatening injuries.
Brings uniformity of appearance
In addition to the safety benefits that hi vis clothing provides, it can also be used for identifying staff & authorized personnel in any given location – particularly where access is controlled or restricted for safety or security reasons. This uniformity of appearance provided by hi vis clothing makes it easier for approaching visitors to identify company employees at goods inwards or security gates. Also, it fosters a team spirit in the employees and helps in increases awareness of a company’s presence by promoting a visible corporate identity.
4 Key Reasons Why Fire-Resistant Clothing Is Important
Wearing fire-resistant clothing is a crucial factor for companies seeking to comply with industry safety regulations & voluntary performance standards. Employees working in hazardous work environments with a risk of explosions or flash fire are the most common situations where a form of fire-resistant (FR) protective clothing is required. In these work environments, workers may also experience an “arc flash” that directly or indirectly causes a garment fire, resulting in severe injury or even death.
When exposed to such situations, the type of clothing one chooses to wear can play a major role in how the situation turns out. In this article, we have stated some of the most significant reasons that make fire resistant clothing important.
It works as self-extinguisher
FR clothing helps to protect workers by self-extinguishing when they are exposed to flame. It reduces the extent of burn injuries as well as provides workers with valuable escape time. Most severe burn injuries are often caused when a worker is wearing clothes that are not fire-resistant, which may ignite & continue to burn even after the heat source has been removed. By wearing fire-resistant protective workwear, one can prevent such instances.
It reduces the severity of injuries
Whenever there’s a fire or explosion, FR workwear dramatically reduces the severity of the injuries. However, it should be noted that FR clothing does not completely eliminate the risk of burn injury. FR workwear is designed to protect the wearer as it allows them to get away from the heat source. The fabric serves of these FR clothing works as a barrier between the flash fire & skin of the victim, which reduces the level of energy transmitted onto the skin surface.
Moreover, the material of this FR workwear does not melt on the skin, as seen when you wear clothing made of or blended with synthetic materials like nylon, acetate, polyester, or polypropylene. Also, in the event of an arc flash incident, fire-resistant clothing helps to mitigate the overall extent of the injury.
Complies with industry standards
FR clothing not just protects you from fire but also enables you to comply with State & Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards. According to these standards, employers need to protect their employees from hazards in the workplace. Staying compliant with these standards is vital for protecting your company’s safety record as well as its financial bottom line. Without having a proper FR program in place, you’re more likely to get into trouble as any non-compliance may lead to sanctions and various other penalties.
Improves employees morale & productivity
The most crucial aspect of any job is personal safety. When employees feel that the organization they’re working with is taking steps to protect their physical well-being by implementing an FR program, it significantly boosts their motivation, which results in higher performance. Employees working in hazardous work environments where nothing is being done for their safety tend to feel less motivated & less-efficient, which leads employers to incur thousands of dollars in lost productivity.
It is extremely important for employers, safety managers, and employees to understand that fire-resistant clothing serves as the last line of defense for end-users in case of flash fires & explosions. Careful consideration must be taken to ensure that the appropriate FR clothing suitable for a particular type of activity conducted by the workers is chosen, and the workers wear it properly!
What makes Flame-Resistant Clothing “Flame Resistant”?
A diverse array of workplace hazards makes having the right protective gear even more crucial. In many cases, this means flame-resistant (FR) clothing. Working around with high-voltage materials & fire hazards or working as a welder are just a few examples of jobs that require flame-resistant clothing. If you work in any of these industries, you would already know the purpose & importance of flame-resistant clothing. But, what actually makes flame-resistant clothing “flame resistant”?
Let’s get an insight into the science behind flame resistant clothing. A better understanding of this type of safety clothing will help you make smarter buying decisions.
What makes FR Clothing “Flame-resistant”?
Though not the only industry to wear this type of safety clothing, the electric power industry is the one that has a substantial need for flame-resistant protection. One of the most severe threats for workers is electric arcs. Hazards from arc blast/flash include:
- Hot gases
- High temperatures over short periods of time
- Intense pressure waves from explosions
- Shrapnel from vaporized &molten metal particles
It is easy to see the potential lethality of these dangers. That’s why the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has introduced the “269” standard. This “269” standard states that workers must be trained in the potential hazards of electric arcs. Coming back to the topic of FR clothing, this standard also prohibits workers from wearing protective equipment that may amplify the potential of injury in the presence of an arc.
Clothing material that might lead to ignition, or will continue to burn, or that may melt on the skin is out of the question. This basically means that FR apparels are not crafted from synthetic materials such as nylon, acetate, polyester, or rayon. OSHA also provides a general explanation for what material may be considered for FR clothing. This requirement states, “Clothing apparel made from materials like 100% cotton/wool may be acceptable if its weight is appropriate for the flame & electric arc conditions to which a worker could be exposed.”
What your flame-resistant gear made out of?
The answer to this question will depend upon the hazardous risk category level & the minimum required arc rating for your job. When it comes to flame-resistance, the “one size fits all” approach doesn’t work. Different jobs have different protective gear requirements, which means each flame-resistant fabric has unique properties that may either help or harm the end-user. However, blending different fibers may allow maximum protection and performance.
Two common flame resistant fabrics include 100% cotton and an 88% cotton/12% nylon blend. The 100% cotton apparel has been permanently treated to provide flame-resistance to the extent of the garment’s life. The other one with 88% cotton/12% nylon blend is engineered to provide guaranteed flame-resistance for the life of the garment. These fabrics are treated to provide flame-resistance.; this treatment involves the application of flame retardant. Some flame retardants are phosphonium salt precondensates; these retardants have been polymerized with gaseous ammonia. They may also be a heat-cured dialkylphosphonamide. The process used for this treatment has minimal impact on the performance of the fabric.
The various types of fabrics may have different combinations of fibers or may have undergone a certain flame retardant treatment process. Still, the flame-resistant clothing you select will depend on the hazards of your workplace & the minimum required arc rating you need. However, it is not enough to consider only one facet while choosing FR clothing; a comprehensive view is needed!
Why there’s a need to wear safety workwear in the workplace?
A lot has been said about the importance of wearing safety workwear, yet many people & companies fail to understand the need for such. Safety workwear plays an important role for people working in a hazardous work environment as it protects users against any health & safety risks. These safety workwear clothing lessens the likelihood of injury, illness & legal issues and ensures a safe & happy work environment for all.
In most instances, employers reject the idea of investing in high-quality safety workwear for their workers and tend to settle for cheaper options. This, unfortunately, brings more expenses for them in the future, especially when it comes to law suits for not complying with the safety standards. In this article, we will see why there’s a need to wear safety workwear in the workplace.
To avoid contact with chemicals
Among other things, chemicals are most popular that poses some serious risks within the work environment. If certain chemicals get in contact with your skin, it will not only cause irritation to your skin but may even lead to some serious health problems. It can also impair your vision if a splash gets on your eyes. Keeping all these things in mind, you need to wear gloves, safety work jackets, pants, and goggles, among others, to ensure that harmful chemicals don’t touch your body.
To avoid foot & head injuries
Workers who usually work in wet areas are more likely to face injury by slipping or falling. Typically, in construction sites, there are hazards posed by falling debris & hard equipment. In some cases, workplace accidents not only cause injury to the body but may even lead to death. Such situations make it even more important to have prescribed safety workwear for all employees.
For being recognized
On any busy work site where groups of people work together surrounded by various dangerous materials/equipment, it’s imperative that everyone should be able to see everyone else clearly. Thus, it is important to wear high visibility safety clothing as they come with reflective tape. These reflective tapes brightly reflect any light that shines on them, which makes the wearer visible even in poor lighting. A remarkable quality of these reflective tapes is that it’s not degraded even after frequent wash.
To stay compliant with regulatory requirements
Lastly, the right safety clothing is also important in order to demonstrate adherence to various laws set by the government. There are various regulatory authorities that have specified the recommended clothing in various industrial work sites wherein the welfare of the workers are put at risk. If the employer fails to abide by these laws, it may lead them to pay hefty fines and even cancellation of their permits. Therefore, it is important to wear safety clothing not just for safety but also to stay compliant with the regulatory requirements.