Month: May 2021
Are you a security or crossing guard? Are you a police officer or first responder? Do you work in the construction industry? Whatever your job is, if it requires you to be outside when there’s inclement in the forecast, you would know how challenging it can be. Rain & snow are not only uncomfortable elements to work in, but they can also lead to some serious hazards if you’re working outside.
Fortunately, there’s a way to stay comfortable, dry & safe, and that is by wearing high-visibility rain gear.
In this article, we’ll see why hi-vis rain gear is crucial for outdoor workers.
What Is High-Visibility Clothing?
First, high-visibility safety clothing is an article of safety clothing made from retro-reflective materials. The main purpose is that the person is visible in low daylight or in the dark when illuminated by a vehicle’s headlights. Hi-vis equipment has a high contrast to the background, so you can quickly see the wearer.
What to Wear in the Rain? Why Is Hi-Vis Rain Gear Essential?
Rainy weather can be chaotic for both employees & pedestrians, so your workers must stand out to prevent accidents. Such weather also makes it difficult for co-workers to see each other, which makes it an unsafe environment to work. Whether it’s a rainy or a sunny day on the road, safety is a top priority. Since rain reduces visibility, invest in ANSI Class hi vis rain gears. The most effective rain gears are in yellow, lime, or orange color with silver reflective striping to ensure your workers are safe. Make sure you take all the precautions to ensure your employees are wearing the right class of high visibility safety clothing to prevent any injuries. Thus, investing in the right high-visibility rain gear ensures your team stays dry and continues working efficiently.
The only way to protect your workers when they are working outdoors in rainy weather is by investing in hi-vis rain gears. Make sure your workers are equipped with hi-vis rain jackets/coats & pants, so they’re covered head to toe & properly visible. If you’re unsure what class the hi-vis safety clothes should be, double-check with the three performance classes. Type O performance class is the least extreme, whereas Type P is when workers are very less visible & could be more at risk.
Benefits of Hi-Vis Rain Gear for Outdoor Workers
Here are some of the significant benefits of wearing hi-vis rain gear when you’re working outdoors.
Undoubtedly, the biggest advantage of hi-vis rain gears is the increased visibility that they provide. These clothing items are made of bright colors, and they have reflective striping. Wearing them, you can be sure that you’ll be seen when you are working outdoors, despite decrease invisibility.
Another significant benefit of these rain gears is the fabric that they’re made out of. They remade with durable & waterproof yet lightweight & breathable fabrics; you will be well protected yet comfortable when you are wearing them for work.
You may need various types of hi-vis rain gears to keep yourself protected & safe in inclement weather. There are several different options available for you, which include hi-vis jackets, hi-vis vests, hi-vis pants & heavy coats. Apart from these, there are even gloves & hats as well.
If you’re a professional who works outdoor and regularly encounters snow & rain while working, keeping yourself safe & protected are exceptionally important. Thanks to hi-vis rain gears, you don’t need to worry about wearing big, bulky waterproof clothing or risk yourself from not being seen when the visibility decreases due to rain or snow. Therefore, for your safety, comfort & security, you must wear high-visibility rain gear.
High visibility (Hi-Vis) clothing is apparel that has fluorescent/highly reflective elements. All these elements make the most of any available light source, which helps the workers wearing this clothing item to be visible against any background & in any conditions, including low light & even darkness.
Ensuring your employees have the right Hi-Vis clothing they need for their unique roles doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all solution. These requirements can vary depending upon its types & performance class.
Hi-Vis clothing standards established by The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) helps safety directors in any industry select the right high visibility safety vest for their team.
In this article, we will walk through the types & high visibility clothing performance class.
Types of High Visibility Clothing
The three types of HI-Vis clothing corresponding to the several types of worksite environments are:
Type O, or Off-Road
It is defined as Hi-Vis clothing that provides daytime & nighttime visual conspicuity enhancement for workers working in occupational environments. The working environment involves hazards from moving vehicles, equipment & machinery, but it does not include exposure to traffic on public access highway or rights-of-way or roadway temporary traffic control (TTC) zones.
Types of workers who need Type O hi-vis clothing includes:
- Workers responsible for outdoor maintenance & cart collection in parking lots
- Workers working in warehouses or factories where they work directly with equipment traffic
- Workers in oil & gas industry locations where visibility is a concern
Type R, or Roadway
This type of Hi-Vis clothing “provides daytime & night time visual conspicuity enhancement for workers working in occupational environments that include exposure to traffic (where vehicles use the highway for travel purposes) from public access highway rights-of-way, or the roadway TTC zones or from work vehicles & construction equipment within the roadway TTC zone.”
Types of workers who need Type R Hi-Vis clothing includes:
- Road construction workers
- Airport ground crew members
- Crossing guards
- Towing operators
- Parking & toll workers
Type P, or Public Safety
This type of Hi-Vis clothing “provides daytime & nighttime visual conspicuity enhancement for emergency & incident responders & law enforcement personnel working in occupational environments. These work environments include exposure to traffic (where vehicles use the highway for travel purposes) from public access highway rights-of-way or roadway TTC zones, or from work vehicles & construction equipment within the roadway TTC zone or from equipment & vehicles; within the activity area.”
Type P high visibility safety clothing is a crucial element of protective clothing for first responders who may encounter multiple hazardous sources while performing their jobs.
Workers who need Type P Hi-Vis clothing includes:
- Emergency medical response personnel
- Law enforcement officers
Performance Classes of High Visibility Clothing
In addition to the types of Hi-Vis clothing, ANSI/ISEA 107-2020 also details four performance classes this clothing. Each of these performance classes has specific minimum design requirements specifying the background materials, performance materials, reflective elements, and size of reflective elements used in the Hi-Vis clothing.
The four performance classes of Hi-Vis clothing are:
Performance Class 1
This is the lowest level. Hi-Vis clothing in this performance class provides a minimum amount of high visibility elements that enable workers to stand out visually from a non-complex work environment. Performance Class 1 Hi-Vis clothing is only appropriate for Type O or off-road environments.
Performance Class 2
This performance class has an additional amount of high visibility material which provides better visibility for your workers. Performance Class 2 Hi-Vis clothing is the minimum level of protection for workers that are exposed to roadway or Type R environments.
Performance Class 3
This performance class provides an even higher percentage of high-visibility material than the above two. Performance class 3 Hi-Vis clothing increases the visibility of a worker’s entire body in extremely complex work environments. Examples of performance class 3 design elements typically include requirements on the placement of fluorescent backgrounds along with reflective & combined performance materials on the workers’ sleeves & pant legs.
Supplemental Class E
The Supplemental Class E Hi-Vis clothing is used for increasing the visibility of workers, and it must always be used with other Hi-Vis clothing. However, class E clothing on its own does not need to meet the ANSI safety standards. This Hi-Vis clothing increases the visibility of the lower body & can be used in combination with Performance Class 2 clothing to reach a combined Performance class 3 visibility level or in combination with Class 3 Hi-Vis clothing to increase worker visibility even further.
High visibility safety clothing is a powerful part of your workers’ safety plan. Keeping your workers visible while they are working can prevent accidents before they happen; thus, ensure a safe & well-functioning team. Make sure that you choose the right Hi-Vis clothing type that will protect your workers & ensure that you’re meeting all of the safety standards that impact your industry.
Whether you represent electrical, oil & gas, utilities, or other manufacturing industries, being a safety & production manager, you may face many challenges concerning personal protective equipment (PPE) compliance.
While various decisions are made to ensure the health & safety of personnel, it is important for safety representatives to also develop programs focusing on productivity & efficiency. However, achieving this balance can be difficult. Creating a safe work environment involves the development of necessary procedures, communication & execution of training & inspection programs. So, here we bring you key tips that will help you improve your workplace safety with proper safety wear that works as the first line of defense to decrease worker incidents & injuries:
Know when you need to use PPE
It is important to follow the guidelines by OSHA while deciding what PPE should be used and when it is required. In any area where workers may face airborne debris, safety glasses must be used. Similarly, hard hats are required for construction sites and any work environment where a worker may face the hazard of falling objects. Safety work shirts, jackets, pants, gloves, boots, and masks are required in various operations, including chemicals & flame/burn hazards.
Design a PPE Program
Employers must provide their workers with the tools & safety equipment required to perform their jobs. Training requirements typically include knowing when PPE is needed & what type is required.
Additionally, employees must understand how to use or wear safety clothing & equipment. If these are not worn or used correctly, they’ll not provide the necessary protection.
These PPE training programs should also include how to inspect equipment & when new a PPE should be requested. It is always better than supervisors or any individual assigned to maintain training records & assurance programs to make a checklist so that they don’t miss out on anything.
Choose the appropriate PPE for your work environment
For a PPE to provide the right protection, it must match the quality standards. If it is of substandard quality, it will not provide you the protection that it should. While choosing safety clothing, you must pay attention to the manufacturer’s ratings & test results. Testing, which is conducted in situations that simulate how the clothing item or other PPE is to be worn in actual workplace scenarios, provides the most accurate performance ratings. Make sure that each piece of your safety clothing meets OSHA or NFPA guidelines.
Check out with the products’ manufacturer and what compliance ratings this equipment is designed to meet. Additionally, read the labels for further details about the garment. Often the fabrics designed to protect against a chemical spill are not always the same to provide flame resistance. The items you choose as PPE must meet the hazards of your workplace.
Perform regular maintenance inspections
Like most equipment, these garments will also wear out over time. Many PPE items also have expiration dates, and they must be removed from service after this date. For instance, a hard hat should be in use for not more than five years, and the date on which it is first placed in service must be recorded inside the hat. In addition, some safety clothing items are required to be replaced after an incident or if they become soiled to ensure protection for the wearer is not compromised in any case.
While safety clothing protects you in the event of an accident, it does not prevent the accident itself. By establishing safety guidelines & training your workers on how to correctly use PPE, your workplace will be safer & any accidents will be less likely to end in injury.
With every changing season, there are new inherent hazards that directly affect a worker’s health & safety.
In the winter season, decreasing temperatures & wind chill tend to put outdoor workers at risk for hypothermia & frostbite; other dangers could be decreased mobility, slower response times & slippery surfaces. Additionally, it has been observed that diligence with wearing flame-resistance clothing over warmer winter wear may diminish the effect & potential risk during the winter months.
For these reasons, it is crucial that a winter Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) plan must be established for workers working in areas where they may be exposed to arc flash, hazardous materials, or other conditions that require flame resistance clothing.
Here are four tips that will help you choose the right FR safety clothing for winters:
Avoid Loss of Body Heat & Injuries Associated with Potential Arc Flash
In addition to being uncomfortable, wet clothes will lead you to lose more body heat. You may also face a greater risk from moisture seeping through the layers. Once the clothing directly touching your skin becomes moist, it gives a path for an arc flash to travel. Make sure to use appropriate rain gear & have a change of FR clothing available for emergencies. Workers who’re exposed to electrical hazards must not wear synthetic materials as they can melt.
FR clothing items with moisture-wicking fibers pull the moisture away from your body, which helps in keeping you warmer, drier & more protected. The balance of insulation, warmth & breathability should not be overlooked while you’re working outdoors in winters. Choosing the right safety clothing for your application & environment can make a big difference in both safety & performance.
Protect Your Eyes
Eye protection in winter is a lot more important than just keeping debris or chemicals out of your eyes. Icy blasts from harsh winds in winters can irritate eyes & cause decreased visibility. So make sure your eyes are well-protected. Moreover, in certain hazardous work environments, the use of face covers along with protective eyewear may be needed.
Cover Your Head, Hands & Feet
Your body loses about 10-percent of your heat through your head. While it is important to keep your head warm, you must also ensure that your hard hat is properly fitted and those hats or liners do not cause slippage. Choose a hat or liner that can cover the back of your neck as well as your head. It is better to get a slightly larger hard hat for winters to accommodate the necessary head coverings.
In addition to this, protecting your arms & hands is also critically important for job effectiveness & worker safety. Frostbite to your hands & feet can occur rapidly. Thus, you should consider getting additional liners for gloves & boots. These liners will provide you with extra warmth & you can change them if they become damp. If your job requires you to wear protective gloves, liners should be made with suitable material that’ll not melt in case of arc flash.
It is always better to look for reusable and washable products while looking for hand & arm protection. These products offer anti-microbial & cut resistance designs and heat & chemical resistance in a lightweight & heavyweight options.
Keep your PPE Well Maintained
Your flame-resistance clothing is designed to keep you safe. For it to perform properly & provide you enough safety, you must take care of it as well.
You must follow the use & care instructions provided by the FR clothing manufacturer on the garment in order to get the full-service life from your FR products. During winters, you may need to change your garments frequently if you’re working in snowy or muddy conditions.
The most crucial factor for choosing appropriate PPE for the winter season is selecting clothing items that are not only suitable for the temperature in which you’ll be working, but it is also functional for the kind of work you’ll be performing and the physical exertion you’ll go through. Make sure to always follow the legal requirements for your trade & consult relevant sections of NFPA codes & standards to make the right choice.