3 Common Mistakes That Will Compromise Your Workplace Safety

work shirts with reflective stripes

Staying safe while on the job, no matter what career field you’re in, is the most important aspect of work. If you aren’t careful before, during, and after any job that requires manual labor, you run the risk of seriously injuring yourself or potentially harming someone else.

Especially for brand new employees, it’s essential that you focus on your safety right from the start of your new job. According to the Institute for Work and Health in Canada, new employees in their first month at work have more than three times the risk for an injury that results in a loss of time than other employees.

Here are some common workplace mistakes that are made that often lead to injuries. Be sure to stay on top of your safety in the workplace and have an injury free career.

Not wearing high validity safety jackets or high visibility pants
If you’re working at night or even in the daylight with difficult to see conditions, it’s absolutely essential that you wear the correct gear and safety equipment throughout your time on the job. You should make sure that you purchase plenty of durable work shirts with reflective stripes, cargo work pants with reflective tape, and other high visibility clothing before you work any type of outdoor manual labor job. Whether you’re working construction on the side of the road or on an industrial job site, make sure that you and your team is donned in work shirts with reflective stripes so you can be easily identified and protected.

Going into a job without the proper training
If you don’t possess the necessary skills and knowledge going into a a new job, you run the risk of seriously harming yourself or others once you arrive. Whether it’s up to your supervisor or not, it’s your responsibility to get the necessary training so you can effectively accomplish any task.

Working on an empty stomach or being overly tired
If you are full of energy going into a manual labor job, you will be alert and thinking clearly enough to take care of yourself on the job. If you are functioning on only a few hours of sleep, however, or haven’t had a sufficient meal in a few hours, you’re not going to be at your best and you’ll run the risk of injuring yourself.

Be careful everyday and before every single job to ensure your safety. If you want to check out some quality work shirts with reflective stripes or safety pants, contact Transportation Safety Apparel today.

4 Biggest Tips For Bicycling On The Road

high visibility hooded pullover sweatshirtIf you’re an avid bicycler, you probably understand that there are many rules of the road that must be followed. But if you’re a newbie, you’re likely to make a couple mistakes that could compromise your safety. Here are some basic ways to keep yourself safe when biking on the road.

1. Helmet:

This should be obvious, but wearing a helmet when riding a bicycle is at the top of almost every safety list. Sure, they may not be the most fashionable accessory, but they could end up saving your life someday. Forget the helmet haters and always buckle up before getting on the road.

2. Visibility:

If you’re biking at night, drivers will definitely have a hard time spotting you. That’s why it’s important to layer on the high visibility clothing (let’s take it as a given that you’re already using bicycle lights). If it’s exceptionally cold, you may want to consider layering a high visibility jacket on top of a high visibility hooded pullover sweatshirt for added warmth and visibility. And if it’s raining, it’s ideal to invest in high vis rain gear such as high visibility rain jackets. Whatever mother nature has in store for the weather, you can rest assured that there is a high vis piece of clothing that’s designed for just such an occasion.

3. Laws:

Many inexperienced road cyclists tend to ignore or neglect traffic laws when cycling. But cyclists who ride in the streets are expected to follow the same laws as drivers. At the most basic level, that means traveling on the right side of the street (literally), understanding right of way, and signalling before turns. Always bike in a straight line, signal your intentions clearly to other drivers, and yield to traffic and pedestrians when appropriate.

4. Alertness:

Needless to say, you should always be as alert as possible when riding your bike. This means keeping your eyes on the road and your hands on the handlebars. Always look both ways before turning and keep an eye out for parked cars. You should also make sure to limit distractions. While listening to music while biking is certainly enjoyable, permanent hearing loss can be caused by sounds that are louder than 85 decibels, not to mention, you won’t be able to listen for oncoming traffic or emergency sirens.

Ultimately, staying safe should be your number one priority when riding your bike. Always wear a helmet, follow the law, and stay alert. For more information about high visibility hooded pullover sweatshirts, contact Transportation Safety Apparel.

Want to Stay Safe When You’re Running? Avoid These 4 Disastrous Mistakes

reflective safety jacketIf you’re a runner, you may think you know all the rules of the road. But the fact is, many runners make common mistakes on their runs that are unsafe and should be addressed. Unsafe running practices can lead to accidents and injuries. Here are some of the most common mistakes runners make.

1.Not running against traffic:
Many runners assume that the safest direction to run is always with traffic. However, running as you face oncoming traffic is the much safer alternative because it enables runners to take full observation of what’s coming their way. If runners can’t see the traffic approaching them, they may not be able to move out of the way to avoid a vehicle in case they aren’t seen. Running on the opposite side of the road as traffic is going can prevent countless accidents and even fatalities.

2. Not making an effort to be seen:
This mostly applies when running at night, but regardless of when you run, it’s critical to make sure you’ll be visible by drivers and other pedestrians. Oftentimes, this means investing in high visibility clothing such as a reflective safety jacket, reflective pants for work, or high visibility rain jackets. It’s recommended to keep a variety of high visibility clothing on hand so that you’ll be prepared to stay visible in any type of weather.

3. Getting distracted:
Many runners have a habit of listening to music as they run. This may be safe when running on a treadmill or a track, but it should always be avoided when running on the road because not being able to hear can reduce your ability to respond to dangerous situations. This is especially important to remember if you wear headphones that cancel out all other noises. Depending on the fit, earplugs can reduce noise by 15 to 30 decibels, eliminating your ability to listen for oncoming traffic and other potential dangers.

4. Not being able to see:
While it’s important to stay visible, it’s also critical to make sure you yourself can see as well. If you’re running at night, try to bring a flashlight or head lamp to make sure you can see the path in front of you. Without a light source, you could easily run into someone else or another obstacle.

Ultimately, it’s important to prevent these mistakes while running, as they are major safety concerns. For more information about reflective safety jackets, contact Transportation Safety Apparel.

Back to Basics: Standard Regulations Regarding Safety Jackets for Construction Employees

safety jackets for construction

The average person might take around 10,000 steps per day, but a someone working in construction could take upwards of 30,000 in that same span of time. And sometimes all that walking isn’t in a very safe environment. That’s why it’s important for construction workers and their employers to know the basic regulations when it comes to high visibility clothing.

Some Basic Information

The American standard for high visibility jackets and shirts is enforced as a safety measure for anyone who might be working in potentially dangerous environments. These regulations aim to decrease the number of workplace accidents while still ensuring that a job can be properly performed. As such, it’s absolutely essential that you get a refresher every now and then.

Background Materials

In order to be approved as safety jackets for construction employees, these items need to follow strict background color guidelines. The background material on any fluorescent vest must be, as the name suggests, fluorescent. This ensures high visibility in low visibility weather conditions and while working at night. The two approved colors include fluorescent yellow-green and fluorescent orange-red.

Reflective Material

In order to provide maximum visibility, it’s important that safety jackets for construction employees include some form of reflective material. These bands, also called retroreflective bands, reflect light back to its original source. So if you’re driving with your headlights on, these bands will reflect that light back at you and make you aware of the construction employee wearing a vest or jacket.

High Performance Material

Aside from the other two requirements, the material used to make high visibility workwear must be very high quality. It must be fluorescent and able to house reflective strips at the same time. In addition, it must be durable enough for construction workers to get adequate usage out of it.

Whether you’re in the market for construction gear or safety clothing for any job that requires you to work in low visibility conditions, make sure the pieces you choose all follow these strict guidelines. It could mean the difference between being seen at night or being involved in a serious accident.

Debunking 3 Common Myths About High Visibility Clothing

high visibility long sleeve shirtsWhen it comes to pedestrian safety, many people opt for high visibility clothing to help them be seen by drivers, bikers, and other pedestrians. However, despite the popularity of high visibility clothing items such as high vis pants, high vis hoodies, high vis jackets, and high visibility long sleeve shirts, there is still a surprising number of misconceptions being circulated about this type of clothing. Here are some common myths about high visibility clothing.

  • Myth: The Federal Highway Worker Visibility Rule is unimportant.
    In 2015, 4,836 workers were killed on the job. That equals 13 deaths every day. This rule paved the way for the creation of the U.S. comprehensive worker high visibility regulation process. It applied to anyone on or near federal highways. It generally states that anybody working on roads must wear some type of high visibility clothing while on a work or construction site. This rule helped to improve the safety of construction workers throughout the nation, and it has helped to prevent countless accidents.
  • Myth: High visibility clothing is all the same.
    Another common misconception, high visibility clothing is definitely not all the same. It comes in many materials, colors, styles, features, and varieties that make each brand and garment unique from others. When shopping for high vis clothing, remember that the garment should be functional as well as visible. Consider the color (bright yellow is the most popular, with orange as a close second), the style (high visibility long sleeve shirts offer warmth as well as protection), and the brand.
  • Myth: Buying high visibility clothing online is the best method.
    While online shopping is great for buying countless other products, it’s a bit more difficult when it comes to high visibility clothing. Sure, you can read reviews and testimonials online all you want, but when it comes time to determine how you’ll like it, not being able to try it on beforehand can lead to dissatisfaction and lack of protection. It’s not uncommon for online images to be edited, so you should always be safe and try to make a trip to a brick and mortar store so that you have the ability to try on and sample a lot of different types of high vis clothing before you find the type that you like best.

Ultimately, high visibility clothing such as high visibility long sleeve shirts help to protect road workers and pedestrians everywhere. For more information about high visibility workwear and safety pants, contact Transportation Safety Apparel.

Designing and Implementing a Workplace Safety Program

A well-thought out and implemented workplace safety training program has benefits far beyond a reduction in workplace injuries. With fewer injuries comes fewer worker’s compensation claims, meaning less paperwork and lower insurance premiums. Worker morale improves in a safe environment and workplace productive increases.

These are all excellent reasons for establishing your own training program, even without the many legal reasons for doing so. Building a program from scratch, however, can seem overwhelming. While it requires a significant time commitment, creating a safety training program follows the same simple steps whether you’re work environment is a small manufacturing plant, a software developing company, or a large construction site.

Determine Your Needs
Safety training doesn’t negate all workplace hazards. If fact, some safety threats cannot be addressed with training. Your first task, then, is to determine the cause of your workplace safety issues.

Training is the best solution when accidents can be traced to employees lacking knowledge of safety procedures and equipment usage. If accidents occur due to a physical flaw in the work environment, training is less likely make a difference. Instead, alterations to the physical environment may solve your problem.

Lack of motivation and employee attitudes can also contribute to accidents. To combat these issues, a shift in workplace culture is needed. Training can be part of that shift, but the larger issues causing your employees’ negative outlooks will need to be addressed.

The Job Hazard Analysis
Training must accurately address the specific threats your employees face. A job hazard analysis is the best method of determining these threats and any gaps in employee knowledge employees have related to specific tasks.

Job hazard analysis documents every step in every task your employees complete, identifying all possible hazards at each step towards task completion. The resulting document or spreadsheet provides a valuable foundation for safety training, clearly showing where employees have safety issues or knowledge gaps—gaps you can prioritize in your safety training.

Completing a job hazard analysis has another advantage: it introduces your employees to your new culture of safety. Involve workers in the process. Ask them questions, and listen to their safety concerns. Keeping employees motivated and interested is a vital part of any safety training program.

Developing Training Materials
How you present training materials—and indeed the form such training takes—depends on your workplace, your employees, and the type of safety issues you face. If you’re training a construction crew on the proper use of fall protection, your training materials might assume a large audience. Reviewing the proper steps for use of a highly specific piece of equipment, in contrast, may require one-on-one training.

Who presents the training is also an issue. For relatively simple procedures, you or your company’s supervisors may be perfectly capable instructors. In other cases, outside instructors may be a better choice.

No matter what type of material and presentation methods you choose, training should apply to specific jobs or circumstances, using lessons that mirror the step-by-step nature of the job process being reviewed.

The best training includes opportunity for employers to demonstrate and practice safety skills during and after training. Providing an overview at the end of training helps employees retain information.

Training Sessions
At this stage, you can schedule training sessions. Whether you run training in-house or hire outside consultants, be clear about the following facts:

• Your workplace has a zero incident goal. Suggesting anything else leaves your workers with the belief you consider some accidents (and the pain they cause) “acceptable losses.”
• Safety is everyone’s concern. The more you get employees involved in the process, the more likely training will translate into a safer worksite.
• Employees are as responsible for safety as management. For instance, your responsibilities may include purchasing personal protective equipment and training employees in their use. It is the responsibility of the individual employee to wear that protection.

As noted above, present information in an organized manner clearly related to employee tasks. When possible, provide real-life examples. Encourage discussion and participation during and after training, and follow up in the coming days to reinforce new skills and information.

Evaluate Your Results
Determining how effective training was can be accomplished in a number of ways. In the days following training sessions, ask employees for feedback, either through discussions or a short survey.

Periodically check in with supervisors and ask if employee behavior changed after training. Supervisors are often the first to notice any positive outcome. The ultimate test of training success, however, can be found in long-term safety data. If incident rates or “near miss” reports drop, your training has been successful.

Continuous Improvement
Whether or not your initial training resulted in positive change, you’ll need to update and change your training program in response to new developments. Safety is not static—new employees, changes in equipment, and other variables can change how and when you train.

Revisit your safety program often. Was the training effective? Could you improve the program with changes to presentations or teaching techniques? Return to your job hazard analysis and look for gaps in the training, filling them in as you discover them. Your safety program will change over time, but once you have one in place, it’s only a matter of fine-tuning the process.

A culture of safety doesn’t develop overnight, but with careful analysis, employee involvement, and an eye to avoiding problems before they happen, you can keep your workplace as accident-free as possible.

Understanding Work-Related Hearing Loss

Understanding Work-Related Hearing Loss

Hearing is a gift most people accept without question. And because we take them for granted, we rarely realize how badly we abuse our eardrums. Until, that is, they no long work as well as they once did.

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), twenty-two million American workers are exposed to potentially damaging noise levels every year. In 2007, approximately 23,000 new cases of noise-related workplace injuries resulted in hearing impairment. Eighty-two percent of such cases were in the manufacturing industry, but excessive noise is a common complaint across multiple industries.

Traumatic noise accounts for only a small number of hearing injuries. More often, the damage is a gradual event, developing over extended contact with high decibel levels. The most damage occurs in the first decade of exposure, so new workers are especially vulnerable to hearing loss.

How Much is too Much?

NIOSH recommends limiting work-related noise exposure no more than eighty-five decibels for eight hours. The louder the noise, the less time your workers should be exposed to it. As a general rule, for every three decibels over eighty-five, half the amount of maximum exposure time. The US Occupational Health and Safety Administration guidelines are given below:

Decibel Level Maximum Exposure, in Hours
90 dB 8 hrs.
92 dB 6 hrs.
95 dB 4 hrs.
97 dB 3 hrs.
100 dB 2 hrs.
102 dB 1.5 hrs.
110 dB 0.5 hrs.
115 dB or more 0.25 hrs. or less.

Decibel Examples

Simply listing decibel levels doesn’t provide much frame of reference for most people. The following are real-life work examples:

  • Normal Conversation: 55 dB
  • Newspaper press: 95 dB
  • Hand drill: 98 dB
  • Textile loom: 103 dB
  • Pneumatic chipper (at a distance of three feet): 115 dB
  • Hand-held circular saw (at a distance of three feet): 115 dB
  • Sandblasting: 115 dB
  • Pneumatic riveter (at a distance of four feet): 125 dB
  • Jet engine (at 100’): 140 dB.

Physical pain produced by noise begins at levels of 125 dB. At levels in excess of 140 dB, even short-term exposure causes permanent hearing impairment.

Preventing Hearing Loss

As with most safety issues, prevention is by far the most effective means of dealing with excessive noise levels. Ideally, the threat can be neutralized through engineering or administrative changes. This often proves impractical, however, so some type of hearing protection is usually required.

Once a noise source is identified, it’s important to measure the decibel level. You’ll need this information to determine which ear protection product is most appropriate for the environment. In terms of the type of ear protection, you have three basic choices:

  • Earplugs may be premolded or made from moldable foam, and block the ear canal. Cheap and economical, ear plugs are available in both disposable and reusable styles.
  • Semi-Insert Earplugs are made of two plugs held over the end of the ears by a rigid headband.
  • Ear Muffs are made of sound dampening materials. The inner material is a soft cushion fitted around the ear, supported by hard outer shells, and held together by a headband. Note: radio headsets are not a substitute for ear muffs.

Employees must be educated in the proper and consistent use of hearing protection. Ill-fitting protection, or protection only worn part-time, will be of greatly reduced effectiveness.

All hearing protection is given a noise reduction rating (NRR) by the manufacturer. An item’s NRR is determined under controlled lab conditions. When choosing hearing protection for real world applications, NIOSH recommends subtracting the following rates from NRRs:

  • Ear Muffs: subtract 25 percent
  • Formable earplugs: subtract 50 percent
  • All other earplugs: subtract 70 percent.

Working with these reduced NRRs gives you a more conservative notion of the product’s ability to protect hearing, which takes into account variations in noise levels throughout the work day.