ANSI For All: A Definitive Guide to Safety Gear

ANSI For All: A Definitive Guide to Safety Gear

The American Standard for High-Visibility Safety Apparel and Headwear is a standard that is enforced to keep Americans safe. The standard aims to curb workplace accidents, and ensure that the job gets done. In this infographic, we take a look at the standard, what it consists of, and why it is so important.

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How to Choose the Right Safety Gear & Get Employees to Use it

Identifying workplace hazards and providing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) is the responsibility of employers, and can be a daunting task. Getting employees to use proper safety gear properly and consistently can be equally challenging. Fortunately the US Occupational Health and Safety Administration offers clear guidelines for selecting PPE and ensuring employee compliance.

PPE: A Mutual Responsibility

As an employer, you have certain responsibilities to employees performing tasks requiring safety gear. At the same time, your employees have a responsibility to use such gear. According to OSHA, employers have an obligation to do the following:

  • Perform a workplace hazard assessment.
  • Identify and provide appropriate PPE for tasks requiring safety gear.
  • Train employees in the use and care of PPE.
  • Maintain PPE, replacing worn or damaged gear as needed.
  • Periodically review and update the workplace PPE program.

On the other side of the equation, it is your employees’ responsibility to:

  • Wear PPE in a proper and consistent manner.
  • Attend safety equipment training sessions.
  • Care for, clean, and maintain PPE.
  • Report damaged or worn gear to supervisors.

Hazard Assessment Guidelines

Hazard assessment is a complex project heavily dependent on your industry and your workplace’s individual characteristics. Some businesses may benefit from contracting professional hazard assessment services to ensure their employees are properly protected.

The process begins with a work environment walkthrough to identify all potential threats and physical hazards. Be vigilant, and identify areas where the following injuries are possible:

  • Biologic threats.
  • Chemical hazards
  • Compression (roll-over injuries)
  • Harmful dust exposure
  • Heat / cold
  • Impact injuries
  • Light radiation
  • Penetration / puncture injuries.

During the walkthrough, consider electrical sources, movable machinery or processes, sources of high heat or extreme cold, the potential for physical falls or dropped objects, and sharp objects that can puncture, stab, or slice.

Selecting Safety Gear

Using a completed hazard assessment as a foundation, employers must then identify appropriate types of PPE and adequate levels of protection. As a very general rule, it’s recommended you select PPE that over-performs, providing protection in excess of the minimum required to safeguard employees from workplace threats.

Choose PPE certified to meet OSHA and ANSI (American National Standards Institute) standards. Follow these standards to the letter. Manufacturers should be able to help you select the right protective clothing for your individual needs. If in doubt, ask. This is especially true when choosing chemical protection, as the type of material used must be matched with the specific nature and action of the chemicals in question.

Whether or not an employer needs to merely provide PPE, or provide PPE free of charge, depends on the nature of the hazard. OSHA standards will make it clear which situation applies to you.

Training Employees

As an employer, you are responsible for training your employees in the proper use of protective gear. At a minimum, you must train your employees sufficiently to understand the following:

  • When PPE is required.
  • What PPE is necessary to complete the task at hand.
  • How to put on, wear adjust, and remove safety gear.
  • The limits of PPE effectiveness.
  • Proper care and maintenance for PPE.
  • PPE’s lifespan and proper disposal.

Before being allowed to work in hazardous environments, each employee must demonstrate an understanding of and proficiency with all required safety gear. Document training for each worker, including the employee’s name, the date of training, and a clear description of the training received.

Retraining and review of proper safety gear use may be necessary if the employee fails to comply with PPE use, or demonstrates a lack of understanding of the use and need for protective gear. Changes to available PPE or the work floor may also require retraining.

Maintaining Compliance

Compliance with protective gear can be an issue. Selecting proper fitting, comfortable gear for each employee goes a long way towards ensuring compliance, as does a robust culture of workplace safety.

Bright colored safety gear encourages compliance, as supervisors can quickly determine who is and who is not wearing PPE. And while it may seem like a small consideration, employees are more likely to wear protective gear that looks good—one reason TSA Safety provides a wide range of stylish protective clothing.

Traffic Safety for Workers

Traffic Safety for Workers

According to the US Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration, 87,606 vehicle crashes occurred in work zones in 2010. Of these crashes, 30 percent caused injury, and 0.6 percent were fatal.

If the number of fatalities due to work-related vehicle accidents is low, it’s due to stringent traffic safety requirements in the workplace. With adequate planning, proper safety gear, and high-visibility clothing, it’s possible to minimize your risk of on-site traffic crashes.

Traffic Control Plans

Worksites require traffic control plans so all workers—on foot, driving, or operating heavy machinery—understand established traffic patterns and the location of traffic lanes. The traffic control zone’s characteristics depend on the overseeing authority, whether federal, state-level, or local, but in general, certain safeguards are required:

  • Traffic lanes in the workplace must be wide enough to accommodate the widest piece of driven equipment and cargo.
  • Personnel safety zones must be provided on each side of the traffic lane.
  • Standard highway signs (yield, stop, etc.) make understanding of control routes easier for on-foot workers, drivers, and heavy equipment operators. This holds as true for internal worksites as for on-road work zones.
  • When hauling equipment, drivers should be able to deliver cargo without crossing traffic lanes, and be able to align cargo directly under cranes (when applicable).
  • All drivers, operators, and on-foot workers should know the location of traffic blind spots.
  • Should on-foot workers need to access traffic lanes, proper planning and precautions are essential.

High Visibility Clothing

On-foot workers working in close proximity to traffic lanes or heavy equipment must wear appropriate safety gear. Depending on the work environment this means the use of Class I, III, or III ANSI-approved high visibility clothing.

Class I clothing is intended for workers who can perform tasks while maintaining their awareness of approaching traffic in locations where the worker is separated from traffic and vehicles travel at speeds below 25 mph. Class I hi-vis safety gear is appropriate for warehouse workers, shopping cart retrievers, delivery truck drivers, and similar occupations.

Class II high visibility clothing offers increased visibility for employees working in inclement weather, in conditions where traffic travels at 25 mph or more, and where completion of assigned tasks may distract workers from oncoming traffic. Class II is required for roadway construction, utility workers, surveyors, and emergency responders.

Class III hi-vis safety gear provides the maximum visibility for workers in imminent danger from traffic, and required in any circumstance where the wear must be visible from at least 1,280 feet. Class III clothing may be used for the same type of jobs as Class II gear, and for flaggers.

Flaggers

One of the most dangerous jobs when dealing with oncoming traffic, flaggers must be trained in the signaling methods demanded by the worksite’s overseeing authority. As noted above, Class III high visibility safety gear is required for flaggers, and oncoming drivers should be alerted to the presence of flaggers in advance.

Lighting

Proper lighting greatly reduces the risk of traffic-related accidents on worksites. This is especially true at night. Flaggers and flagging stations must be adequately illuminated, as should workers on foot and equipment operators. In cases of insufficient lighting, flares, chemical lights, and similar safety gear must be used.

Workplace traffic safety is, ultimately, a matter of careful planning, training, and worker compliance. With adequate preparation, you can minimize your risk of on-site crashes.