What to wear when working at height?

working at heightWorking at height is one of the most dangerous activities in construction, maintenance and facility management. Not only are workers exposed to the elements, but also to the risks of falling. The use of fall protection safety equipment and personal protective equipment (PPE) saves lives daily.

In this blog we will look at the PPE you should wear for safely working at height. From specific PPE for preventing falls to standard PPE for keeping employees safe. While equipment goes a long way, we always urge caution when working at height.

Collective protection
Collective fall protection always take priority over personal protection measures. Installing equipment such as guardrails, for example, will transform the entire roof into a safe zone were no fall protection PPE is needed. However, there are plenty of situations where guardrails cannot be installed and PPE will be the lifeline of a worker.

PPE for fall protection
The specific PPE that should be worn for working at height is determined via a risk assessment. Equipment ranges from fall restraint (preventing falls altogether) to fall arrest (stopping a fall when one occurs).

A restraint system consist of a full-body harness, a work positioning lanyard and a connector, which the user can connect to an anchor point. The length of a lanyard prevents a user from falling over the edge of the roof, and the safest way to prevent this, is to use a lanyard with a fixed length.

In the case of a fall arrest system the user also wears a full-body harness and has a connector to hook up to an anchor point, the lanyard however has an integrated energy absorber specially designed to minimize the impact of a fall on the human body. The length and strength of the materials are all determined by the situation.

Additional protection
Additionally to specific fall protection PPE, such as a harness and the correct lanyard, those who work at height should wear proper protective clothing, footwear and hard helmets. Some job sites also require the worker to wear protective gloves, hearing protection or safety glasses.

Protective clothing
Protective clothing should be comfortable to wear, compatible with other workwear, not limit movement, and not be too loose, as to prevent snagging. Ideally pockets should be able to be closed off completely to prevent items falling out. For working at height long pants, that leave no skin exposed, are required. Preferably in combination with knee pads.

The clothing should also help protect workers from environmental conditions. In the cases of extreme weather conditions more clothing may be required, such as a jacket with a large hood that can be worn over a helmet. On the other end of the spectrum, workers are just as likely to be exposed to sunlight. To protect workers from heat-related illnesses they should wear head protection and cover up skin. Please pay attention that no clothing hampers the fit of the harness!

Footwear to prevent slips
Proper footwear is very important in minimizing fall risks. Rooftops, or outside walkways, can get slippery for a number of reasons, for example dead leaves or rainfall. Even workers who need to work at height indoors can face slippery surfaces due to saw dust or oil spills. Footwear must have really good grip in order to prevent slips, but it should also be hard to protect feet from falling objects. Next to this, safety shoes should be comfortable and fit correctly to ensure full stability and prevent exhaustion.

Buying PPE
We’ve gone over some of the PPE used for working at height. As every situation differs, so does the equipment. There is no one-size fits all when it comes to working safely. Employees should determine what fall protection measures and PPE are needed for workers at height. They then need to provide their employees with the PPE and the instructions for use. It is the responsibility of the buyer, in this case the employer, to ensure that the PPE conforms to local legislation and OSHA standards.

Guest post by Danine Timmer for XSPlatforms in Chico California.

Breaking A Sunset Sweat? 3 Practical Safety Tips For Nighttime Workouts

high visibility sweatshirt

Nighttime workouts are growing in popularity. They’re amazing for you, your body is in the zone for exercise more than at the crack of dawn, and it’s a wonderful way to feel awesome and refreshed at the end of the day.

Just because it’s dark outside doesn’t mean you should hang up your workout gear and wait for the sun to rise. Of course, with your twilight exercise comes an increase in safety precautions. Toss on your high visibility sweatshirt and reflective fanny pack and hit the trail with these sound safety tips.

Stay seen
There are all sorts of types of safety clothing for you to pick from. In fact, there are so many high visibility clothing options in sports and workout wear, knowing where to start can be a struggle. But, it’s a necessary struggle. We know you’re not likely to be a danger to yourself whilst working out at night, but other people, vehicles, etc. should be able to see you without a problem.

Heightened awareness
Your surroundings are important. Especially when you can’t see them as well. Just because you’ve got your high visibility sweatshirt on doesn’t mean you should stay head down and hope everyone else is aware of you. Earplugs and earbuds can reduce extraneous noise by 15 to 30 decibels, which is useful when drowning out street sounds and/or listening to your carefully crafted workout playlist. At night, however, it’s important to keep your awareness heightened. With reduced light, those high visibility jackets need to team up with increased attention to hearing what’s going on around you. Skip the earbuds when you workout at night.

Practice makes perfect
It’s a workout. You’ve likely done thousands of them. At night, things are little different, though. You already know that injuries happen because of complacency and becoming overly comfortable with a repetitive process. Throw darkness in with complacency and that’s a recipe for disaster. Practice your nighttime routes during the day first and stay wary of how they may change from night to night. Test runs are great preemptive safety protocol for keeping your nighttime workout free of bumps.

Get out there and stay healthy. Evening exercise is wonderful and the dark shouldn’t stop you from getting your blood flowing. Prep for a safe excursion and stay on top of your surroundings. You’ll find yourself breaking a solid sweat and sleeping soundly, and safely, afterward.

How Kids’ Safety Practices Can Keep Adults Safer

reflective safety vestThere’s an interesting statistic that speaks to the importance of encouraging safety at an early age. In 2014, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that workers ages 65 and above experienced 94.2 injuries per 10,000 employees, which is fewer injuries than any other group.

This rings clear in a work environment, but it also speaks to the precaution and sensible approach to general existence that has allowed this group of people to live uninjured to an older age. Kids are little more prone to be overly sure of themselves and ignorant of dangers that rampantly permeate the world around us. We understand that your children aren’t going to be running forklifts and don’t need reflective safety vests or other safety workwear just yet, but there are some reasons that kids get injured more often than older folks. We’ve got some things to watch out for as your young ones grow into their awareness of personal safety and how being aware of these things is just as applicable to adults.

Start early
It’s safe to say that kids aren’t born with an acute sense of danger or spatial awareness. It’s something that’s learned, observed, and practiced from an early age. It’s a difficult thing to start, especially because young children will not see the inherent need to increase their awareness of the potential dangers of daily activities that seem so trivial. Once it becomes part of living, they won’t even notice that safety takes the forefront of their actions because it’s natural by then.

They’re hard to see
Kids are small, fast, and insatiably curious. Having reflective safety vests on them at all times is unrealistic, but increasing the visibility of their clothing is an easy way to ensure they’re more easily visible. Neon colors, high visibility sweatshirts, and reflective safety clothes are becoming increasingly popular in adolescent styles. Built for active wear and sports, children’s fashion is becoming much brighter. Small, fast, and all over the place, kids help you and themselves out by being easier to see (that is if you don’t hear them first).

Curiously oblivious wanderers
We encourage the curiosity of youth. However, the tendency of curiosity to turn a sharp corner into danger is all too real. Especially in age groups that are just finding their feet and exploratory power. Rational curiosity comes with exploring potential dangers wisely and honestly. The strategy of forbidding activities does more to encourage unsafe exploration than does inquiry.

While you’re thinking about the oldest people in your company sustaining the fewest injuries, remember that practice begins with children and progresses to the youngest people you work with. Beyond strapping on the hardhats and reflective safety vests, enter the mindset of teaching children the fundamentals of safety and awareness of surroundings and you’ll find valuable lessons that can be pulled directly into the job site.

3 Reasons Construction Workers Need High Visibility Clothing

safety clothing companiesHigh visibility clothing is essential in countless industries, and for good reason. Without safety clothing companies providing these important garments, workers can be injured or even killed on the job. In fact, 4,836 workers were killed on the job in 2015 alone. That’s an average of 13 deaths every day. Aside from worker injuries and deaths, let’s take a look at exactly why high visibility clothing is so vital, especially in the construction industry.

Industry Standards
OSHA and the FHA have a specific standard for high visibility apparel: the American National Standard for High Visibility Safety Apparel and Headwear. This standard establishes three types of safety clothing, which are Type O (off-road), Type R (roadway), and Type P (public safety). In addition, OSHA and FHA standards dictate three different performance classes:

  • Class 1 – Offers minimum amount of high visibility material, solely to differentiate workers from off-road environment.
  • Class 2 – Garment allows for better definition of human form, minimum level of protection for roadway workers.
  • Class 3 – Highest level of visibility and definition, garment must be long-sleeved to qualify as this class.

Any company providing high visibility clothing to employees must abide by these standards to keep their workers as safe as possible.

Accident Reduction
When construction employees are working in high traffic areas, visibility is crucial. Whether it’s construction vehicle traffic or pedestrian traffic, any lack of visibility could mean a serious accident. Keeping in line with OSHA and FHA standards, workers must wear the appropriate class of high visibility clothing to ensure maximum visibility and safety.

Weather Protection
Weather conditions can seriously diminish visibility, whether it’s day or night. High visibility clothing is great for construction workers on outdoor work sites because drivers can see them whether there is snow, rain, fog, or other low-visibility weather.

Choosing the right gear for your construction site can literally save lives. People die on work sites every day, and protecting these employees is every construction company’s responsibility. For all of your questions about safety clothing companies, contact Transportation Safety Apparel today.