From hi vis cargo pants to hi vis coats and jackets, high visibility clothing is hugely important for anyone working in a dangerous work environment. The most traditional use to a hi vis jacket is on a construction site, particularly for a road construction crew. On average there are 13 deaths each day that occur on the job. In fact, a total of 4,836 people died in 2015 from work-related accidents. High visibility clothing helps reduce that number drastically. That being said, there are other places to wear hi vis gear that could potentially save your life.
Here are some things you probably didn’t know about safety clothing.
- Size is important.
If your high vis vest is the wrong size for your body it can actually make your work environment more dangerous. Whether it is too big or too long, the reflective panels are designed to outline your human form. Doing this means that when you’re spotted an oncoming driver knows that you are a person and moves accordingly. If the vest sags or droops strangely it may not be clear what is causing the reflection, thus defeating the purpose. When on a construction site, any loose material can grab or get snagged in machinery, creating a dangerous work environment. Make sure to get hi vis clothing that fits you, not just whatever is lying around.
- Light is part of the equation.
A lot of people don’t realize that hi vis reflectors only work if there is light shining on them. Obviously, if you’re working on a road crew that light will come from oncoming headlights. But if you’re in a different environment, being aware of how the reflective material works and what kind you need for the situation can make all the difference.
- You don’t need them just for work.
Any time you are out and about, running or dog walking, generally doing an activity that takes place on or near a road, you will want to wear some form of high visibility clothing. Hi vis jackets are a great way to stay safe on the road regardless of the reason you’re there.
Sometimes its difficult to disconnect yourself from work, and maybe wearing your hi vis jacket might feel too much like bring your work home with you. However, don’t let that stop you from taking action to protect yourself whenever necessary. Wearing high visibility clothing while you’re jogging in the early morning can save your life.
We talk quite a bit about keeping ourselves safe on the job. Paying attention to external dangers is an obvious part of keeping yourself out of harm’s way. Sometimes popping on your safety uniform isn’t as protective as you might think, so we’re here to talk to the folks operating the dangerous equipment and how they can remain vigilant enough to keep the safety of surrounding coworkers in mind.
Safety uniforms and workwear actively keep employees safe, though in staying protected from instances of equipment being operated by other people, the most attentive personal precautions can falter. It’s a two-way street and calls for close attention on both ends. How can someone operating dangerous equipment maintain attention enough to ensure their own safety and the safety of those around them?
Treat it like new
Complacency is a common cause of injury, most often found in the one-third of employees who are injured within their first year and are forced to take recovery leave. We don’t hear much about experienced workers falling victim of similar complacency, but it’s important to note. Perhaps the machine you use daily is old news to you. Treat it like new, exercise the same caution you did on day one and you’ll automatically slow the process down for those within your equipment’s danger radius.
Head on a swivel
As a kid we were told explicitly when about to cross the street to look both ways, then look both ways again. The same applies here. So you looked and didn’t see anyone within the operational danger zone. Look again. People quite literally come out of nowhere and it’s better to holler at someone to move than frantically wondering where they came from while they’re getting patched up in the emergency room.
Slow it down
Jobs hastily done are rarely done their best. Haste also increases the likelihood of avoidable accidents and injuries. This is especially true of operators of dangerous machinery. There’s a lot of mistakes in rushed work that many types of safety clothing can’t protect from and it’s the operators’ responsibility to see to the safety of the people around them. Quality and safety shouldn’t be rushed.
All in all, worksite safety remains a two-way street of attentiveness paid by workers around danger and those operating dangerous equipment. At the end of the day, these tips will keep every party safe all the way to happy hour.