The Importance of Hi-Vis Apparel and When to Replace
Published by RitzSafety on
Jul 19, 2021 1:25:49 PM
If you're not seen - you're at risk... yes, any jobsite, any place, anywhere. So, what is "Hi-Vis"?
High-visibility apparel (hi-vis) is clothing such as pants, jackets, vests, coveralls etc. that workers can wear to improve their visibility and how well others see them in their work environments. Hi-visibility clothing is critical for workers in environments that have moving vehicles or equipment, especially in low-light environments or nighttime. Hi-visibility has color properties that are easily discernible from any background and is highly reflective. Fluorescent yellow-green, orange and red (which is less common in the U.S.) are all approved hi-vis colors because the human eye responds the most quickly when it sees them. Unlike other colors that are on the visible spectrum - they are not subject to the "graying" effect that impacts other colors in low light situations or environments.
The reflective properties come from reflective stripes that are on the garments - sort of like headlights. To be certified and usable, the garment must meet ANSI standards on the widths and amounts of compliant retroflective material to help enhance visibility in low-light environments. All compliant hi-vis apparel is required to be balanced in design, meaning no less than 40% of the minimum required amount of reflective and background material has to be present on the front and back of the garment, when laid flat. This ensures the workers safety, by making them visible from both the front and the back.
Do all workers need hi-vis clothing?
Many workers are required to wear hi-visibility clothing on the jobsite, especially those that need to reduce the risk of on-the-job incidents. The federal Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices 2009 (MUTCD 2009) is enforced and translated on a state-by-state basis. However, OSHA interpreted this mandate to say that employees working on roadway and highway maintenance or construction work zones must wear hi-visibility garments - flaggers and workers are exposed to both public vehicle traffic and/or construction equipment. This mandate includes all workers - construction, maintenance, emergency/incident responders, utility, and volunteers operating on or near any public roadways.
Other industries such as general construction, airport workers, warehouse workers, linesmen, highway mainteance jobs, as well as a number of other industries, may choose to require their employees to wear hi-visibility workwear to ensure safety on the job. In most cases, there is always a risk for moving equipment or risk of injury in a "dark" job site - so high-visibility clothing is most definitely a smart idea to prevent accidents in many applications.
This Type R, Class 2, self-extinguishing safety vest is constructed of hi-vis lime, polyester mesh fabric. It features two-inch reflective tape, hook & loop closure, and several pockets. More info here
This hi-vis COR-BRITE® t-shirts make sure you are safe and seen. Features short sleeves sleeves and a hi-vis lime, polyester, birds eye mesh fabric with 2-inch reflective tape and chest pocket. More info here
This glove features a 13-guage, hi-vis HPPE/Glass fiber shell with a hi-vis yellow polyurethane (PU) palm coating for added gripping power. Abrasion resistant, incredible dexterity, excellent grip in all conditions and barehand-like sensitivity - an all around economical glove. More info here
Though you may dig the more shredded, dirty, and beaten apparel - it more than likely means it's time for a new one. You are doing yourself and your crew a disservice if you let your hi-vis apparel get damaged or dirty - and still wear it. The service life of your hi-vis apparel doesn't last 100 years... so recognize your gear's service life, whether you are wearing it in the sun, or its exposed to a lot of dirt and debris, or heat. When it is time to retire your hi-vis, make sure you cut the apparel in half so that it can no longer be worn by anyone.
Why replace hi-vis clothing?
If you are not seen, you are not safe. Even though your dirty, rugged vest shows that you are a pro - a clean, brand new one shows it even more.
There are MANY other items that you can use to protect your employees from these dangers. Not sure what you need? Contact us today and we will help - firstname.lastname@example.org