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Selecting High Visibility Clothing

- September 21, 2017 by Leslie Stoll, CSP, ARM (View all posts by Leslie)

Employees struck by vehicles or equipment while working can lead to long-term injuries that can cost your company thousands of dollars in lost time and increased insurance costs. On large construction projects, its standard practice to have employees wear high visibility clothing. However, other employers can benefit from high visibility clothing as well. Below are some things to consider when deciding if high visibility clothing should be required for your employees.

Are Your Employees Facing Any Struck By Hazards?

High viability clothing is not just for construction sites and employees working on the road like a tow truck drivers. At ICW Group, we’re seeing high visibility clothing on more and more of our insured all the time. Some employees that should consider the upgrade to high visibility clothing include:

    • Truck drivers that go into factories with forklift traffic, exit their vehicles on a construction site or exiting their vehicles busy truck terminal or docks
    • Dock workers or spotters
    • Grocery store employees gathering shopping carts
    • Day care workers or assisted living care takers who take their clients for a walk.
    • Supervisors or office staff that rarely walk onto the factory floor
    • Fast food employees cleaning around building or taking food to drive through customer.
    • Car dealer porters moving vehicles in lot

Since OSHA has the general duty clause to base fines on when there is no specific standard and requires employers to conduct a personal protective equipment assessment, it is possible that if a struck by injury occurred, a citation could be issued for lack of proper high visibility gear. Personally, it would be hard for an employer to convince me that s/he didn’t recognize that his grocery cart collector could be struck by a vehicle.

Once you made the decision to require high visibility clothing, here are some things to consider before making a purchase:

      • Don’t create a new hazard with your new gear. A vest or shirt with lose sleeve that can get caught in a machine. Recent changes to the ANSI standards now allow for smaller vests to be manufactured and sold for smaller employees.
      • Stock up and keep extras on hand to replace dirty vests as needed.
      • Many construction sites require gear to meet various aspects of the ANSI 107 standard requirements.  If the workplace your employees will be at has a rule about meeting ANSI standards, then that yellow T-shirt given out as a safety bonus is not going to suffice.

 ANSI 107 Standard Requirements

The ANSI 107  Standard provides practical instruction regarding both reflective material and garment design to enhance worker visibility. ANSI 107 presents three performance classes of garments and identifies garment types based on expected use settings and work activities being performed:

        • Type O (class 1) = Off Road (work in parking lots, work inside a building with warehouse traffic, work away from a road on a construction site
        • Type R (class 2 and 3) = Roadway (road construction, crossing guards, tow truck operators)
        • Type P (class 2 and 3) = Public Safety (police, emergency response)

Remember, when evaluating gear, consider if there are special concerns that need to be addressed like cold weather, wet weather, non-flammable or gear that provides for ease of movement. Do you require high visibility clothing for any of your employees or for any tasks that might surprise us? Let us know so we can learn from your efforts by leaving a note below.