A construction site is a workplace full of hazards. In fact, according to the 2008 survey of work-related injuries by ILO (International Labour Organization), the construction industry has the highest rate at 24.5 per 1000 workers. It’s no wonder safety is prioritized in this industry.
One way of ensuring safety is by wearing the correct PPE or Personal Protective Equipment which includes safety vests and other highly-visible safety apparels.
Why is visibility important in a construction site? Just like a biker or a traffic enforcer needs to wear reflective clothes to make them visible to motorists, construction workers need to be visible to each other in order to avoid accidents such as a crane dumping its load over someone’s head, or a truck running over a pedestrian worker.
Protective Clothing Standards
The United States’ ANSI (American National Standards Institute) came up with standard classifications that specify what types of vests should be worn where. In Canada, the CSA (Canadian Standards Association) established their own guidelines regarding safety vests. It can be found on the CSA Z96-09 standard entitled “Highly-Visible Safety Apparel. CSA Z96.1 specifies how to select the correct protective clothing according to use and the proper maintenance of these safety apparels.
Choosing the Right Protective Clothing
What should you consider when selecting the proper safety vests?
Aim for the Right Fit
It’s important to get the right sized vests that will fit your frame. Although most of the safety vests may come in one size, these may be adjusted to fit more securely to your body. Make sure that no extra hanging straps or other attachments are left unsecured and dangling as this could become entangled with machinery or ensnared with other materials in the construction site.
Choose the Appropriate Material
Daytime safety wear differs from night time wear in the materials used. Fluorescent materials are used mainly for the day time as it offers the best visibility. Reflective materials, on the other hand, are best used in the night time or low light conditions as it bounces back light off its surface to make the wearer visible to oncoming motorists or other workers.
Make sure that the design of the safety vests is compliant with the CSA standards. Criteria includes a distinctive “X”pattern on the back, front vertical stripes from shoulder to waist, and a horizontal stripe on the waist. Variations on the design are dependent on the class of safety apparel. The colours should be compliant to the CSA standards which are yellow-green, orange-red, red, and orange.
Don’t take chances with your workers lives. Make sure their PPEs including their safety vests comply with government standards and are made of high quality materials. Your workers deserve the best safety gears you can provide.
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