The weather forecast is bringing dark days with heavy rain. You’re managing a project with a great team, and you must have hi-vis rain gear available for them. Annually, one in five employee deaths is in construction, often as a result of lack of visibility. And while regulations have tightened, workers must wear hi-vis equipment during bad weather.
In this article, we’ll talk about the importance of hi-vis rain gear in winter conditions and much more.
What is High-Visibility Clothing?
First, high-visibility clothes are an article of safety clothing made from retro-reflective materials. The purpose is that the individual is visible in reduced daylight or the dark when illuminated using a car’s headlights. High visibility rain jacket equipment has a high contrast to the background so you can quickly observe the wearer.
Hi-Vis Clothing Standards Today
Many workers know about Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at the workplace, from safety glasses to gloves. Yet not everyone knows about the US Federal regulations for high-visibility attire. In 2008, the US government passed the initial hi-vis regulation. This developed into the High Visibility Safety Apparel and Accessories (ANSI/ISEA 107-2015) law. These regulations establish standards and guidelines for selecting high visibility safety clothing. Hi-vis shirts, vests, jackets, pants, headwear, and outerwear all fall under this.
The ANSI/ISEA 107-2015 ensures:
- Clothing design is functional, durable, and comfortable
- High-visibility clothes suits requirements for background and combined-performance retro-reflective materials
- There’s appropriate labeling for types and classes of safety clothes
- Clothing meets photometric and physical performance requirements for high-visibility clothing
What Does This Mean for Employers?
As an employer, high-visibility clothes have to have ANSI-compliant fluorescent substance. They must also have specific amounts of retro-reflective material to fulfill ANSI regulations.
Importance of Colors
Garments must be attention-grabbing, such as fluorescent yellow-green, red, and orange-red. The garments must also have strips of reflective material in silver therefore workers are easier to spot in construction zones. Note that the location and configuration of the reflective materials tell people which way the wearer is facing, thanks to the hi-vis’s 360-degree visibility.
Brightness and Reflectivity
This is based on the time of day. For example, daylight areas use bright colors (e.g. fluorescent green) over dull colors. Dark areas utilize phosphorescence, retro-reflective material, and bright colors.
High-visibility vests need to be lightweight so workers can easily move. They’re usually made from the net or net-like mesh material, as it doesn’t weigh the wearer down and dries quickly.
Note that regulations require the clothes to have a balanced design. This means when you lay a vest flat, you can view 40% of the minimum quantity of reflective material on both sides. This is so you can see workers from both front and back.
Must Be Well-Fitted
Irrespective of the garment, they need to be well-fitted. Otherwise, the most improper match could result in an injury. So make sure the hi-vis clothes fit over bulky clothing and assess no other clothing is blocking the high-visibility clothes.
The Different Types of High-Visibility Vests
High-visibility safety vests fall into three various classes:
- Type O
This is a class one kind of vest, which means it’s in a low-impact area where traffic can’t exceed 25 mph. Employees who use Type O flashlights are those operating in an off-road field but might develop into contact with moving vehicles or equipment. You would wear Type O safety clothes if you’re a parking helper, warehouse employee, or a delivery driver.
- Type R
Type R drops to Class Two and Class Three forms of the garment, making Type R cover the vast majority of high-visibility garments. You will notice they have more fluorescent desktop and retro-reflective stripes. Employees wearing this type of clothing come in contact with significant traffic and work in a place of low visibility. Including roadway construction workers.
- Type P
This high-visibility class falls into Class Two and Class Three types of garments. Similar to Form R, these workers work in areas with heavy traffic and very low visibility. People who use this are emergency employees and law enforcement employees like police, fire, and emergency medical services staff.
As you are delegating high-visibility clothes, remember the higher the Class, the more background and retroreflective material is necessary.
What to Wear in the Rain
Rainy weather is chaotic for both workers and pedestrians, so your workers must stand out to stop accidents. Dreary weather also makes it difficult for coworkers to see yet another, making it an unsafe environment. Because rain reduces visibility, invest in ANSI Class rain jackets, long raincoats, and hi-vis pants. The most effective are in yellow, lime, or orange, with silver reflective striping to ensure your crew is safe. Further, routine rain equipment can be thick and make your workers uncomfortable working in the rain. But investing in high-visibility rain equipment ensures your team remains dry and keeps working efficiently.
Always Play It Safe
When it’s in the rain or a sunny day on the road, safety is a priority. Make sure all precautions have been taken to ensure your employees are wearing the right class of high visibility garments to avoid any injuries.
And That’s Why Hi-Vis Rain Gear Is Essential
The only way to protect your workers in a downpour is by investing in hi-vis rain gear. Ensure they are outfitted with Hi-vis raincoats and pants so they’re coated head to toe and visible. If you’re unsure what type the high visibility clothes needs to be, double-check with the three classes. Type O is the least extreme, whereas Type P is when employees are less visible and may be more at risk.