These short pieces of information are written by our knowledgeable and experienced subject-matter experts who stay current with the latest regulatory changes, ANSI standards, and industry best practices. The tips are intended to offer you additional insight into particular aspects of establishing and maintaining an effective personal protective equipment program so you can help your workers go home safe at the end of the day.
CERTIFIED HI-VIS VESTS
Certified high-visibility vests are required to adhere to garment design requirements established by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) under ANSI/ISEA 107‑2015. Certified vests are categorized by type and performance class. The three certified types of vests are Type O, R, and P. Type O is for off-roadway work, Type R is for roadway work, and Type P is used for public safety workers. Certified performance classes are based on the amount of visible retroreflective materials and design attributes incorporated into the final configuration.
Safety T-shirts provide workers with a versatile way to stay visible and cool in the workplace. They can be designed with light, breathable, and wicking fabric. Having no buttons or collar—workers will find them comfortable to wear. Certified t-shirts make sure that workers can be seen sooner and more readily. Non-certified t-shirts are a great way to make your workers stand out when high visibility isn’t required.
There are many different types of safety clothing and apparel available for workers. Sweatshirts are cost effective, convenient, and functional. They can be worn outside to reduce sun exposure, stay warm, or protect workers from contact hazards. Sweatshirts can also provide a layer of cushion between workers’ bodies and personal fall arrest systems and devices.
COLD WEATHER VISIBILITY
High-visibility apparel is essential to ensure that workers can be seen; this is especially true in inclement weather situations like snow. Whether there are blinding conditions from light reflecting off a blanket of snow, poor visibility from overcast skies, or a blizzard, you want people, other employees, and drivers to see your workers quickly. When workers wear high-visibility clothing, their chances of being injured or killed can be reduced. High-visibility apparel can help make sure your workers don’t become a hidden hazard, can be adequately seen, and can be quickly identified or avoided when it matters the most.
It's difficult to monitor employee compliance with safety rules when the worker is always on the move. Fore example, how confident are you that your powered industrial truck operators always use their seat belt? Short of bringing operations to a schreeching halt to conduct an inspection, you're left trying to take a close look whenever you're lucky enough to get near a vehicle.
Not using a seat belt is more than an OSHA violation - it's a practice that puts the operator at risk for life=threatening injuries. However, it's fairly easy for drivers who make frequent stops to foreget to belt in every time they get back on teh truck. Having a high-visiblity cover on the belt provides a couple of benefits: the operator can't help but notice the seat belt, so they are more likely to remember to wear it, and being able to easily see the belt in action helps you enforce your rules.
Protective gloves should be inspected before each use to ensure they are not torn or otherwise damanaged. A visual inspection will help detect cuts, tears, or burns. Discoloration and stiffness may also indicate the gloves are damaged. Damaged gloves should not be used.
Crushing, pinching, cut and puncture hazards make up most of the serious hand injuries sustained by workers. Impact-reducing gloves cushion impact and protect against protruding corners, edges, exposed beams and vulnerable pipes.
WEARING A HARD HAT CORRECTLY
Wearing a hard hat incorrectly can lead to serious injuries. Workers should not wear their hat with the brim on the back of their head, because it won't absorb the shock if they are hit by high voltage. The suspension is very important. If there are signs of a faulty suspension, it should be replaced immediately. Likewise, if the shell is cracked or fading, it's also time to buy a new one. It is recommended to replace hard hats at least once every year.
UVA rays account for about 95% of the sun's rays that aren't filtered out by the earth's atmosphere, and UVB rays account for less than 5% of unfiltered rays. Besides causing damage to skin, these UV rays can also damage workers' eyes as well as cause eye cancers and eye diseases. UV-blocking safety glasses can prevent these injuries by reducing and blocking out harmful UV rays.
NOISE REDUCTION RATINGS
The Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) refers to a laboratory-derived numerical estimate of the noise reduction that a hearing protector offers. In most cases, this number overstates the protection actually afforded to workers due to fit, wear, and other issues. To ensure workers are not exposed to dangerous noise levels, employers need to apply a “safety factor,” which is typically a 7 dB subtraction. For example, if the hearing protector has an NRR of 25 and the employee is exposed at 100 dBA, then the protector attenuates the employee’s exposure to a value of 82 decibels: 100 - (25-7) = 82. Note: OSHA recommends employers apply an additional 50 percent safety factor, by cutting the NRR in half prior to subtracting 7 dB.