Outdoor construction work, whether on a building or on the road or off-road, can be a hazardous occupation, with risks of falling, getting hit by falling objects, or struck by cars, motorcycles, or construction vehicles. Serious injury such as broken bones or concussions could occur, so to cut down on this danger, such crews wear high visibility clothing, which is a nuanced and detailed industry. Cargo work pants with reflective tape are just one example, along with a custom reflective vest, high vis pants, safety shirts, and more. With the right gear and awareness of his surroundings, a worker can avoid injury and be highly visible to nearby motorists.
The Stats of Work Safety
Working outdoors on construction and repair can carry certain safety risks, often with different risks to various age groups. After all, construction crew members are active and move about, walking an average 30,000 steps per day, as opposed to the general average of 10,000. The bad news is that fatalities on the work site do happen: in 2015, for example, a total of 4,836 workers were killed on the job, whether construction or other occupations, and that means 13 deaths per day. And in 2014, 16 to 19-year-olds missed an average of four work days due to work injuries. Older workers are at the lowest risk, with 94.2 injuries per 10,000 full time employees in that same year. All the same, any worker can and should maximize safety, and that means proper visibility clothing. Cargo work pants with reflective tape are a start, and can be convenient for any worker to wear. High visibility sweatshirts in cold weather are an option, not to mention the common orange safety vest. In what varieties can these safety clothing items appear?
Safety Clothing Options
According to Workzone Safety, there are several main classes of safety clothes: Performance Classes 1, 2, and 3, Performance Class E Apparel, and Public Safety Apparel. In general, any item of safety apparel has three main components: the colorful background material visible to the naked eye, retroflective material to reflect light back on a source (such as on cargo work pants with reflective tape), and combined performance material, which combines aspects of both retroflective material and background material. This sort of material is used mainly to maximize how much background material there is.
Performance Class 1 garments are generally not used at construction sites, since they do not differentiate the workers from their backgrounds well enough. They use the three classes of materials listed above, but only a limited amount of each.
Performance class 2 materials, meanwhile, have the minimum safety profile needed for use at construction sites or on highways, and they have more reflective material than class 1 garments. These garments can be used in conditions such as daylight, working off of a roadway, on lower speed roadways, and others of low risk. Workers with these garments often carry out duties such as toll collection, mowing, inspections, volunteer work, and road signage installation.
Performance class 3 garments can do even more to keep a worker safe. They offer maximum visibility through their background materials and amount of reflective material on them, and this visibility is maintained no matter what kind of body movements the wearer undertakes. Such garments are worn in conditions such as nighttime, when there are no protective barriers, most urban areas, high speed traffic roads, complex construction sites, and anywhere prone to crashes. Emergency crews dispatched at night, flagging operators, and incident and emergency response crews working at night often use class 3 garments.
Performance class E apparel covers the torso, as well as the arms and legs, with a lot of reflective surfaces. Cargo work pants with reflective tape, for example, may be included in such an ensemble. By contrast, public safety apparel is any uniform or article of safety clothing worn by workers such as EMS crews, firefighters, and police officers. These uniforms may feature shoulders that tear away if the worker gets stuck, or access to any needed belt-mounted equipment, as well as pockets, panels, and places to attach reflective surfaces to customize the wearer’s protective status during day or night.