Personal protective equipment (PPE) is required whenever someone works in a work zone. Much of the PPE employees will need to wear will be consistent with other industries, such as hard hats, boots, gloves, and so forth. One article of protective gear is known as reflective clothing. The purpose of donning reflective clothing is to make the wearer visible to drivers and other workers.
The Federal Highway Association reports that there are nearly 774 people killed in work zone crashes every year. Many factors contribute to this number, one of them is that drivers can't see workers due to poor visibility. Visibility can be hindered by late hours, bad weather, malfunctioning or misplaced lighting, and numerous other factors. These facts make it all the more important to wear protective gear that makes you visible.
You must wear reflective vests correctly for them to be effective. Fluorescent vests can be less effective if they are worn incorrectly, damaged, or dirty. Fluorescent vests also come in multiple colors to contrast with the environment. Don't wear fluorescent vests that look similar to the environment, this makes you harder to see. Take care of your protective equipment because just one of these factors can bring you closer to an accident.
Never stand in a shadow or an area of the road that is difficult for drivers to see. It is crucial for workers to be easily noticeable, especially flaggers and traffic controllers. These signs and flags make it easier to see but do not substitute reflective clothing. Even with your best efforts, a driver may not see you in time to come to a complete stop. Always have an escape plan to get out of the road and away from oncoming traffic.
Go to the Hard Hat Training website to learn more about work zone safety. There you can find online programs, kits, and other resources you may need for your business. Good luck and stay safe!