Reflecting on Safety
Safety is something all too often taken for granted as a given. Like many things in life, it is not guaranteed; therefore, precautionary measures must be taken in order to maintain safety and decrease occupational hazards where possible. Rather than ruminating and reflecting on safety, why not take a proactive approach?
Being visible is perhaps one of the first and easiest steps to take towards being safe, on and off the job. Something as simple and inexpensive as a reflective safety vest can really make a difference in helping you stand out in a variety of work-related situations. Whether you work a day or night shift for a job that requires you to spend some, most, or all of your time outside, such a vest will be highly effective in reflecting natural or artificial lights. These vests have strips of reflective material, and are brightly colored. Both aspects of the vest make for something easily seen no matter the time of day.
Working on a highway, construction or excavation site, and a number of other environments where one is surrounded by fast and/or large vehicles and equipment can be relatively risky. These situations call for an extra degree of alertness for both those on foot and those operating the vehicles. On top of both parties needing the proverbial set of eyes on the back of their heads, it’s mutually beneficial for anyone not in a vehicle to wear a reflective safety vest. A symbiotic relationship of safety can be fostered this way, as those not walking around will be able to see and avoid endangering their pedestrian coworkers.
Remember to be mindful of your own work environment when selecting an appropriate vest. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) designed a class system to delineate which vests are best suited for specific circumstances. For instance, a Class 2 reflective safety vest is the standard for those working near vehicles moving 25 miles per hour or higher, or in inclement weather. These vests also take on a variety of forms within each class, to further suit specific requirements. For example, someone directing traffic in a warmer climate and someone working construction in a cold, snowy area will have two vastly different requirements. No matter your need, be prepared rather than reflective when it comes to work safety.