When Do I Need to Wear High Visibility Safety Apparel?
The OSHA safety standard recommends all job sites need to carry out a risk and hazard assessment in order to evaluate the work site to look for known or potential hazards that their employees or those around the work site may encounter while performing a job or task.
This assessment can go a long way in helping to determine the risk to workers in terms of being hit by equipment, machines, automotive traffic, and other employees working in the area. This assessment is often what regulates the need for safety apparel like high visibility gloves, shirts, vests, and pants.
When doing a hazard assessment to see if safety apparel is needed, you must be sure to consider:
- The type of work being carried out at the worksite and the potential it has for injury — large equipment amplifies injury risk as does proximity to traffic
- Whether workers are routinely exposed to flames, electrical equipment, heavy machinery, moving vehicles, and other risks.
- Work conditions that make the required tasks more difficult or more hazardous
- The workplace environment the workers are in — simple, complex, filled with equipment, cluttered, urban, rural, highway, etc.
- How long the worker is exposed to various traffic hazards.
- Lighting conditions and normal light level changes that can be expected during working hours — sunrise and sunset, overcast sky, fog, rain, storms, or snow.
- If there are any engineering structures or barriers already in place to contain threats and create safe havens for the workers in the job site.
- Any distractions that could draw workers attention away from hazards.
- How clear or cluttered the line of sight is for those driving and operating machines and heavy equipment and automobiles on the job site.
- If certain jobs, or the function being done, need to be "visually" identifiable from other workers in the area.
Once a hazard assessment is complete, the employer can select appropriate controls and determine how necessary it may be to require the use of workplace clothing such a high visibility gloves, shirts, jackets, hats, and other apparel.