Construction safety vests are essential safety clothing for many industries, preventing accidents by ensuring that the wearer is visible at all times. Safety vests reduce the chance of accidents in low light conditions and are mandatory in many industries, including construction, warehousing, oil refining and a host of other professions. In most states and countries, employers have the legal responsibility to provide adequate safety clothing for their employees and failing in this duty can result in fines and huge lawsuits if an accident occurs. At only a few dollars each, this is a low cost for potentially preventing serious accident and injury.
Reflective safety clothing is widely used in areas outside industry and they are finding use amongst the public, at home and in schools. Cyclists and motorcyclists are increasingly realizing the life-saving potential of the humble reflective safety vest and children’s sizes are available, making the winter walks to and from school much safer, especially along dangerous, poorly lit roads.
Reflective Safety Vests – Colors and LED Technology
Construction safety vests are available in a huge array of fluorescent colors, each designed to provide a high level of visibility and safety for a specific task. Orange fluorescent safety vests are an excellent option for hunters, fishermen and riggers, because this color provides a much better contrast with the surroundings. For nighttime use and low light conditions, the yellow or green reflective safety vests are a fine option, making them perfect for storing in the car in case of breakdowns. Increasingly, construction safety vests incorporating contrasting colors have hit the market, ensuring that reflective safety vests are suitable for a range of varying conditions.
For use at night, construction safety vests should have a light reflecting tape as part of the design, ensuring that the reflective vest is highly visible under artificial lights. For cyclists, motorcyclists, and children walking home from school, this addition saves lives by allowing car drivers to see the hazard early, giving them plenty of time to react. Better quality vests incorporate LEDs, adding yet another layer of protection to the humble construction vest.
When buying safety vests, especially in bulk, it is tempting to chase the savings and look for the lowest price. If this results in staff being equipped with poor quality safety vests that fall apart and fail to do their job, then that money has been wasted. Staff should be protected at work, but they should also be kitted in comfortable safety gear that allows them to continue their work unencumbered. Buying good quality construction safety vests is essential, so the star ratings given by Amazon act as a good guide, allowing you to find the best quality at a competitive price.
Reflective Vests – ANSI Classifications
The American National Standards Institute, in 1999, approved safety standards for reflective safety vests, known as ANSI/ISEA 107-1999. This gives consumers an idea of the level of visibility afforded by the construction safety vest, allowing them to make the best choice for their specific needs. The ANSI standards divided safety vests into three categories.
- Class I: These vests incorporate the minimum amount of reflective material and are generally reserved for low-risk situations, such as supermarket trolley attendants and indoor workers in good light. They are not recommended in situations near traffic, unless it is very slow moving.
- Class II: These vests are more common and afford better visibility in conditions where high traffic speed is an issue, where visibility is poor and where it can be difficult to pick the wearer from amongst a complex background. Crowd security, warehouse operatives, most non-traffic construction workers, forestry workers, emergency response units and school crossing guides will be sufficiently protected by Class II reflective safety vests.
- Class III: These contain the highest amount of reflective material and are used in areas where heavy traffic and high speed are likely. They are excellent in areas where low light and adverse weather is a problem. Paramedics, fire crews, fishermen, traffic surveyors and roadway construction crews should be given Class III reflective safety vests.
Fluorescent Vests – Comfort and Practicality
Comfort is often overlooked, when purchasing construction safety vests, but this can be one of the most important factors. For example, a manual worker, in a tough job, will want a reflective safety vest that is light and comfortable, and does not restrict movement. In hot climates, the ‘bib’ construction safety vest is a great option, adding visibility whilst allowing the skin to breathe. By contrast, fishermen and hunters may want a reflective vest that is waterproof, adding another layer of insulation to their attire.
Construction Safety Vests – Designs and Printing
Construction safety vests are available with printed designs, which can carry an important safety message or a business logo. The message could be as simple as pointing out who is part of the security staff in a crowd control situation, allowing the public to identify help, if required. Alternatively, the message could be a business logo, adding to the overall corporate identity.
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