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Monthly Archives: May 2013

  • Hi-Vis Cooling Products - Staying Cool when the Job Heats Up

    avoid and prevent heat stress at workWe know that there's a good number of workers whose jobs mandate the use of high visibility gear - and more specifically, we know that a lot of those jobs also require working outdoors. With summer quickly approaching, the temperatures are beginning to rise and before we know it we'll be in the dreaded dog days of summer. We also understand that staying cool while working in the extreme heat is an important safety factor, which is why we recently wrote a blog about avoiding heat stress in the workplace. However, there are additional safety measures that can be taken to help beat the summer heat, and one of those measures is making sure you're equipped with the proper gear.

    High Visibility Cooling Products

    There is a plethora of high visibility cooling products available and nearly all of them have been designed and developed with the worker in mind. From comfort to functionality, the manufacturers of these cooling products have utilized an array of industry input and new technology to bring you the most effective safety apparel available for those long summer work days. While it does come at a cost, the extra investment is worth every penny; you can't really put a price on safety. Cooling products are an important factor not only for comfort, but the prevention of heat-related illness.
    Below, we'll take a look at some of the most popular and effective cooling products available and provide a brief description of what they have to offer. We'll also mention a couple common options and whether they're available to that specific product or not. Take a minute to read through the list and see for yourself if there's something that could benefit you at work this summer. Let's face it, you're going to spend a lot of time exposed to the heat while working this summer - you might as well be as comfortable as possible while doing so.

    Hard Hat Sun Shields

    Hard hat sun shields are a great hard hat accessory for those whose work requires prolonged exposure to the sun. They attach under or around practically any hard hat, providing shade to the back of the neck while decreasing the risk of sunburn. Made of lightweight materials, they are non-intrusive and offer excellent air circulation.
    Hi-Vis/Reflective: Yes
    Water-activated: Yes
    FR Available: Yes

    Hard Hat Cooling Pads & Towels

    These items are also made specifically for use with hard hats. From moisture relieving head bands and towels to water-activated cooling pads that attach directly to the hat's suspension system, these products keep your head cool by reducing sweat and helping to eliminate excess body heat underneath your hard hat.
    Hi-Vis/Reflective: N/A
    Water-activated: Yes
    FR Available: Yes

    Bandanas, Headbands and Skull Caps

    There are several different options available when it comes to cooling headwear. From bandanas and triangle hats to headbands, skullcaps, head wraps and ranger hats, there's never a shortage of choices.
    Some of the headwear available is moisture wicking and is geared towards pulling sweat and moisture away from your skin where it can easily evaporate, thereby helping to keep you cool. Other items are water-activated and utilize specialty fabrics with unique absorbent qualities that hold and slowly release moisture over a period of hours, helping to keep you cool over a long period of time. Headwear is always made from the lightest materials possible to provide comfort and breathability. These products are perfect for using alone, but also work great underneath hard hats or baseball caps.
    Hi-Vis/Reflective: Yes
    Water-activated: Yes
    FR Available: Yes

    Cooling Vests

    Cooling vests are a real godsend for some and there are quite a few different types available. From the average ultra-mesh safety vest to water activated and specialty cooling vests, there's a decent range of products to choose from depending on the level of cooling you need.
    The water activated vests can be ran under water or quickly soaked, and offer hours to days (depending on the product) of extended cooling. The specialty fabrics don't allow for a quick release of moisture which means that they stay cool longer while slowly releasing cool air against the skin to reduce surface heat and sweat.
    Other vests are intended for undergarment use and contain liquid and/or gel inserts that can be chilled or froze. The are geared more towards use where heavy clothing is required in situations of extreme heat. They apply consistent, long-term cooling that actually regulates the body temperature and prevents heat stress and stroke.
    Hi-Vis/Reflective: Yes
    Water-activated: Yes
    FR Available: Yes

    Electrolyte Drinks, Hydration Packs and More

    In addition to the products that can be worn, there are also other accessories that are a mainstay for the outdoor worker when it comes to staying cool in the summer. Electrolyte drinks are one important item, as they deliver important hydration to your body during times of exertion where the body loses excess liquids from sweat and muscle use. It's highly important to have, at minimum, a decent amount of water on hand, although electrolyte drinks are preferred and recommended. Coolers, portable bottles and even wearable containers are available to offer mobility and ease of access for the liquids of your choice.
    There are other products that come in handy too such as a portable shade tents and emergency cooling buckets. Many manufacturers offer specialty wear for the summer also, such as shorts and t-shirts that are not only hi-vis, but lightweight and ANSI compliant.
    Hi-Vis/Reflective: Yes
    Water-activated: Yes
    FR Available: Yes

    Get to the Point

    Overall, the choice is yours. The information on avoiding heat stress and heat stroke is readily available, as are a bunch of great products that can be used in combination with best safety practices to ensure an increased level of comfort during uncomfortable temperatures. Use the heat stress prevention knowledge - as well as the product technology that's available - to your advantage. Don't be caught off guard in the heat and don't risk your health and well being. Think ahead, be safe and set a good example for everyone in the workplace. Remember, since heat-related illness is 100% preventable, the only way to guarantee your safety through prevention.
    View a complete inventory of heat stress products on our website right now.

  • Beat the Heat with High Visibility Shorts

    vinatronics high visibility shortsDepending on your line of work, you might glad to hear that you could be a little more comfortable this summer in your safety gear. Why? Because HiVis Supply is happy to announce that we're now carrying a pair of high visibility, ANSI Class E compliant work shorts.


    Made by Vinatronics, these hi vis shorts offer relief from the scorching summer sun and high temperatures without sacrificing your safety. Manufactured from a durable, all-season solid polyester, the Vinatronics shorts feature dual 2-inch reflective striping made with 3M Scotchlite material for enhanced visibility. The lightweight fabrics make a huge difference over most hi vis pants, letting you enjoy maximum breathability and an increased range of movement.


    Vinatronics High visibility shorts are ANSI Class E compliant, meaning that you can still achieve ANSI Performance class 3 when they're worn in unison with an ANSI Class 2 or Class 3 rated top.


    While full-legged pants might be a requirement in the workplace and some people will always prefer the added protection of covered legs as compared to exposed, these shorts will still be a lifesaver for many workers whose jobs require high vis safety gear. They're ideal for outdoor jobs that require no risk of exposure to chemicals or loose and potentially hazardous materials. For example, shorts might not be practical for labor intensive jobs like road construction or concrete work, but a surveyor or a a traffic flagger would likely benefit greatly from them.


    The shorts come equipped with a drawstring waist, 2 waist pockets and are available in high visibility lime or orange from size small (28-36) to XL (40-50). Best of all, they're made in the USA! Click HERE to check them out today and get your own pair for under $25.


  • The Deadly Workplace - An overview of the AFL-CIO's 2013 Death on the Job Report

    safety sunglassesThe AFL-CIO's "2013 Death on the Job Report" has been officially released this week. While the contents are quite alarming, the overall number of workplace fatalities in the United States has been reduced by over 50% since the early 70's. The decrease in the actual number of deaths suggests a significant amount of success due to workplace safety measures, training and regulations. However, there's much more to evaluate before a definite answer is given to the burning question of "Is America a safer place to work than it was 40 years ago?"
    There is no simple answer to the question, as there is no universal definition of what actually makes the workplace "safer". For example, industries have fluctuated over the years and new products and manufacturing processes have been introduced. Certain job duties have become automated, while other positions require the increased exposure to dangerous chemicals, materials and compounds. Depending how far into the details you decided to dig, you could technically consider the increase of break-room soda machines since 1970 to be an increased risk to poor health. Nonetheless, there are all sorts of different factors to consider that contribute to a safer workplace. Awareness, a commitment to safety & health, and the education of employees & co-workers is paramount to maintaining a safe working environment while reducing the overall risks associated with performing ones job duties.
    The 2013 Death on the Job Report contains a plethora of valuable information and statistics that can be utilized to help create an effective plan for workplace safety. The report contains several sub-sections with data that has been compiled over the years. This data can be used both directly and indirectly to identify the dangers that pose the largest risk in your workplace; making it easier than ever to evaluate working conditions and determine if additional measures can be taken to address and reduce those risks.
    We encourage you to read the report and educate yourself on the most common dangers within your industry, then spread that knowledge to create awareness while practicing caution on a day to day basis. We devote a substantial amount of time to our jobs in an effort to survive and succeed, therefore, failure to educate ourselves on workplace risks is actually counter-productive to our goals. Strategic planning and proper execution of your job duties increases your likelihood of safety and success in the workplace, just as strategic planning and proper execution of your day to day lifestyle increases your likelihood of safety and success in society. Use your head, be safe at work and stay informed.
    In an effort to promote the use of the AFL-CIO's report and to help create interest in workplace safety, we've done a bit of research and provided some interesting facts based on their data. We hope the information below entices you to look further into the figures for your individual job sector and share your findings in the workplace.
    Which job sectors pose the largest general safety threat, or, which job sector could be considered "most fatal"?

    Mining, Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and hunting fall into the most dangerous combined category as of 2007 at 27.9 deaths per 100,000 workers. Transportation and warehousing come in second, yet with a substantially lower number of 16.9 fatalities per 100,000. Educational and health services rank as the least dangerous sector of employment with less than one (0.7) death per 100,000 workers.

    Which industry has the largest number of fatalities?

    Although the occupations listed above hold the highest risk and yield the most fatalities per 100,000 workers, there are fewer overall individuals who actually work in those industries as compared to others. Therefore, a higher number of deaths could accrue in a different sector for no other reason aside from the occupation being more common. In 2011, the industry with the largest actual number of overall fatalities was transportation and warehousing where a total of 749 deaths on the job were recorded.
    Out of the most dangerous sectors, which individual occupations are the most deadly?

    The top ten specific occupations with the highest individual fatality rates (per 100,000) are as follows:

    • • Fishers & Fishing Related Work - 127.3 deaths
    • • Logging & Forestry - 104 deaths
    • • Aircraft Pilots & Flight Engineers - 56.1 deaths
    • • Garbage, Recycling & Material Collection - 36.4 deaths
    • • Roofing - 34.1 deaths
    • • Structural Iron & Steel Workers - 30.3 deaths
    • • Farmers, Ranchers, and other Agricultural Managers - 26.1 deaths
    • • Driver/sales & Truck Drivers - 24.5 deaths
    • • Taxi Drivers and Chauffeurs - 19.7 deaths
    • • Powerline Inst. & Repair - 19.5 deaths

    Fact: Overall, males are 12 times more likely to die on the job than females. However, there are certain exceptions by sector and according to the cause of death. Women are slightly more likely to die in roadway accidents and more than twice as likely to die from homicide in their workplace. Read More Here...
    Fact: Firefighters are the most likely to suffer from non-fatal work related injury and illnesses with 13.5% of firefighters being injured or ill due to job duties in 2011.
    Fact: Ice Manufacturing is the 4th most risky industry for non-fatal injuries or illnesses, with 11.9% of workers suffering work related injury or illness in 2011.
    Fact: In 2011, there were 23,210 instances of workplace violence that led to injuries involving days away from work. The most common and likely victim of workplace violence is women who work in nursing/psychiatric/health sustaining injuries from patients.
    While some of the statistics are surprising, others are to be expected due to the dangers associated with certain occupations. Instead of focusing your energy on whether or not America is a safer place to work than it was in 1970, ask yourself "Is my job a safe place to work?" If this approach was the status-quo, we could reduce work related fatalities by a large number. If you're an employee in a risky environment, don't wait for a supervisor to hand out safety documents or offer training - they may or may not. Instead, inquire! If you're an employer, do the right thing. Respect your workers right to safety, they are what makes your business.
    Take a look for yourself and see where your job ranks among the rest, as The AFL-CIO's Death on the Job Report contains a whole list of documents in .pdf format for your immediate use and reference. Data is broken down by industry, sector, injury, sex, race, age, birthplace, and more. Please take advantage of their hard work and Read the Full Report Here.

  • A Brief History of Eye Protection in the Workplace

    safety sunglassesThanks to the technological advancements and manufacturing breakthroughs of the last 15 to 20 years, there have been some major advancements in the quality of protective eye wear. Long gone are the days of large, bulky, uncomfortable box-like lenses featuring crude rubber headbands and rather unappealing characteristics.

    Today we have the luxury of comfortable, distortion free safety eye wear with a wide range of styles and options, many of which have been intentionally designed for executing specific tasks within the workplace. From scratch resistant to bullet proof, from anti-fog to anti-glare, technology is being used to develop eyewear that makes your job easier and safer than ever.


    The Origins of Eye Safety

    While it's hard to put an exact time on the invention of safety glasses, optical aids have been in common use since the early 11th century when pieces of convex glass were used to magnify images and text. While the first written historical record of magnification in general dates back to the 1st Century AD, the invention of actual eyeglasses wasn't until the 13th Century. It was in Italy around the year 1286 that the first pair were made, however it's said that the inventor was unwilling to share the technology with others. A short time after, a man by the name of Alessandro Spina was making eyeglasses and happily sharing his newfound feat with the public, even selling them. The image to the right is a portrait of the renown biblical scholar Hugh de Provence. While only a portrait, is the first pictoral evidence of eyeglass use and is dated from 1352. Not much more than mere spectacles, these early models did feature convex lenses that were capable of correcting farsightedness.


    As time passed and things progressed, the designs became more functional and effective. Fast forward to 1880, when Powell Johnson had invented and patented something known as the "eye protector". This was the first form of widespread protective eye wear. The eye protector was created for furnace men, puddlers, firemen and others who needed visual protection from strong lights or intense glare.


    20th Century Eye Safety

    With the 20th Century's mass influx of technology and the industrial revolution, it's no surprise that safety glasses had naturally evolved also. The demand became very high as the need for eye protection in the workplace rose dramatically. Welders, fabricators, scientists, chemists, surgeons, etc. are just a few of the many occupations where the absence of eye safety would be considered detrimental to a worker's health and well-being. By the 40's, it wouldn't be uncommon to find a pair of safety goggles lying around the house or garage, wherever hand tools were stored.


    Due to employment acts, workers rights and workplace protection legislation, it's now a commonplace requirement that people in certain professions are equipped with proper eye wear which is often to be provided at the cost of the employer. Production of complex liquids, fluids, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals has caused the demand for safety glasses to increase nearly ten-fold over the last 30 years alone.


    Recent Advancements in Eye Safety

    As the technology for reading glasses and vision correction has improved greatly, so has that of protective eye wear. Safety goggles and glasses are now made for practically any application imaginable. Protection from lasers, corrosive chemicals and even gunfire are readily available from many dedicated manufacturers who have spent thousands of hours performing research and testing to perfect their designs.


    Most safety glasses are now made from high-impact polycarbonate materials that are lightweight and offer 99.99% protection from UVA and UVB rays. Advancements in lens technology has also helped to greatly reduce eye strain and fatigue, improve visibility, and offer a wider field of view for enhanced safety.


    While certain eye safety products are geared towards outdoor work and sun protection, others are designed specifically for optimal vision when used in an indoor environment. Some manufacturers have went as far as identifying the various spectrum of light produced by different light sources and have developed glasses that maximize vision and clarity for these situations. Metal Halide and Mercury Vapor lighting is commonly used in warehouses, and Bollé Safety has designed lenses intended solely for these environments. The same approach has been applied to fluorescent lighting as well.


    In other work environments, light may not be nearly as much of a concern as airborne particulates. Whether it's wood, metal or fine dust, particles that reach the eyes can cause irritation, swelling, discomfort and even injury. In the case of working with caustic chemicals or soluble powders, even a tiny amount of exposure can cause extreme pain, nerve damage or blindness. While sealed goggles are an easy solution, they don't breathe well and are generally uncomfortable for extended use, prompting manufacturers to integrate comfort features such as indirect ventilation, hi-tech foam padded frames and moisture resistant coatings.


    Outdoor work is typically more focused on sun protection. The glasses are often called safety sunglasses, because they look like normal sunglasses but usually have high-impact frames and fog resistant lenses. These glasses are generally close fitting and utilize a high-contour design to prevent materials or objects from reaching the eyes should they become airborne. Rubber tips, temple areas and no-slip nose pads are usually included for comfort and to ensure the glasses stay put even during vigorous activity. Safety sunglasses are most widely used among construction workers, athletes and anything else outdoors where vision damage poses a potential risk.


    After over a century of eye safety innovation, improvements are still being made to keep your eyes protected from the elements. If you can benefit from eye protection in the workplace, it's strongly recommended that you take advantage of it.


    To view a complete selection of top brand safety glasses and other eye protection for the workplace, be sure to click hereand take a look around.

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