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Monthly Archives: July 2016

  • Workplace Safety: Working in Heavy Traffic

    workplace safety working in heavy trafficWe live in a busy world. While it might be ideal to keep all job sites free of pedestrian and vehicle traffic, that's not always possible. More often than not, workers who build and repair roads, bridges, sewer & water lines, power lines, phone lines, and a variety of other job tasks are required to work in the immediate vicinity of heavy and often dangerous traffic. Whether it's a side road in a suburban area or a busy interstate highway during rush hour, the hazards of the job are greatly magnified when working near moving vehicles.
    Many companies offer safety training for those working in close proximity to moving traffic, but in most cases you're just required to wear your high visibility safety gear and told to "look out for traffic". Of course both mobile and stationary barriers are often used to separate work sites from the highway, but this isn't always the case. Sometimes workers have little to no real protection from fast moving vehicle traffic, leaving a good operation of their safety up to the motorists themselves.
    To reduce the chances of an accident, injury or death when working in heavy traffic, it's important to practice the following:
    Be aware of your surroundings: Know what's in front of you and behind you at all times. When working in close proximity to moving traffic, always be aware of which direction the traffic is heading, how much buffer space exists between you and the road, and what type of barriers are used. Don't forget that large trucks, mobile homes, tractor trailers take up more space and often make a closer approach to your workspace than normal passenger vehicles. Always be sure that hoses, ropes, power cords and similar objects are far enough from the roadway as to not be sucked in by wind or the draft of passing vehicles.
    Expect the Unexpected: A lot of the time, you only have so much control over your safety. The rest of it is up to the passing motorists. This is the reason that work zones have reduced speed limits which reduce the chances of high-speed accidents. At any given moment, a driver who may not be paying attention could veer or the roadway heading in your direction. Also, rising/setting sun, fog, and low-visibility caused by bad weather or night time conditions can further hamper motorist's ability to see. Likewise, tires can blow out and parts can fall from vehicles or tractor trailers, acting as deadly projectiles that can easily cause bodily harm or death.
    Go Prepared: Always be sure you're wearing the proper ANSI compliant high visibility garments. One great idea for working in or around traffic is to use a breakaway safety vest. These safety vests utilize velcro-style breakaway points which will easily rip apart with enough force. If your breakaway vest or jacket is caught on a passing vehicle, the garment will separate instead of dragging you along with it. In either case, wear as much reflective apparel as possible to ensure motorists can see you. Safety glasses should also be worn in close proximity to traffic because debris such as sand and rocks can quickly become airborne and present a hazard.
    The US Department of Labor's Occupational Safety & Health Administration has an abundance of information in regards to highway, work zone, and traffic-related safety. You can visit their website HERE to learn more about highway safety. You can also view their Workzone Hazards Awareness resources to learn more tips on working safely in area with vehicle traffic.

  • Workplace Safety: Preventing Hearing Damage

    workplace safety preventing hearing lossOne of the often-overlooked dangers of the workplace is hearing damage. Sometimes people ignore the danger of hearing damage and other times people don't seem to realize it poses a legitimate threat. The truth is that hearing damage is very real, and anyone working in an environment with excessive noise is subject to suffering some sort of hearing loss.
    The reality of the situation is often surprising to some people. Contrary to popular belief, you don't have to operate a jack-hammer 10 hours a day to damage your hearing. Often times, people suffer permanent hearing damage and/or loss from working in an environment that might not seem dangerously loud. If the sound is repetitive or constant, it doesn't have to be at an extremely high decibel to do damage. Many industrial workers, equipment operators, and processing plant employees have suffered problems like ringing ears, decreased hearing sensitivity, mild to intermediate hearing loss from nothing other than spending so much time in their work environment near mid-level noise intensity. Others have suffered very serious ringing of the ears and massive hearing loss due to being used to the sound intensity and/or failure to utilize hearing protection.
    So, how do you minimize hearing damage? It's rather simple - hearing protection is the single most important factor. If you're going to be working near excessive noise for specific tasks, be sure to have proper protection available at all times. It's easy to use and then remove the protection as needed when the sound intensity decreases or the tasks requiring hearing protection are complete. If you're working in a medium-noise facility where long-term exposure is a concern, consider wearing disposable ear plugs. They can be worn in a loose fashion that helps protect your ears by muffling loud noises while still making it possible to hear and communicate with others.
    Remember, your ears don't have to hurt for noise to hurt your ears. Too many people disregard the importance of hearing protection while ignoring the possibilities of hearing damage because they assume that if sound levels aren't hurting their ears then it's okay. It can take quite some time for hearing damage to develop or show symptoms, but it can also happen instantaneously in the right environment. Protect your ears, be safe, and keep hearing protection at your disposal.

  • ANSI Class 3 High Visibility Safety Vests

    ansi class 3 high visibility safety vests
    High visibility safety vests are an important aspect of workplace safety for anyone working in a hazardous environment. They ensure a higher level of visibility than normal clothing and decrease the likelihood of workplace accidents by making sure you can be seen among co-workers, equipment operators, motorists and others.
    ANSI Class 3 high visibility safety vests provide the highest level of safety and are usually reserved for this working in the most dangerous environments. This includes busy roadways where traffic moves in excess of 50mph, however, class 3 garments can be used by anyone looking for optimal safety. They're very common among truck drivers or utility workers and anyone working in harsh weather conditions where visibility is substantially reduced. In fact, although your job might only require ANSI Class 2, many people opt for an ANSI Class 3 safety vests for the added protection they offer.
    The requirements for ANSI Class 3 safety vests are an impressive 1,240 inches of high visibility background fabric (lime/yellow/orange) and 310 square inches of reflective striping. Due to the strict standards, ANSI Class 3 vests can often be larger than class 2 due to the required minimum surface area. Nearly all class 3 vests feature short sleeves to meet this requirement, often resembling a t-shirt more than the classic sleeveless vest design. Generally, they're equipped with more - or wider - reflective striping but this depends on the design.
    ANSI Class 3 Vests are most commonly used by road workers, utility workers, brigde builders, miners, railroad workers and anyone working in close proximity to very large equipment. It's also especially common for marine workers, depending on their job tasks. Again, even though Class 3 garments may not be mandatory for your job duties, they offer the highest level of safety and visibility.
    As a major retailer of high visibility safety garments, HiVis Supply stocks a variety of ANSI Class 3 gear, including the newest and most popular styles from the industry's top brand names. Shop or browse our selection of ANSI Class 3 Safety Vests today and save on safety!

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