Make sure you have the appropriate gloves for the job at hand
Safety clothing encompasses a wide range of gear worn in various hazardous conditions. However, the diverse array of PPE, coupled with the unique conditions of any given work environment, can make it challenging to know which clothes are best for the job at hand. Of course, performing an in-depth hazard assessment and providing proper training help ensure that employees have the tools to make safety a priority. Still, some situations may require workers to use their best judgment. In such cases, consider these five tips for donning the right safety clothing under any conditions:
"Open traffic construction is becoming increasingly common."
1. Be seen
If you're working in a busy area or during evening and night hours, high visibility should be of the utmost importance. These scenarios require reflective vests and other PPE than alerts passersby of your presence - particularly by major motorways. According to the Federal Highway Administration, highway improvement projects
that expose workers to open traffic are becoming increasingly common, while simultaneously motorways are becoming more widely used. This means construction workers are at a high risk of being placed in conditions with low visibility. The FHWA recommends not only wearing high visibility apparel, but also implementing additional lighting, speed control, worker safety planning and additional worker training. The organization also notes that yellow-green vests and other apparel may help drivers differentiate workers from traffic cones and other orange construction items. 2. Be thorough
There's no reason to take unnecessary risks when tackling a work-related task. It's easy to convince yourself that a job probably won't call for specific tools right up until the moment you need them. For example, it may seem like protective goggles and a respirator aren't necessary when you begin a job, but then the air fills with dust and other particles that make it hard to breathe or hurt your eyes. If there's even a minuscule chance an item of protective clothing will be needed, it's better to bring it along and put it aside rather than find yourself stranded without it. Thoroughness is also an important tenet when donning safety clothing such as coveralls or hazardous materials gowns. Such clothes should be inspected for rips and tears, adjusted to fit properly and disposed of in a safe manner. 3. Always protect your hands
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, nearly 20 percent of work-related disabling injuries
occur to the hands. Consider that your hands are responsible performing many actions both in your professional and personal life, and a severe injury can cause a traumatic change to both. After all, there's a reason work gloves come in so many variations. Gloves are an integral item of safety clothing that can be used to mitigate cuts, scrapes, contact injuries and other potential problems. Check out MFASCO's guide to workplace hand safety
for more details. In some ways, damaged safety clothing creates an additional element of danger because it provides the guise of protection and safety. For example, a worker wearing gloves with holes in them may be more likely to try and pick up a hazardous object than a worker not wearing any gloves at all. Such scenarios provide workers with a false sense of confidence that can result in careless injuries. Work sites should have extra safety clothing (vests, gloves, overalls, etc.) on hand so that workers can replace these items as needed. This requires that businesses carefully measure their stockpile of health and safety products to ensure there isn't a period where the needed PPE isn't available.
5. Have a backup plan
Comprehensive safety clothing is only one aspect of creating a healthy and safe work environment. When injuries occur during the course of a job, having appropriate protocols and procedures in place is key. One important element of these procedures is to have a robust first aid kit available, so that injuries can be addressed onsite or handled until professional help arrives. Again, this is one of the reasons an initial hazard assessment is crucial, because it allows managers to minimize potential risks and prepare for possible hazards.