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How to Easily Protect Yourself With ANSI Compliant High Visibility Gear

Posted on Tuesday, February 14th, 2017 by Mila Adamovica

If you or your employees are working in conditions with low light or poor visibility and are not wearing appropriate high visibility clothing, the risk of being struck my moving equipment or vehicles is much higher than when you are. Hi-vis garments include vests, shirts, jackets, coveralls and rainwear made with yellow-green, orange-red, or red ANSI-compliant fabric. These pieces of high visibility workwear can also have additional heat transfer reflective tape on arms, chest, legs, waist, and/or back areas. The specific function of high visibility clothing is to alert drivers of your presence on the site as early as possible, so they have more time to react and prevent an accident.

The American National Standard for High-Visibility Apparel (ANSI/ISEA 107-2015) provides guidelines for road construction, railway and utility workers, law enforcement, emergency response personnel, field surveyors, and airport crews.

Daylight Visibility vs Low-Light Visibility

The need to be seen while working in any lighting conditions and against any complex backgrounds is recognized as a critical issue for worker safety.

To be compliant with the ANSI standard, the material that hi-vis clothing is made of must be in one of the following three colors: yellow-green, orange-red or red. Fabrics that maintain fluorescent qualities after washing include polyester, nylon, and acrylic. While the fluorescent material is effective during the day, it doesn’t provide much of a visibility improvement for low light periods and at night. That is why OSHA requires that high visibility garments also be fitted with retro-reflective components, such as heat transfer reflective tape. While fluorescent fabric improves daytime visibility, reflective tape shoots light back at the source in the absence of natural light. When combined, these two applications can significantly improve visibility in a 360 degrees radius.

Different situations require different levels of visibility. Reflective vests are placed into three different HVSA types for uses, and performance classes for the level of visibility.

HVSA-High Visibility Safety Apparel Type:

  • Type O: off–road use,
  • Type R: roadway use,
  • Type P: public safety, emergency/incident responders use.

The distinction between types lies under the required minimum amount of background material. Hi-vis pants, bib overalls, shorts, gaiters are non-compliant if worn alone. Optional high visibility accessories, such as headwear, gloves, arm/leg bands are also non-compliant if worn alone.

ANSI Performance Class Definitions:

  • Class 1 (traffic speed does not exceed 25 mph): enhanced visibility workwear for parking service attendants, workers in warehouses with equipment, shopping cart retrievers, sidewalk maintenance workers and delivery vehicle drivers.
  • Class 2 (traffic speeds exceed 25 mph): clothes for railway workers, school crossing guards, parking and toll gate personnel, airport ground crews and law enforcement personnel.
  • Class 3 (traffic speed exceeds 50 mph): garments that are made with the most reflective material to provide the highest level of visibility for roadway construction personnel and vehicle operators, utility workers, survey crews, emergency responders, railway workers and accident site investigators.

The distinction between performance classes lies under the specified minimum design requirements for the background materials, retro-reflective and combined performance materials, and the width of reflective materials.

Use the table below to understand Fabric and Reflective Requirements Broken Down by Type and Class:

HVSA Garment Type O R R P P
ANSI Performance Class 1 2 3 2 3
Background Material Amounts 217 in² 775 in² 1240 in² 450 in² 775 in²
Reflective Material Amounts 155 in² 201 in² 310 in² 201 in² 310 in²
Width Minimums of Reflective Material 1″ 1.38″ (1″ for split trim designs) 2″ (1″ for split trim designs) 2″ (1″ for split trim designs) 2″ (1″ for split trim designs)

Challenges of Using and Maintaining Hi-Vis Gear:

  • Heat management. Hi-vis clothing often feels warm since it is made of polyester, nylon or acrylic. Mesh and cotton may be favored by workers in warm climates, but cannot be made bright enough to be ANSI compliant.
  • Maintaining high visibility. Over time and especially with outdoor work, high visibility clothing can get dirty or stained. Dirty retro-reflective materials provide much lower visibility, and in turn will no longer be ANSI compliant with the same high visibility class safety rating. Keeping your high visibility apparel clean is a must, and knowing when to replace it is just as important.
  • High visibility and FR. It is hard for manufacturers to produce a fluorescent fabric that also is flame-resistant, an important issue for many occupations, such as utility workers who need both types of protection. Finding these types of garments will be easier as technology improves in the manufacturing of new materials for safety apparel.

Keep in mind that enhanced visibility garments are not the same as high visibility garments. For instance, regular apparel having just a reflective tape is called an enhanced visibility garment. This type of clothing typically is non-ANSI-compliant and may be used only for workers in low-risk areas and in non-complex work environments. Performance Class 2 or 3 meet the requirements of the ANSI Standard for High-Visibility Safety Apparel and Headwear. Construction, maintenance, survey, landscaping, towing, paving, flagging, emergency, and utility workers are required to wear certified Class 2 or Class 3 high visibility gear.

Don’t be invisible while working in a dangerous work area, wearing proper hi-vis safety clothing will prevent accidents and save lives.

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Valuable Tips for Effective Mold Remediation

Posted on Wednesday, February 8th, 2017 by Mila Adamovica

Mold remediation is the process of removing mold and repairing mold-related damage in buildings. There are two important things to remember when dealing with mold: it is easier to prevent mold by controlling moisture and monitoring humidity levels; and when you face the mold danger, it is urgent that you take care of it immediately since it is harmful and is able to spread very fast. Studies have found that mold grows on materials that remain wet for 48 hours. A simple and easy way of preventing mold buildup is keeping moisture away by ventilating, ensuring there are no water leaks, and that the plumbing system is functioning well. Sinks, toilets, tubs, hot water heaters, roofs, and attics need to be checked for leaks. Windows and doors on exterior walls have to be tightly sealed. If the basement smells damp or musty, use a dehumidifier to prevent mold.

Why is Mold Dangerous?

People can be exposed to mold through skin contact, inhalation, or ingestion. The majority of fungal spores have aerodynamic diameters of 2–10 µm, which allows particles to be deposited in the respiratory system. Prolonged exposure to high levels of mold can cause hypersensitivity pneumonitis – an immune-mediated disease also known as woodworker’s lung, malt worker’s lung and farmer’s lung disease.

Guidelines of Mold Remediation

The Department of Health has developed guidelines for cleaning up mold contamination. The following 4 basic steps are necessary for quickly remediating mold problems:

Step 1: Perform mold growth assessment

First, calculate the extent of the contamination. Assessing mold growth involves more than just looking at what is visible: mold can be an invisible threat. Behind any mold growth there is a moisture problem. Identifying the source of moisture will help you locate all mold, not just what is visible. Next, repair water leaks to prevent new growth by addressing the moisture source: fixing the plumbing system or sealing the windows, doors, and roofs.

Step 2: Remediate mold contamination

Remediation involves cleaning up existing mold-infected areas while avoiding exposure to mold. Calculating the scope of contamination is necessary: DIY project is possible for Level 1 (up to 10 square feet) and Level 2 remediation (from 10 to 30 square feet). For contamination areas larger than 30 square feet, only mold remediation specialists are qualified to perform the cleanup.

Vacuuming with HEPA filter

Step 3: Cleanup

The cleanup process is the same for Level 1 and Level 2 mold remediation and consists of these 5 steps:

1. Repair the water problem.
2. Isolate the contaminated area.
3. Clean. The cleaning process for Level 1 differs from Level 2 at this point. For Level 1, it is enough to clean the area with a damp cloth and a detergent solution. Level 2 requires vacuuming all the surfaces with a HEPA vacuum and then cleaning all surfaces with a damp cloth. Remove all wet and mold-damaged porous materials and discard them in plastic bags that are at least 6 millimeters thick, tie the bags closed. Wipe the outside of the bags with a damp cloth and a detergent solution prior to leaving the contamination area, and dispose of them in a regular trash can.
4. Visibility test. All areas should be visibly free of contamination and debris — no dust and dirt means no mold.
5. Dry. Cleaned materials should be dried to allow leftover moisture to evaporate. To speed up the drying process, use fans, dehumidifiers, or raise the indoor air temperature.

Step 4: Determine if the cleanup has been successful. The fact that there is no visible dust or dirt does not mean that you are done with your mold remediation project. The final step is to check if there are still signs of mold-damaged materials or moldy odors.

Types of Equipment for Mold Remediation

Isolated Contaminated Area

Minimizing exposure to mold involves administrative and engineering controls, and using PPE.

Administrative controls include identifying and restricting access to mold-contaminated areas and minimizing aerosol-generating activities by suppressing dust.

Engineering controls include ventilating mold-contaminated areas and using heavy equipment with sealed positive pressure, air-conditioned cabs that contain filtered air recirculation units to protect workers.

The main purpose of PPE in a mold-contaminated environment is the prevention of the inhalation and the ingestion of mold spores and eliminating the possibility of mold contact with skin and eyes. The minimum personal protection equipment for mold remediation includes goggles without vents, a respirator, a coverall, and rubber gloves.

Skin Protection

Long gloves that extend to the middle of the forearm are recommended. When using the chlorine bleach or a strong cleaning solution, gloves made from natural rubber, neoprene, nitrile, polyurethane, or PVC are an ideal solution. When using a mild detergent or plain water, household rubber gloves can be used. Latex or non-latex medical examination gloves should be used if hands are likely to be in contact with infectious materials. The appropriate personal protective clothing (reusable or disposable) is recommended to minimize cross-contamination between work areas and clean areas. Tyvek coverall suits with attached hood and booties are perfect for mold remediation since they protect your whole body and are easy to put on and take off.

Eye Protection

Safety glasses or goggles with open vent holes are not a good choice for a mold remediation project. To protect eyes, a full face respirator or goggles designed to prevent the entry of small particles are needed.

Respiratory protection

The best respirators for mold remediation include full face and half mask models: an N-95 Respirator Mask, an N-99 Respirator Mask, an N-100 Respirator Mask, a half-face respirator, and a full-face respirator. Some of the most popular brands that offer good protection against mold are 3M and Moldex.

You also need additional equipment for your mold remediation project: a vacuum with a HEPA filter and large sheets of heavy plastic to tape over doorways and air vents to prevent the spread of mold spores to other areas of the building. A negative air machine is also recommended to help with removing airborne mold.

When it comes to mold, the key is to implement a comprehensive moisture management strategy. For more info go to: https://www.cdc.gov/mold/cleanup.htm

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Class 2 Safety Clothing For Garbage Collectors

Posted on Monday, May 12th, 2014 by Justin McCarter

The need to be seen is especially important for workers who spend their days around moving traffic. Garbage collectors, utility workers, school crossing guards, and airport baggage handlers all fall into this category. These folks have specific safety precautions they are required to take under ANSI/ISEA 107-2004 which is the authoritative government tome on reflective and high-visibility clothing. But there are more options when meeting those standards than you might think.

This series of recommendations reached the standard of law when it was incorporated into the Federal Highway Administration’s Manual on Uniform Traffic
Control Devices (MUTCD). It requires, among other things, their clothing be of a certain visibility, measured in brightness, and have very bright reflective capabilities which are measured, like a light, in lumens.

Most people think of Class 2 clothing in terms of the reflective safety vests seen on so many workers, but Class 2 clothing isn’t limited to vests. In addition to comfortable reflective sweatshirts there are also less obvious reflective clothing solutions. The Reflective Hi-Vis Harness Work Vest provides not only fall protection, but also visibility insurance. Bridge workers may need this type of dual protection.

For the rainy season, there are lots of options that provide not only excellent protection from the precipitation and cold, but also give workers the reflective profile that is especially important when visibility is at its worst. The Waterproof Bomber Jacket actually meets Class 3 requirements which apply to workers who may be around traffic moving in excess of 50 mph. Class 3 garments are also required to be seen from a minimum distance of 1,280 ft.

Another high visibility option, excellent for rain, but less geared toward warmth is the 2-Piece Hi-Vis Rain Suit – as reflective as it is fashionable. The important thing to remember is that garbage collectors and others who spend their days working around moving traffic have options when it comes to meeting their Class 2 ANSI reflective clothing requirements.

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