Approximately ten percent of all occupational deaths are from struck-by accidents, and that number increases to 26 percent in the construction industry, according to OSHA. With the weather getting warmer and the layers of clothing coming off, it’s important to make sure that the layer of high-visibility apparel stays on. Also make sure you are complying with the requirements of the 2009 revision of the MUTCD (Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices). The revised MUTCD requires all workers within the right-of-way to wear ANSI 107 Class 2 or Class 3 compliant apparel. The compliance date is December 31, 2011.
One of the biggest challenges facing employers created by meeting the rules of the new MUTCD is actually getting workers to wear the required high-visibility apparel properly and at all times. Since a vest is worn as the outermost layer, it is often removed during the day or many days simply left behind in the truck. And vests might not be closed in the front, leaving the worker vulnerable to operators and drivers that cannot easily see them.
Improving use of high-visibility apparel centers around comfort. Cotton fabrics are being replaced with polyester blends that help wick moisture away from the skin and increase comfort.
Vests are worn over duck jackets or over top of tee-shirts or sweat shirts, depending on the weather. If it rains, a traditional yellow rain suit is put on and possibly the vest is worn over the top. But now that the onus is on the employer to ensure that his employees are wearing the proper high-visibility apparel, changes need to be made to properly protect everyone.