X on back, vertical on front, stripes 360 around the arms and legs but do you know why?
We do after market striping and we get many requests for to vertical stripes to be sewn on the back of a garment to accommodate logos. We won’t do it. It is a safety hazard. A person operating equipment at night can recognize that if he or she sees an X then the person wearing the garment is facing away from them. If the wearer is wearing hearing protection they can’t hear equipment coming or possibly hear the approach at a noisy site.
Many people, to try to save money, feel with all the tape on the front and back taping around the arms and legs is not necessary. I tell them to drop the back and front to make a point. Arms and legs gives the wearer 360 coverage. Also if the upper or lower body is obstructed there is still visibility.
About 20 years ago I heard a story of a worker crossing a rural, two lane, highway in southern Alberta. It was a moonless night and the driver of vehicle didn’t see the person until it was too late. I don’t know if this is true or an urban legend but the point is obvious.
Fashion vs Safety:
Black is cool but is it safe. Recently a lot of workwear has been manufactured in black or darker colours. At night it may not make a difference but during the day you may not be as visible. Many sites are now insisting on level 2 visibilities. That means the background has to be visible during the day. This usually is orange or lime yellow garments. The background colour is for daytime visibility and the retro-reflective strip is for nighttime visibility. Logically: the larger the background the greater the visibility. That is why you may see coveralls that are solid orange with just two inch retro reflective stripes. In a future blog I will discuss colour and retro-reflectivity.
How effective is my striping:
As mentioned I will in the future discuss the science of colour and retro-reflectivity however, I will leave you with two rules: If it is dirty, clean it. It is worn replace it. To work, especially at night, the retro- reflective stripes have to be clean and complete to be effective. Imagine your safety glasses have grease or mud on them. You can’t see well enough to do your job safely. If stripes are full of grease, oil, or dirt it can’t do its job and the approaching operator can’t see you effectively. Yes, it can cost money to replace PPE but what is the cost of an injury or death?
….but that is just my opinion.
-Frank, Owner, CEO, Direct Workwear Ltd.