Eye On Apparel: Inside The Safety Zone


Employees trust the companies they work for to keep them safe. It’s an expectation that has transpired across all industries and workplace environments in the U.S. since the OSH Act was passed in 1970, which calls for employers to provide employees with a safe working environment that is void of known dangers, and, ultimately, to prevent injury from occurring.

Although it is absolutely crucial for employees to be and feel safe at all times in the workplace, employees who work predominately from a desk are unlikely to be exposed to the same hazards as construction workers, oil and gas workers, electricians or mechanics. Workers in more physically demanding, labor-intensive environments may be exposed to or work in extreme heat or cold, use power tools or operate heavy equipment, work with chemicals or hazardous substances, or work in high-risk areas, like high-traffic zones or on high-rise building scaffolds. To ensure that workers can perform their jobs safely and effectively, companies must provide them with the necessary protective equipment. And that’s where promotional products come in.

'Taking Care Of Business'

To be prepared for a job, there are certain materials that hands-on workers require. Construction Today provides a list of protective equipment that is mandatory for construction workers, specifically: face shields, safety glasses or goggles; ear muffs or earplugs; slip- and puncture-resistant shoes or boots with a steel-enforced toe; task-specific gloves and a hard hat. Without this equipment, construction workers wouldn’t be permitted on the job site, and if they were, it could pose a serious threat to themselves and others, and could have financial and/or legal implications for the employer. This equipment, however, also creates an opportunity for companies to provide their workers with top-of-the-line safety products, while proudly sporting the company’s logo. It’s a win-win. For construction workers, these products make their jobs easier, safer and more efficient. At the same time, the logoed gear can also signify to others, whether competitors, prospective clients or consumers, that the company has invested in first-rate equipment for employees, which signifies they care about their employees’ wellbeing. The branded gear also serves as a way to identify projects the company is currently working on and has completed, which helps with brand recognition.

Choosing The Right Gear

The difference between a safe employee and an unsafe employee may hinge on the protective gear being used. When helping clients navigate the process of ordering the proper gear for their client, consider the following three areas.

The industry. The differences in safety gear vary from job to job. Consider what a coal worker might wear versus a carpenter. Both are required to wear protective headgear and clothing, but they are different, and depend, of course, on the associated work environments and climate. Familiarize yourself with the safety requirements for the particular industry you’re focusing on and make it a point to learn about the general safety gear and apparel worn by workers in this sector.

The regulations. Although general workplace standards have been set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, there are other standards that may apply. For instance, 1910.269 of the OSH Act requires employers to ensure that employees working in environments where fires or electrical explosions are possible wear flame-resistant clothing. In addition, the National Fire Protection Association developed its own NFPA 70E standard, which is a comprehensive instructional guide on electrical safety and associated workplace practices for protecting employees.

The verbiage. When helping a client navigate safety apparel for end users, there’s a plethora of terms used by OSHA to refer to different classifications. In the ANSI/ISEA 107-2015, for instance, instruction is provided about high-visibility apparel, which categorizes apparel into types and performance classes. The three types include Type O (off-road workers), Type R (roadway workers) and Type P (public safety workers), and the classes include Performance Class 1-3, Supplemental Class E and Optional High-Visibility Accessories. Different design standards concerning the fabrics and materials used in the clothing are outlined for each type and class. To ensure all regulations are properly followed, distributors can refresh their knowledge of these terms and classifications to ensure the client receives products that are both safe and meet all current safety requirements. A full list of OSHA’s regulations can be found on www.osha.gov/laws-regs.

Many jobs require special gear and clothing to ensure safety, but according to data collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2017, these 10 occupations are ranked as most dangerous, because of the high number of fatalities for every 100,000 full-time workers. The occupations and industries, listed below, may benefit from the use of more promotional safety products, whether wearables or hard goods, to raise awareness.

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Incidents Posing The Most Concern
According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data released in 2016, these are the most common types of nonfatal accidents that caused workers to take time off. They are ranked based on the number of accidents reported.

  1. Contact with objects and equipment; most common for workers ages 16-19
  2. Overexertion and bodily reaction; most common for workers ages 45-54
  3. Falls, slips and trips; most common for workers ages 55 and older
  4. Transportation incidents; common for all workers, ages 20 and older
  5. Violence and injuries caused by persons or animals; most common for workers ages 20-24
  6. Exposure to harmful substances or environments; most common for workers ages 16-19

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The Ztek Safety Glasses are designed to shield end users’ eyes from harmful debris, making for a far more pleasant and safe workday. The safety-approved glasses feature built-in nose pads and straight back rubber-coated temple tips for a secure fit, with scratch-resistant, coated lenses. Available in clear, yellow, indoor/outdoor mirrored and gray (shown).

Fields Manufacturing  /  PPAI 111951, S09  /  www.fieldsmfg.com

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Remove some of the weight of the traditional high-visibility vest for constructive workers and traffic flaggers with the Viking Safety T-Shirt. This tee is made from premium, soft polyester fabric in fluorescent CSA and ANSA colors with dual reflective chest straps. For convenience, there is a cell phone pocket on the left chest with a hook-and-loop fastener and a pen slot.

Alliance Mercantile, Inc.  /  PPAI 263437, S05  /  www.vikingwear.com

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The Radians Arctic Radwear Cooling Vest is made for long days spent outdoors, whether that entails hands-on work or rigorous exercise. The vest is made with a three-layer fabric system that absorbs, retains and expels water to keep the body cool. With an adjustable waist with a hook-and-loop closure and a front zipper, the vest also features anti-microbial properties to prevent mold and unpleasant odors. Available in small to 5X in red, high-visibility green and blue (shown).

Radians   /   PPAI 589231, S01   /   www.radians.com

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Workers in physically demanding environments need gear they can rely on. The Viking Professional Journeyman 300D Trilobal Rip-Stop FR Jacket is heavy-duty and constructed to resist abrasions, punctures, rips and snags. It’s also windproof and waterproof, with a detachable hood for convenience, and two four-inch contrasting reflective tape for visibility. Available in S-4XL.

Alliance Mercantile, Inc.  /  PPAI 263437, S05  /   www.vikingwear.com

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Working with a client whose end users work in a particularly loud environment? Ensure the workers’ hearing is protected with the Radians Deterrent 32 Disposable 250 Pair Earplugs. The made-in-the-USA earplugs feature soft, slow-recovery foam for significant noise reduction and, of course, comfort. The yellow and green earplugs slowly expand for a low-pressure, custom fit, and are available in corded and uncorded options. Each set is packaged in an individual polybag and meet ANSI S3.19 standards.

Radians  /  PPAI 589231, S01  /  www.radians.com

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When manual labor requires workers to kneel for long periods of time, it can quickly become uncomfortable. The High-Visibility Knee Pads can provide a solution. Offered in high-visibility yellow, they feature brass-riveted hard caps, an adjustable, elastic, hook-and-loop closure, and are ergonomically curved for a snug fit.

Global Glove  /  PPAI 738803, S01  /  www.globalglove.com

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For working with tools, these Heavy Duty Mechanic’s Gloves feature thermoplastic rubber finger backs to safeguard against force and pinching, along with a reinforced palm, a silicone grip on the fingertips, a black spandex back and an adjustable wrist closure. A padded neoprene knuckle is also included for added protection, making these gloves a top choice for technicians, carpenters, machine operators, demolition workers, oil laborers and mechanics. Available in men’s large and extra-large.

Illinois Glove Company  /  PPAI 358312, S03  /  www.honestabegloves.com

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There’s no better way to ensure that all employees are equipped with the necessary safety equipment than to provide it during onboarding. The Hire Kit Clear Lens S18R is a safety kit to be presented to new hires—most appropriate for those working as plumbers, carpenters and temporary laborers—and includes a Liberty White helmet (ANSI Z89.1), Boas Clear eye protection glasses (ANSI Z87), ERB reusable ear plugs, a pair of work gloves and a reflective safety vest. Even better, the new hire kits can be customized to better fit the company’s needs and branding.

 

ERB Industries, Inc.  /  PPAI 192224, S05  /  www.e-erb.com

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When workers are spending long days in the sun and are required to wear hard hats, overheating, discomfort and fatigue are related concerns. The Coolerz Evaporative Hard Hat Cooler is a fabric insert that can be placed inside the hard hat to make it 15-to-20 degrees cooler than ambient temperatures, and the cooling lasts for five to 10 hours. To use, simply soak the insert in cold water for one to two minutes, squeeze out excess water and place it inside the hard hat.

ERB Industries, Inc.  /  PPAI 192224, S05  /  www.e-erb.com

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Looking for a product that can be used by laborers who work ’round the clock? The PowerCap Headlight Series Beanie features LED lighting from Panther Vision’s line of flashlights. The LED light includes three modes—high, medium and low—and runs on two AAA alkaline batteries. Imprint a company logo front and center—end users are likely to use this product over and over, whether they’re doing handiwork around the house, kicking back on a camping trip or working in the field. Available in black, blaze orange (shown), navy and real tree.

Panther Vision  /  PPAI 318255, S04  /  www.panthervisionpromo.com

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The Lightspecs Safety Glasses aren’t only for shielding workers’ eyes during the daytime, but are designed for darker hours as well. With LED-patented technology built into the glasses’ temples, the glasses are also super lightweight, with anti-scratch and anti-fog coating on the lenses. The lights run for more than 50 hours on a single charge, and the glasses come with four long-life coin CR-1632 lithium batteries.

Panther Vision  /  PPAI 318255, S04  /  www.panthervisionpromo.com

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For laborers in high-traffic areas, wearing high-visibility gear helps ensure they are seen by each other and by passersby. The Safety Reflexive Beanie is made from 100-percent acrylic fabric, with 360-degree, sewn-in reflective threads. Available in neon orange.

Macro Industries, Inc.  /  PPAI 261952, S02  /  www.3cfactory.com

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The Safety Jacket ANSI Class 3 is an all-in-one bomber safety jacket that meets ANSI-ISEA 107-2010, Class 3 standards. The jacket, which is both windproof and waterproof, includes details such as a two-compartment transparent ID/cell phone pocket, a pen holder with a zippered pocket on the left-hand sleeve and an embroidery area for imprints. Available in neon green/yellow in unisex sizes, S-5XL.

Macro Industries, Inc.  /  PPAI 261952, S02  /  www.3cfactory.com

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Danielle Renda is associate editor of PPB.

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