Page 43 - OHS, March 2021
P. 43

What Are High-visibility Windshirts?
Windy days are often associated with spring weather, so wearing windbreakers is as commonplace as flying a kite in the spring. However, workers have another option to protect them at windy jobsites: high-visibility windshirts.
A high-visibility windshirt, like a windbreaker, protects workers from the wind. It also keeps workers visible to help prevent struck-by accidents. High- visibility windshirts are often designed
with extra pockets and features that help workers keep essential tools handy.
Windshirts, which are typically longer than a windbreaker, can also offer protection from the wind in the upper leg area. They are usually classified as windproof or wind-resistant. Protective gear engineered with windproof fabrics will shield workers from the wind completely, whereas wind- resistant apparel will not. Wind-resistant apparel is more appropriate for 10 to 15 mph winds. Stronger winds will penetrate
wind-resistant apparel, so it’s important to keep this in mind when choosing your gear. Although a windproof garment sounds more desirable because it’s a total wind blocker, it isn’t as breathable as a wind- resistant garment. If workers have a physically demanding day ahead of them, they won’t perspire as much in wind- resistant shirts as they would in windproof
Windshirts are extremely versatile,
comfortable and practical, and can be worn at a variety of outdoor jobsites. A windshirt can also be used with a base layer to keep workers comfortable without overheating. Windshirts made with ripstop fabric are extremely durable and lightweight too.
April Showers Bring May Flowers
Unfortunately, rainwear is often overlooked in jobsite assessments because it is not required daily, unlike hard hats, gloves and safety glasses. However, since springtime brings lots of rain, from light drizzle to downpours, every safety professional should evaluate the rain hazards workers will face. Getting caught in thunderstorms or even a steady drizzle without the appropriate rainwear creates uncomfortable, unsafe and unproductive workers.
Rain gear is also a difficult protection category to navigate as it needs to accomplish a lot of things. It needs to keep workers visible, dry, warm, cool and comfortable. It shouldn’t be too heavy, but it needs to be heavy enough to protect workers—especially when the elements are harsh or when workers are exposed to dangerous chemical splash.
Specifying rainwear can also be overwhelming because there are a lot of choices out there. Most rainwear fabric is made using a laminate or a coating that blocks rain and allows sweat vapor to escape. Laminates, which are more expensive, provide better waterproofing, breathability and durability when compared with coating. However, coating provides good waterproof performance, is often lighter in weight and is usually less expensive.
Asking the right questions and understanding some basic terms will help give you confidence in your rainwear choices. Plus, leading rainwear manufacturers employ safety specialists and product managers who can quickly help you identify your need and choose the appropriate rainwear solution.
Damian Palus/

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