Giving the gift of safety with PPE equipment

LAST YEAR at about this time, we posted on our Safety Solutions & Supply blog site an article with an idea for holiday gift shoppers. We suggested that for practical gift givers, a great gift idea to help keep an outdoorsy-type family member or friend safe would be a PPE kit, with PPE being shorthand for personal protective equipment.

A year later, with Christmas right around the corner, a personal PPE kit is still a great gift idea for those not taken care of last year.

A basic PPE kit would include eye and hearing protection, safety gloves, a hard hat, and a high-visibility safety vest. A more complete kit also would include safety shoes or boots, respiratory protection (dust and particle masks), a total face shield, coveralls, a high-visibility raincoat, and rain boots (galoshes).

In the matter of safety or “hi-vis” vests, one size doesn’t fit all and one kind doesn’t serve all well. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recognizes for workplace safety only the high-visibility vests approved and rated by ANSI, the American National Standards Institute.

An ANSI-rated safety vest falls into one of three classifications – Class 1, Class 2 and Class 3 – each designed and colorized (safety yellow, orange, or lime green) for a particular safety zone or working environment, such as road or roadside construction sites. The more hazardous the environment, the greater the vest classification number will be.

Class 1 vests are for workers in lower-risk jobs, such as sidewalk or curb repair in neighborhoods where traffic speeds are low. Class 2 vests are for people at greater risk, such as those who work where traffic speeds run from 25 to 50 miles per hour. Class 2 vests are larger than Class 1 vests because they require more reflective areas for greater visibility. Members of survey crews and school crossing guards typically wear Class 2 high-vis vests. Class 3 vests are required by workers in the most hazardous environments and where visibility is extremely low, such as on or along poorly lighted roads and in extreme storm conditions (hurricanes, blizzards, etc.).

In unsafe environments and at times when people – on the job or on their own time – just have to be seen, an inexpensive and non-ANSI-rated safety vest is better than no vest at all. For holiday gift giving, though, it’s a good idea to consider what kind of vest would best serve your gift recipient.

At Safety Solutions & Supply, we offer through our retail services a wide range of top-quality safety items, technology, garments, and gear. We can help with further PPE recommendations and the gift-selection process. Just give us a call at 1-866-537-2262 and ask for our retail store in Mulberry, Fla. Additional information can be found online on our store website.