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It’s Cool to Stand Out – Why You Will Always See Me Coming

Have you ever paid attention to the list of rules on a construction site? If so, you’ve probably seen something like this “Hi-Vis is mandatory.”

My question is, if this is the standard rule, why isn’t everyone wearing Hi-Vis?

The answers usually go something like this:

  • “I don’t need it for the type of work I’m doing or for the location I’m working in.”
  • “I don’t have or can’t afford Hi-Vis gear.”

Another response I get, even though it’s not said out loud, is “I don’t care about wearing Hi-Vis in the workplace – it’s not important to me and it’s not cool.”

I’d like to respond to each one of these issues separately:

  1. Employers, when you are developing the rules for your construction site, please don’t communicate rules you don’t intend to enforce – i.e., Hi-Vis is mandatory. You are far more likely to get compliance if you say “Hi-Vis is mandatory in these specific situations” and then actually require people to follow the rules.
  2. Workers – OHS legislation requires that you wear Hi-Vis when you are in the following situations:
    1. Anytime you are driving, or working around, vehicles travelling at speeds in excess of 30 km/hr, i.e., flag people or workers using gators to move around a site.
    2. When you are in a trench or excavation, within the reach of a hoe, or other equipment, when it swings it’s bucket around.
    3. When you are working within the reach of overhead cranes.
    4. When you are working near mobile equipment, i.e., zoom boom, aerial lifts, forklifts, bobcats, and so on.
  3. Hi-Vis gear is very affordable, from as low at $15 you can get a lightweight mesh HI-Vis vest to put over your clothing. That is almost the cost of one fast food meal these days, and is well worth the investment to keep you safe.
  4. If Hi-Vis is not important to you personally, please consider the consequences for your fellow workers – i.e., the equipment operator who doesn’t see you and severely injures or kills you. Would you like to be the equipment operator that has to live with this? I can’t count the times that I speak to equipment operators who are grateful when workers around their work area wear Hi Vis – because they know it saves lives.

For my part, I wear Hi-Vis every day, whether I “need” to or not, so that I can set a good example, keep myself safe, and demonstrate respect for the needs of the equipment operators on the sites that I visit. In fact, I’ve usually got 3-4 pieces of it in my truck, for different environments and weather conditions.

If you want tips on where to get it, what works in different situations (from vests, to t-shirts, to jackets and coveralls) give me a call and I’d be happy to help.