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:
- 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.
- Workers – OHS legislation requires that you wear Hi-Vis when you are in the following situations:
- 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.
- When you are in a trench or excavation, within the reach of a hoe, or other equipment, when it swings it’s bucket around.
- When you are working within the reach of overhead cranes.
- When you are working near mobile equipment, i.e., zoom boom, aerial lifts, forklifts, bobcats, and so on.
- 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.
- 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.