When performing any sort of service, safety is of the utmost importance. Working in a dangerous location such as a highway or busy roadway can often become even more unsafe due to weather conditions or lack of assistance from first responders such as police or firefighters. And while most states and provinces have some sort of Slow Down, Move Over law in place, drivers often don’t provide the space required for operators to conduct recoveries in as safe of a setting as possible.
While road flares, pylons, flaggers and other types of signage can help, the responsibility of personal safety falls to the operator. The use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is the first step towards safety on any scene. To ensure you are both seen and as safe as possible, here are five pieces of PPE you should never leave your vehicle on a scene without.
A high visibility safety vest is a vital tool for staying visible to drivers and other individuals at the scene of any incident. While safety vests may not win you any fashion contests, their bright colours and reflective surfaces increase visibility of the wearer exponentially, even at night or in hazardous weather conditions. Their lightweight design also means they won’t interfere while working and can be comfortably worn in all seasons.
There are many reasons to have proper foot protection regardless of whether your employer requires them or not. Foot injuries are among the most common type of workplace injury in most industries, and while steel-toed and protective boots will not protect against all injuries, most can withstand more than 75 pounds of falling pressure and can help prevent other types of mishaps such as cuts, bruises, burns or even slips and falls.
While they may ruin your manicure, work gloves can help prevent cuts and burns as well as keep hazardous fluids and materials off you hands. The gloves come in all shapes, sizes and materials, such as cotton, coated fabric, rubber or synthetic, leather or kevlar. Each style comes with its own purpose so knowing what style works best for your project is import. Some gloves, such as the WreckMaster Work Gloves come with a reflective strip, helping increase your visibility at night or in bad weather.
The most common highway and roadside injuries come from contact with equipment or falling objects. Protective headwear such as a hard hat or safety helmet can not only help prevent injury – it can save your life. The surface of a hard hat and helmets is strong enough to deflect debris and will act as a shock absorber when hit with materials or in a fall. Their bright colours help increase visibility of the wearer to those around them and the brim of hard hats can also help keep the sun out of the wearers eyes.
Many PPE items are meant to increase your visibility to those around you, but it is important to protect your vision as well. While glasses and sunglasses are common, they will not protect your eyes from debris, dust, stone chips from the road, and hazardous liquids and materials. Many safety glasses also have some sort of UV Protection to help on bright days.
OTHER ITEMS TO CONSIDER
In dark conditions, being able to see your surroundings is vitally important to maintain a scene. Flashlights can help illuminate a scene and make drivers and other operators aware of your location. Body lights and lanterns can also be clipped onto articles of clothing, safety vests or helmets.
CELL PHONES / COMMUNICATIONS DEVICES
If an incident does happen, a cell phone or communication device such as a radio is essential in requesting assistance.
Stay safe out there and we'll cya in the ditch.