If you are in the market for a new safety vest, here are some tips on how you can find the one vest that gives you more bang for your buck:
Color – This will depend on the requirements set by your employer. If you have the freedom to choose, two common colors are available for you. They are fluorescent lime and orange. Depending on the vest you purchase, a multitude of colors may be available. ML Kishigo offers an array of options depending on what your company needs are. Please go to mlkishigo.com to review our entire selection. You need to check with your company first what color safety vests the employees should use.
Reflective – Aside from the bright colors, safety vests should have the right amount of reflective material so that the wearer can be easily seen and identified regardless of the amount of light available in the area.The reflective stripes should also work during the daytime when the sun is so bright that its rays drown out the fluorescent colors. It is required by the ANSI that safety vests, regardless of the classification, should be visible from at least a thousand feet away.
Durability – If you need to use a safety vest every day at work, it needs to be durable enough to last at least 6 months without the fabric fraying, tearing, and their colors and reflective materials fading. OSHA standards regarding the use of safety vests are strict, so if you got a cheaply made vest, expect your safety officer to require you to replace it after just a couple of months.
You should get a safety vest that is made from high-quality materials and is constructed with long-term use in mind. This means that the seams should be double-stitched, and the fabric is not so thin that it frays easily.
ANSI Compliance – You should never buy cheap safety vests that are not ANSI- compliant. The regulations set up by the ANSI are there to keep you safe. Those regulations are the absolute minimum to ensure that you, the wearer, are highly visible to vehicle drivers, heavy equipment operators, and your other co-workers.
You might have found a safety vest that is half the price they usually sell for, but you need to be skeptical. Ask if the vest follows the ANSI requirements, especially the part about the amount of reflective material present on the vest. It is very dangerous for you to go to a hazardous worksite without being sure that you can be seen by other people.
Fit and Comfort – Regarding the fit of safety vests, they do come in a multitude of sizes. It is important to choose a size that fits your frame. If you will be working in a place with a hot and humid climate, it is best to choose a safety vest that is made mostly out of polyester mesh. This is not only more lightweight but also allows your skin to breath so you can wear the vest comfortably the entire day.
Machine-washable – Most of them are machine-washable so you can just throw them in along with your laundry. However, you do need to remember not to use strong detergents. Avoid using bleach, too. It is because both the detergents and bleach will make the colors of safety vests fade and minimize the effectiveness of the reflective stripes.
Your safety vest must get a good washing occasionally. When your safety vest gets covered in dirt and dust, it will lessen the vest’s visibility, thus putting you in a lot of danger.
Care and Maintenance
Properly maintained, a safety vest used daily has a service lifespan of around six months. Here are a couple of things you have to prioritize in terms of the vest’s care and maintenance:
Washing – You must wash your vest regularly. Accumulated dirt on the surface will greatly diminish the intensity and visibility of the bright colors. Your safety vest must maintain its bright colors and visibility for as long as possible.
Some safety vest manufacturers recommend machine washing safety vests with like- colored garments, turned inside-out, using cold water. You must not use bleach or fabric conditioners as they will weaken the vest’s fabric and dull the colors.
It is important to turn the vest inside out to protect the reflective tape from getting damaged. Make sure to let the vest air dry but if you have no choice, you can use a machine dryer. However, you need to take it out immediately so it will not get damaged by the excess heat.
Replacement – You need to have your safety vest replaced when the colors have faded or if it gets torn, stained, or defaced. Anything that causes the vest to not be visible by the naked eye from 1,000 feet, in both day and night might warrant a replacement.
Aside from frequency of use, other factors can also cause your safety vest to get worn out. These include working at higher elevations because of the increased ultraviolet rays of the sun, working under the sun, and the type of work that you do. Note that strenuous activity will make the vest dirty faster and will also most likely cause the fabric to tear.
When the time comes that you need to have your safety vest replaced, you should notify your company’s safety officer or your immediate supervisor and put in a request for a replacement.
When you take care of and properly maintain your safety vest, it will repay you by making sure that you are always highly visible and far from most, if not all workplace hazards. Take care of your vest and it will do the same for you.
ML Kishigo has a dedicated page focused on when to replace your Vest. To learn more: Please visit: https://mlkishigo.com/garment_inspection/
Excerpt from Article Environment Design + Construction The Best Safety Vest for 2020, May 1, 2020 by Michael Davey. https://www.edcmag.com/best-safety- vests/#How_Does_It_Work