11 Jun 2021

High visibility clothing is apparel with highly reflective properties that help workers stay visible against any background and in any lighting condition—even in the middle of the night. These garments are popular among jobs like highway and railroad construction workers, construction tradespeople, airport workers, trash and recycling collectors, landscaping professionals, warehouse workers, first responders, and many others. 

Although this type of clothing applies to various industries, most of them have one thing in common: the workers are frequently in contact with large vehicles. For this reason, it is crucial that employees can be seen at any point during their shift. If you own or operate businesses in any of these industries, making your employees visible is imperative for their safety. But when it comes to choosing the right clothing for your workers, the selection process can be tricky. It is vital to get up to speed on the latest requirements, and ANSI recently released new updates to the standards for high visibility clothing

Overview of ANSI Standards for High Visibility Clothing

The American National Standards Institute (or the ANSI) provides vivid and consistent guidelines for selecting and using high visibility clothing in the United States. 

ANSI 107-2010 was a standard for construction, emergency responders, utility, airport ramp personnel, and anyone else who routinely works in low visibility areas. 

The standard is revised approximately every 5 years. The last major update, in 2015, created the current high visibility apparel types:

  • Type O (Off-Road)
    • Workers who can be exposed to traffic at or below 25 mph.
  • Type R (Roadway)
    • Workers who are exposed to highway traffic and working against complex backgrounds in daytime and nighttime environments.
  • Type P (Public Safety)
    • Emergency/incident responders and law enforcement in both roadway and off-road environments.

These types are further organized into classes based on worker hazards and tasks, the complexity of the job site’s background, and vehicular traffic and speed:

The hi-vis examples shown below are from our partner at Protective Industrial Products (PIP). They offer hi-vis options to fit all your safety needs. They also manufacture hi-vis apparel that is self-extinguishing, include D-Ring access, UV protection, insect repellant and are water resistant.

  • Performance Class 1 (Type O Only)
    • This class provides the minimum amount of high visibility materials required for workers who aren’t required to come into “considerable contact” with large vehicles traveling over 25 mph.

  • Performance Class 2 (Type R & Type P)
    • Provides for the use of additional high visibility materials for workers who require greater visibility in poor weather conditions or find themselves near roadways and areas with high traffic traveling between 25-50 mph.

(The vest below is one of PIP’s 5 Point Breakaway Vests: A five point breakaway system allows workers to quickly remove the vest for additional safety around extreme traffic hazards, moving machinery or equipment.)

  • Performance Class 3 (Type R & Type P)
    • Provides the highest level of visibility reserved for workers in high-risk environments that involve high task loads, a wide range of weather conditions, and areas with heavy traffic traveling over 50 mph.

(The vest below is just one of PIP’s PPE offering specifically designed for female workers with a contoured fit and drawstring adjustable waist.)

  • Supplemental Class E
    • Includes pants, bib overalls, shorts, and gaiters, which are not compliant when worn alone. When combined with Class 2 or Class 3 apparel, the combination satisfies Class 3 requirements.

What’s New in ANSI/ISEA 107-2020

The latest updates cover 5 main areas of the ANSI standard for high visibility clothing:

  1. Elimination of Criteria within the Accessories Category.
      • While workers are still encouraged to wear high visibility accessories on the job to increase biomotion, ANSI/ISEA 107-2020 no longer includes criteria for this category.
  2. New requirements for single-use disposable coveralls.
      • Because they have become more popular, ANSI/ISEA 107-2020 applies to single-use disposable coveralls the same minimum material amounts and requirements imposed on all compliant high visibility clothing.
      • In addition, all single-use coveralls must include the following on product tags:
        • This garment meets the single-use disposable coverall requirements of ANSI/ISEA 107-2020, Section 11.
        • SINGLE-USE ONLY.
        • DO NOT REMOVE THIS LABEL
  3. Elimination of maximum wash cycles on care labels.
      • The previous standard required that care labels list a maximum number of wash cycles to indicate the lifespan of the garment’s reflective tape.
      • The maximum wash cycle label requirement has been eliminated to avoid confusion about wear and tear on the apparel that might call for the garment to be retired before meeting the maximum number of wash cycles.
  4. New testing requirements for segmented reflective tape.
      • Segmented and perforated retroreflective tape has also become more popular, so the new standard includes additional testing requirements to establish the retroreflectivity of the background material.
      • This was done to discourage manufacturers from overstating the brightness of a garment’s reflective tape.
  5. Minor changes to the ANSI-107 tag.
    • The year 2015 will be replaced by 2020.
    • If a garment is not flame-resistant, the label must include the statement “This garment is not flame resistant as defined by ANSI/ISEA 107-2020.”

There are additional changes contained in the latest ANSI-107 guidelines. Click here to learn more from the ANSI Blog. Access a copy of the full standard here.

Find the Best High Visibility Gear for Your Crew

Safety regulations and procedures are not to be taken lightly in any industry, let alone those that regularly require interaction with large vehicles. Quest Safety Products only supplies high visibility garments from all the top ANSI-compliant manufacturers. And since compliance on safety gear can vary from industry to industry, Quest Safety Products will find the best high visibility clothing for your specific needs. You can turn to us to ensure you meet all standards so you can focus on what your organization does best.

Partner with Quest

 

 

Single-Use versus Reusable Garments: Which Provides Better Protection?

Did you know the highest causes of contamination in controlled environments are from the people who work there? This means the right garments are critical. While it may seem like the best option would be reusable garments since they are made using more substantial material that can be washed repeatedly, it turns out the sterilization process may cause them to deteriorate over time, leading to lower bacterial efficiency than their disposable counterparts.

With this in mind, Quest recommends replacing reusable garments with disposable ones for the following reasons:

Ultimate Protection
With each laundering and sterilization, the air permeability, bacteria barrier, and tear strength efficiency of reusable garments is reduced and particle shedding is increased. Disposable apparel arrives clean, hygienically packaged, and ready to use.

Consistent Quality
Disposable garments provide more uniform and dependable protection every single time. The quality of reusable garments is inconsistent. You never know what the protection level is, depending on where they are in their lifecycle

Peace of Mind
With disposal garments you know exactly what level of protection your employees are getting every time they don garments. Inventory and usage costs are easy to predict and manage over time

Click on the image to download our helpful graphic on reasons to choose disposable over reusable garments.

Don’t just take our word for it. The proof is in the data. Our partners at DuPont shared a video where they put reusable garments to the test. They conducted testing by laundering and sterilizing two new,        reusable garments for 30 cycles and examined how well they held up. Here’s what they found.

Test #1: Air Permeability and Barrier on Reusable Garments
After 20 cycles, air permeability increased 5X (garment A) to 8X (garment B) based on the Frayser Air Permeability Test. This shows that garments become less airtight and less effective at bacterial filtration over time.

Test #2: Particle Shedding of Reusable Garments
After 30 cycles, there was a noticeable increase in particle shedding on fabric swatches cut from the tested reusable garments.

Test #3: Tear Strength
The tear strength of fabric cut from reusable polyester garments steadily decreased with each cycle. After 30 cycles, the tear strength dropped by 60%.

The takeaway? Single use garments provide more uniform and dependable protection, with consistent quality. Plus with single-use garments, both inventory and usage costs are easier to predict and manage over time. Taken all together, choosing disposable garments results in greater peace of mind when it comes to keeping your facilities contaminant free and running smoothly.

How Quest is Minimizing the Impact of Rising PPE Prices and Supply Chain Shortages

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased demand for single-use gloves and garments so dramatically, manufacturers are struggling to keep up. As we move into winter and face a surging positivity rate across the US, the gap between supply and demand will continue to grow.

The result will be higher costs driven by:

A high global demand that has tripled due to more stringent protocols in healthcare and frontline workers as well as governments stockpiling PPE across the globe.

A limited global supply due to a lack of manufacturing capabilities. Manufacturers typically produce 370 billion gloves a year, but an estimated 585 billion gloves are needed to meet global demand.

A shortage of raw materials—specifically anything made with polypropylene material—is driving up costs by 30%-50% and is expected to continue to rise.

An increase in production costs as manufacturers struggle to attract workers due to labor shortages, quarantines, and the cost of keeping workers safe. Additionally, distribution and logistics costs are increasing.

Quest Safety Products has developed a deep understanding of the pharmaceutical industry’s needs and requirements through technical training and decades of experience. This enables Quest to be hyper-focused on what impacts pharmaceutical customers at this time and source high-quality PPE alternatives during recent supply chain outages.

Learn how Quest is working to minimize the impact of rising PPE prices and supply chain shortages so you can keep your workers safe. Read more.

22 Sep 2020

Safety & Personal Protective Equipment Post-Pandemic

Safety and PPE have been at the forefront for governments, health care systems and C-suites across the world. Wearing masks to significantly reduce the spread of COVID-19 has been highly recommend and even mandated. For your own personal protection gloves, hand sanitizers, using cleaning wipes and regular hand washing are essential. Occupational Safety and PPE will continue to be critical as the economy starts to open. A major discontinuity is the heightened awareness and need for cleanliness and hygiene which, experts agree, is likely to continue well beyond the virus.

-Rahul Kapur Ex-Chief Strategy Officer, Aearo Technologies (now 3M) Managing Director, Icon Investment Partners Senior Advisor, &Marketing, Crossroad Transactions July 2020

HOW THE WILL THE PANDEMIC CHANGE SAFETY AND PPE?

There have been unprecedented changes in the Safety and PPE over the last few months. Many of these are expected to continue as economies around the globe start to re-open – probably in fits and starts as there have been, and will be, local flare ups of the virus. Learning on better treatment of the virus has, thankfully, reduced the number of people passing away. Many of these changes are likely to be more permanent in nature or at least last for several years.


The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the critical role of workplace safety – starting with health care but in industries across America and the world. As companies reopen it is important to communicate with returning workers to make them aware of the safety measures in place, how to comply with them and that proper personal protective equipment and general cleaning materials such as soap and hand sanitizer are available. It should be clear who within the company will answer questions that will arise.

OSHA has already published guidelines that include what workers should understand about the virus. It is offering free on-site consulting for small to mid-size companies. As per OSHA, health care workers are at the highest risk followed by “workers with high-frequency interaction with the general public” (e.g., schools, restaurants and retail establishments, travel and mass transit, etc.). In many cases office workers are continuing to work-from-home where possible, but others returning to their work sites. Strict protocols need to be in place to these protect these workers, especially those at greater risks such as certain age groups and those with certain health histories.

OSHA Guidlines

Employers should ensure that their workers understand:

  • Differences between seasonal epidemics and worldwide pandemic disease outbreaks;
  • Which job activities may put them at risk for exposure to sources of infection;
  • What options may be available for working remotely, or utilizing an employer’s flexible leave policy when they are sick;
  • Social distancing strategies, including avoiding close physical contact (e.g., shaking hands) and large gatherings of people;
  • Good hygiene and appropriate disinfection procedures;
  • What personal protective equipment (PPE) is available, and how to wear, use, clean and store it properly;
  • What medical services (e.g., vaccination, post-exposure medication) may be available to them; and
  • How supervisors will provide updated pandemic-related communications, and where to direct their questions.

Increased Demand for PPE

Demand for PPE such as masks, gowns, gloves, face shields, cleaning wipes and hand sanitizers has sharply increased since these are the only products that can protect you from contracting the disease until vaccinations are available. This will take time. Given the stringent social distancing rules more widespread usage of PPE is crucial. This is especially true as the economy re-opens and if there is a second wave of infections. PPE products will be worn by individuals plus there will be demand by companies as people return to work after the lockdowns. Workplace safety is a major concern and, for now, PPE usage is the only option.

The PPE market is estimated to be $46 billion in 2019 according to a MarketsandMarkets report and should grow to $58 billion by 2022, at a compounded annual growth rate of over 6.5%. 

Supply issues around PPE were a major factor in the initial months, especially imports from China. Those that were aggressive in finding supplies gained not only in sales but also their customers’ gratitude.

More and more end-users are approving secondary suppliers and SKUs as part of their Risk Mitigation program as well as setting up monthly meetings with suppliers to get updates on the key product supplies.

A number of companies stepped up to expand manufacturing capabilities and increase production. This includes the traditional safety companies like 3M, Honeywell and Draeger as well as a number of new entrants, many of whom saw the opportunity to help their country in a time of shortage. This particularly includes those with sewing capability, those with the ability to bottle hand sanitizers and companies who could manufacture sophisticated ventilators. Good examples are Eddie Bauer, Nike, American Seating, Graffiti Shield, My Pillow, Jim Beam and even GM & Ford.

Long Term Change Expected

Based on my experience working with safety companies, research conducted and perspectives from prominent voices in safety by Safety+Health magazine there are four more significant longer-term changes expected:

  • Personal hygiene and area disinfection practices will become a part of the routine for the foreseeable future.
  • Strict protocols and administrative controls will be required & enforced for locations with more than a certain number of people.
  • Company and organizational policies will be needed for activities such as employee travel, sanitizing, disinfecting, additional training requirements and using/leveraging technology for safety.
  • Many PPE companies faced serious problems with their supply chains; particularly those importing from China. Now is certainly not the time for single sourcing. Many are seeking alternatives in Mexico and Central America. Other Far Eastern countries are becoming potential suppliers.

There are likely to be more guidelines developed by the CDC, OSHA, etc. to help organizations deal with this emerging “new normal.”

Beyond these, there will be other changes in occupational safety that business leaders should be considering. These include:

  • More and more companies will improve their Disaster Preparedness Plans starting with an evaluation of how they reacted to this pandemic and what they learned. The pandemic has forced Disaster Preparedness Plans from being “nice to have” to an essential.
  • There will be continuing updates to product standards, new workplace protection requirements and guidance, federal and state policy enhancements, and strategic undertakings by the PPE industry and governments to increase preparedness efforts. Following these will be important.
  • With these new guidelines, safety professionals will need to ensure that procedures to verify these practices are in place and performed properly. Primary these will include ensuring social distancing and barriers if people cannot meet distance requirements (shields at retail establishments are a good example). Other guidelines may emerge as we gain new knowledge about the virus.
  • Safety training will increasingly go online and innovative methods are evolving. Internet training will push beyond clicking a PowerPoint to become more interactive and with live demonstrations. Knowledge checks will be incorporated.
  • There will be safety implications on working from home. These are not yet clear.

Strategic Implications for PPE Providers

So what does this mean for PPE providers as they navigate through these uncertain times? Here are somethings that business leaders should be thinking about.

Fixing disrupted supply chains is mission critical. PPE was not alone. This affected almost every company. Out of the Fortune 1000 companies, 94% reported seeing coronavirus-driven supply chain disruptions (Fortune, 2020). There is increasing discussion on domestic manufacturing of “essential supplies” with PPE near or at the top of the list. While moving completely away from China may be difficult, more diversified supply chains are emerging. Companies are looking at the East Asia, Mexico and Central America. Mexico and Central America’s proximity makes them more attractive with lower shipping costs and imports not being on the high seas for four weeks. This is what PwC, AmCham call a ‘China+1’ strategy.

Selling PPE at retail and online will exponentially expand. These channels are becoming more and more important to tap into the consumer demand for masks, gloves, cleaning wipes, hand sanitizers, etc. Sales of these products have exploded on Amazon, even gas stations are stocking them. More and more companies are starting to sell direct from their websites.

The winners will be those who innovate. This creativity can already be seen in face masks where a tremendous range of products are already available. These include colors, designs, and logos. Many are reusable and there are even copper infused masks that are “breathable with a double-layer barrier.”

A number of COVID Safety Kits have been introduced. These include an employee safety kit with a selection of safety products for people returning to the workplace by Arbill, Samsara Luggage globally launched Essentials for COVID for travelers, and here at Quest we are introducing kits targeted at several uses.

There have been other recent innovations, including (i) antimicrobial scrubs for medical staff and scrubs with anti-chafe stitching, four-way stretch, articulated knees, and stretch waistbands that enable greater mobility and increased comfort; (ii) antimicrobial respirator masks where silver and copper act as antimicrobial agents that kill and inhibit the growth of bacteria, viruses, mold, and fungus; and (iii) surgical gloves with perforation indicators and a higher level of protection using double gloving.

Maintaining relationships with new customers. Many PPE companies, especially distributors, have gained new customers especially where they had much needed supply. Continuing to build these new relationships can be an opportunity for growth. Here a combination of Account Based Marketing (ABM), sales force efforts and Inside Sales programs and help. ABM is a strategic marketing approach that targets a set of customer via digital marketing to build awareness and uses content marketing to build brand image at multiple levels in the customer’s organization.

In Conclusion

Personal protective equipment (PPE) has emerged as the only normal way to step outside when the world is faced with the highly infectious coronavirus. The major trends that are likely to persist are increased personal hygiene and area disinfection practices, strict protocols and controls will be required & enforced where larger numbers of people congregate, policies will be needed for activities where there is employee interaction with the general public, additional training will be required and supply issues will need to be fixed. Retail and on-line sales of selected PPE products to individuals and small businesses will be a more significant opportunity. Innovation, that meets consumer and end-users needs, will be crucial. Finally PPE companies have gained customers in these unprecedented times and should make an effort to build relationships with them.

About the Author

Rahul Kapur has 40+ years of successful business experience spanning a variety of areas. As a business consultant, he provides companies of all sizes with his expertise in strategy development, M&A, new products & innovation, and data analysis and modeling. His experience includes Unilever, Dow Chemical and Aearo Technologies (now 3M). He is Managing Director of Icon Investment Partners, Chairman of Guilford Group, Managing Member of Ark Capital Investments, LLC, and Senior Advisor for &Marketing, Crossroad Transactions, and Quest Safety Products, as well as on the boards of several start-ups.

Construction workers caution sign in the snow.

Winter Will Be Here Before We Know It!
Check Out Our Winter Safety Tips Page.

Back when we were kids, winter was great! Building snowmen, snowball fights, possible snow-days off, and holidays around the corner. When you are an adult working outside every day there is a lot more to consider. At Quest, we want to do everything possible to help you protect yourself and your workers.

Our goal is to provide you with articles, videos, checklists, toolbox talk worksheets, and infographics to make your work easier. Winter considerations are more than just making your workers more comfortable outside. We know you want your workers to be comfortable but there are also business considerations at play here also. By implementing smart winter safety practices you also

  • Adhere to OSHA regulations
  • Keep productivity up (who can be productive when dressed like Ralphie’s brother in A Christmas Story?)
  • Reduce sick time and incident reports

Our Winter Safety Page provides you with five weeks of checklists, assessments, infographics, videos,
toolbox talks, and articles to ensure you and your workers stay safe, healthy, and productive this winter.

If you have any questions or need additional information please contact your Quest Territory Manager or email us!

Stay safe!

 

04 Jul 2016
Using DEET based bug sprays/insect repellents on FR (Flame Resistant) PPE or clothing is very dangerous.

Summer is great, but with it comes mosquitoes and ticks. While many people rely on DEET-based insect repellents, workers in electrical and similarly hazardous environments must look for alternate solutions. People who work in environments that may include flash fires, electrical arcs, or combustible dust are required to wear flame resistant (FR) clothing at all times. Unfortunately DEET and the chemicals that make up FR clothing do not mix well.

DEET, the active ingredient in most popular insect repellents, is highly flammable and should not be used in hazardous environments. This leaves people working in these electrical environments three options; work without insect repellent, use common insect repellent on exposed skin only, or use repellent specifically made for FR clothing. This last option is the safest and best choice. Several manufacturers make non-DEET insect repellent that uses Permethin to repel and kill bugs without endangering the wearer. Permethin is non-flammable and adheres to FR material for up to six weeks in many cases. Contact Quest Safety for more information.

Bug X 30 Insect Repellent Towelettes at a lake in the woods.

It seems warmer temps are here to stay! While warmer temps are exciting, perhaps not so exciting is the increase in pesky and sometimes dangerous insects the warmer temps bring. The Zika virus is on the rise making insect repellant increasingly important this year. Know the facts! Be Aware to Be Prepared! Check out Quest’s full line of insect repellent option below.

more information button

Construction worker wearing safety glasses, electrical protection gloves, and a hard hat cutting metal.

What glove is right for your application? Safety professionals all over the nation struggle to find the perfect fit in an effort to balance cost, compliance, and comfort. Many times high usage levels and cost can lead to an inexpensive canvas glove. Protective Industrial Products performed an impressive glove study at one of the largest metal producers in the United States that resulted in some pretty interesting findings. What glove is right for your application? It may not be the cost effective canvas you’ve grown accustom to using.

http://us.pipglobal.com/en/about-us/news-and-events/?nID=45

 

White-Paper-Maximizing-Efficiency---Cotton-Canvas-to-MaxiFlex