Personal Protective Equipment - High Vis Jackets

Robert C. Switzer also known as Bob Switzer invented the first fluorescent paint alongside his brother Joe Switzer. Robert, a medicine hopeful, had an accident while unloading crates at the Heinz Ketchup factory in Berkeley, California. He tripped and fell. He was in a coma for several months after the accident. The accident confined him to a dark room while he recovered because his vision was permanently damaged.
Robert spent his time playing with fluorescent materials until he recovered. After his recovery, he carried on experimenting with these fluorescent materials and eventually he had made a fluorescent paint which he called Day-Glo. He sold Day-Glo to magicians who wanted to create illusions and to the US Army helping reduce friendly fire deaths. He went on to a form of paint suitable for fabrics which he used on his wife’s wedding dress. This was the first piece of high visibility clothing.
Robert and Joe Switzer founded the Switzer Brothers in 1946 which is now known as Day-Glo Colour Corporation to manufacture fluorescent products. Switzer died in 1997 due to complications from Parkinson’s disease.
Reflective clothing such as high viz jackets has been very important to the safety of workers in a working environment. It is necessary for industrial workers to wear them because they work in poor lit conditions where visibility is vital. Reflective clothing saves lives everyday and their importance should not be taken lightly. There are laws that are in place to ensure the safety of workers.
There are various standards that are used to determine suitable high visibility clothing for a specific workplace. Workers should use the right type to ensure that they are well protected from the hazards that are presented in their workplaces.
In a work environment, there are 3 classes of reflective garments to be worn by the workers depending on their activity. The classes are distinguished by the amount of reflective material, design and the colour worn.
Class 1: This category has the minimum amount of reflective material. It is not suitable for an environment where speed of traffic exceeds 25 mph because workers blend into the work environment. Examples of workers with Class 1 garments are parking service attendants, warehouse workers and shopping cart retrievers.
Class 2: This category has more reflective material than Class 1. It is suitable for work environments where speed of traffic is between 25 mph to 50 mph. Also, it is for workers who need greater visibility in bad weather. Examples of workers with Class 2 garments are railway workers, school crossing guards, airport ground crews and law enforcement directing traffic.
Class 3: This category has the most reflective material. It is suitable for workers in an environment where speed traffic exceeds 50 mph and work in a wide range of weather conditions. Examples of workers with Class 3 garments are survey crews, vehicle operators, emergency responders and accident site investigators.
Switzer almost lost his life from an accident and in turn he has saved many. Stay Safe.

Author: Hafis Kolawole-Oduntan
Resource: Personal Protective Equipment
External: Sports Safety First Aid Kits & Sports Injury

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