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|SUBJECT:||Safety Procedures When Working In or Near Moving Traffic|
|TOPIC:||Highway Safety Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Signaling Equipment|
|OBJECTIVE:||Understand the specifications, application, and use of special safety equipment when working in or near moving traffic|
|TASK:||Upon study of this material, a responder shall be able to demonstrate proper donning of personal PPE and use of highway safety equipment and signaling devices|
Let’s look at highway safety equipment, starting with the most important item, your personal protective equipment (PPE). Section 6E.02 of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) states that workers shall wear bright, highly visible clothing when working in or near moving traffic. This guideline includes fire/rescue personnel, EMS crews, law enforcement officials and even tow truck operators.
The International Safety Equipment Association, in an attempt to decrease the chances of roadside worker death, has published the American National Standard for High-Visibility Safety Apparel (ANSI/ISEA 107 1999) standard in 1999. This is a recommended national standard developed to guide employers when choosing worker highway safety vests, jackets and other safety garments. Essentially, emergency responders should wear Class III at all times when working incidents in or near moving traffic. In lieu of a safety vest, full structural PPE is acceptable assuming the reflective trim material is in good working order.
There are three classes of ANSI-compliant safety vests, based on the combined amount of daytime fluorescent background material and retro-reflective material for nighttime visibility. Class III garments are the highest rated and most highly visible.
Class III garments can be specially designed vests, high-visibility jackets, pants or rainwear. The ANSI protective gear standard specifically recommends Class III garments for all emergency responders and accident site investigators. MUTCD Section 6E.02 specifically recommends that law enforcement officials use high-visibility clothing when working highway incidents. Class III vests or jackets should be required to be worn by all responders at highway incidents. An interesting video news clip demonstrating retro reflective Class III garments is available here.
In addition to the visibility classes, high-visibility fabrics are also rated as one of three distinct levels of protection. A Level I garment has high-visibility. A Level II garment has high-visibility and flame retardance. Level III garments provide high-visibility, flame-retardance and electric-arc-resistant burn protection.