Friday, April 27, 2012

High Visibility Clothing

High visibility clothing is fast becoming the norm for industry. Europe, the Middle East, and Asia have strong requirements for workers to wear hi-vis clothing, many people are wearing it for non-work-related activities, Europe has hi-vis requirements for stranded motorists, and here in the US there are more and more requirements for workers.

Europe (especially England) have the strongest requirements for hi-vis clothing. They look a bit odd when you are not used to them, but they are worn fairly rigorously by construction workers, police, and others likely to be crossing in the way of traffic at unexpected times and places. This is carrying over to children walking to school, and a host of other

It has not caught on in the US yet. I compare hi-vis clothing to the aritcle I once read in a discussion of why bicycle helmets aren't really thick enough to prevent concussions: "when helmets get too thick, they look like a mushroom on the rider's head, and consumer acceptance drops like a stone." US cyclists who dress up like Tour de France riders and worry about whether their heads look like mushrooms.

This may have something to do with the observation (made with respect to automobile-buying tastes) that Europeans are more concerned with avoiding accidents, while Americans (despite their self-image as can-do optimists) are fatalistic about accidents, and largely concerned with surviving them.

British workers installing solar panels wearing hi-vis vests, but NOT wearing fall protection. (The vests make it easier to find the bodies.)
Irish workers in hi-vis clothing.
In the United States in 2008, it became law that if you are standing on the side of the road doing any kind of reporting you MUST wear a safety vest.
Dubai is dictating that cyclists must wear helmets and high-visibility jackets.
It's a "high visibility" kilt made by Blåkläder, which is the European equivalent of Dickies here in the states (both produce quality workwear). This was obviously geared toward the Scottish road/construction crews. Apparently it was also discovered by the young rave crowd in Britain.
A wine taster at the Moss Wood Vinards in Australia
Workers in South Africa.
Beckham meets workers on his trip to Stratford.
Children in Europe wear hi-vis clothing to and from school.
The Queen wearing a hi-vis vest.
Law enforcement throughout Europe wear hi-vis clothing. Here are Sweedish police officers. Even their vehicle is hi-vis.
Sarah Brown of England's Labour Party.
Even protesters are wearing hi-vis clothing.

British protesters wearing hi-vis vests.
Greece; Protestors with safety vests and gas masks. Protesting against austerity cuts.

Can safety be taken too far?

Spanish prostitutes (Prostitution legal in Spain) have been ordered to wear reflective safety vests for their own safety, according to reports. Women working on rural roadsides in Catalonia must don the vests to avoid a €40 ($56) fine.

Then and Now

I am sure that you have seen this picture before. "Lunch atop a Skyscraper" (New York Construction Workers Lunching on a Crossbeam) is a famous black-and-white photograph taken by Charles C. Ebbets during construction of the RCA Building (renamed as the GE Building in 1986) at Rockefeller Center in New York City, United States.

The photograph depicts eleven men eating lunch, seated on a girder with their feet dangling hundreds of feet above the New York City streets. Ebbets took the photo on September 29, 1932 on the 69th floor of the RCA Building during the last months of construction. It appeared in the Sunday photo supplement of the New York Herald Tribune on October 2, 1932.
I came across this picture. It was done using Lego people. Much safer than trying to pose 11 people on a beam 69 stories in the air.
Then this picture caught my eye. It is the modern version of "Lunch atop a Skyscraper." This was taken overseas, perhaps Asia or the Middle East (I believe). Notice the differences: everyone wearing hard hats, high visibility coats, work pants, and of course fall protection.

I don't know that they are doing this the correct way, I can not see if their fall protection is tied off to anything. It still is a long way from the original.