Safety is a major concern for outdoor workers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statics (BLS), 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses were reported by private industry employers in 2018, unchanged from 2017. These accidents occur due to a lack of following safety guidelines. A large portion of these accidents resulted from a lack of required personal protective equipment (PPE) for the related tasks at hand.
BLS indicates that heat stress caused about 2,830 nonfatal occupational illnesses and about 37 work-related deaths. From the summer months of June through September 2015; 33 of the 37 fatal work injuries were caused by exposure to environmental heat. In 2015 alone, Texas and California had the highest number of nonfatal injuries and illnesses with days away from work. Kansas and South Carolina had the highest rates of nonfatal injuries and illnesses from environmental heat.
Workers exposed to cold temperatures are at risk of cold stress. Without the proper personal protective equipment (PPE), cold stress can lead to serious injury. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports cold stress can even be fatal so being aware of the risks and preparing ahead of time is critical to keeping workers safe on the job in cold weather conditions. According to the BLS, in 2017, there were over 20,000 occupational injuries related to ice, sleet, and snow, 14 percent (2,890 cases) of which occurred in New York State.
The purpose of PPE is to ensure that workers, especially those who work in an outdoor environment or places with a high risk of injury, are protected. When actively engaged in work, the symptoms of these conditions may be overlooked. Workers should stay vigilant for the signs of each condition for themselves as well as any others working with them. If any of these symptoms are experienced or observed, it is critical they stop what they are doing and seek the appropriate treatment. Wearing the appropriate PPE in an outdoor environment can reduce heat or cold stress, worker visibility, and other physical related hazards.
OSHA PPE Standards for Outside Workers
OSHA provides a comprehensive framework to ensure that outside workers are well protected against occupational hazards. Employers are required to assess hazard levels in the work environment and evaluate workers’ possible risk exposure. They are also expected to implement safety measures at work and ensure that workers make use of the necessary PPE.
For many employers, the major challenge with complying with OSHA standards is conducting a job hazard analysis. As difficult as this may seem, it is essential in determining the safety precautions to be put in place. To avoid liability for any damage done to outside workers while carrying out a task, employers are expected to be aware of OSHA’s standards. These standards ensure workers are protected and reduce the possible risk in a work environment to a minimum.
Hand Protection for Outside Working Environments
Many outdoor workers mainly expose their hands to various elements that can be hazardous. Hand injuries account for more than 23% of reported workplace injuries, according to the BLS. The facts are 70% of these workplace accident victims were not wearing hand gloves. The other 30% were not wearing the proper gloves to fit the specific application. Although hand injuries are usually not fatal, their cost in terms of treatment and lost man-hours are high and more importantly, can be prevented. According to OSHA, in the US, an injured worker could spend an average of 14 days away from work.
According to the BLS, there were over 143,000 workplace accidents in 2015. Most of these cases would not have occurred if these workers just wore proper hand protection in their workplaces. That is why it is important to continually raise the bar on what it means to value safety. OSHA regulations have also helped direct the most ideal hand protection per application.
Are you looking for hand protection solutions for outside workers?
Equip yourself with the LGS Hand Protection line up!
A4926 PU coated gloves with ANSI A4 cut level
These 13-gauge high-quality polyurethane palm coated gloves are made with superior comfort without compromising the cut rating. It has been constructed to be durable and ergonomically knitted to prevent hand fatigue. Find out more, click here.
0928 Premium Cotton Cord Impact Gloves with ARMOTEX® thumb crotch
XScepter™ premium cotton cord impact gloves are well constructed for oil absorption. With TPR impact protection at the back of the hand, fingers, and fingertips. Double-stitched neoprene cuff for extra durability with the pull tab. For more information about this impact gloves, click here.
SP4638BK PU-Coated Gloves with a polyester shell
These precision work gloves are made with a 13-gauge and polyurethane palm-coated gloves are perfect for general-purpose applications. It is designed with maximum breathability and high dexterity that makes it extremely comfortable for outside workers. For more information about this product, click here.
0950 Premium Cold Weather Impact Gloves with 3M® Thinsulate® lining
Daybreaker® Striker X™ Impact Gloves is a premium synthetic leather cold-weather impact gloves. It is constructed of 3M® Thinsulate® and Raotex™ waterproof lining, double-stitched neoprene cuff for extra durability with pull tab. TPR at the backhand, fingers, and fingertips, to improve the impact absorption. For more information about these impact gloves, click here.
Clothing Apparel for Outside Working Environments
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report, “The most common event associated with fatal occupational injuries incurred at a road construction site was worker struck by vehicle, mobile equipment. Of the 639 total fatal occupational injuries at road construction sites during the 2003–07period, 305 were due to a worker being struck by a vehicle or mobile equipment.”
The BLS article further reports that more workers are struck and killed by construction equipment (38 percent) than by cars, vans, and tractor-trailers (33 percent). As such, the work zone “runovers” and “backovers” are clearly the greatest hazard to roadway construction workers and, by far, the leading cause of death. High-visibility safety apparel is clothing that can improve worker’s visibility. This includes head to toe safety gear in hi-visibility colors, and under OSHA hi-visibility standards.
Other stresses in outside working environments include cold stress and heat stress. Cold stress occurs when workers are exposed to cold working temperatures. Without the proper personal protective equipment (PPE), cold stress can lead to serious injuries. OSHA reports cold stress can even be fatal, awareness of the risks, and preparing ahead of time is critical to keeping workers safe on the job. Heat stress occurs when there is an exposure to extreme heat or high temperature working environments, and hyperthermia occurs. OSHA has provided some insights that can be helpful to workplace settings; which include: PPE cooling products, shades, canopies, and other mediums that can be used to prevent contact with direct sunlight or extreme exposures to heat.
Are you looking for clothing apparel for outside workers?
Check out LGS competitive hi-vis apparel and bump caps.
C16600G Class 2 Moisture Wicking T-Shirts, available in short or long sleeve
HiVizGard™ moisture-wicking T-shirts are made of a 100% wicking polyester. With two-inch-wide silver retroreflective stripes and an upper outside chest pocket secures small items while working. For more information about this protective clothing, click here.
1410 Baseball Bump Caps, available in assorted colors
Durashell™ all-in-one baseball bump cap is a working cap that is best for outside workers. With an inner foam cushion for extended wear and air holes on both sides for ventilation. This one-size-fits-all cap is not ANSI-rated and not suitable for applications that require safety standards for industrial head protection. For more information about this protective cap, click here.
No doubt, working in outside environments comes with higher exposure risks. With the right PPE, employers can ensure the worker’s safety. Depending on the circumstances and potential hazards work environment, Liberty Glove & Safety offers a complete PPE product line.
For the full lineup of head to toe personal protective equipment for outdoor workers visit our website here.