Company Shirts - Does color come into play for safety?

krist003

Member
Location
USA
Hey there group,

I have a question on company shirts and what color is needed for safety. We do commercial electrical construction which mostly consists of ground-up or remodel educational and medical facilities, casino's, detention centers, office TI's, etc.

In the past, we have always provided some grey and some orange shirts for our crew. The thought process was that they could use the orange shirts for jobs that required them and the grey for smaller private jobs that didn't. A lot of our work these days require high visibility clothing with reflective stripes. We have vests that the crews wear to satisfy this requirement which negates the need for the orange shirts. We also do smaller private type jobs where it is not a construction environment and the orange is a little off putting sometimes when you need to keep a low profile on some projects.

Is there ever a time where an orange shirt would satisfy a safety requirement by itself? I'm thinking it may be best just to order all grey shirts from now on to keep inventory manageable. Then they can just wear the vest over it when required.

Any thoughts are greatly appreciated.
 

hbiss

EC, Westchester, New York NEC: 2014
Location
Hawthorne, New York NEC: 2014
Occupation
EC
I see solar crews with high-vis shirts and vests. But that's because their company wants people to think they are a utility company. :lol:

To answer your question, unless you have guys working along rights of way there is nothing that says they need to wear high-vis gear or vests. It also gets a little silly to have two "company" colors and have your employees change depending on what job they are doing. I would stick with the gray and make vests available when needed.

-Hal
 

tom baker

First Chief Moderator
Staff member
The fabric in some orange shirts does not breathe as well ss non orange. Vests are ok, i like them as the can have pockets. But the vest and shirt would be hotter than just shirt. I would suggest several vests in plastic bags in each rig just in case needed. You are right sometimes the orange shirts dont fit the job. I wore carhartt pocket tees for 20 years they are still my favorite. And i wore a vest most of the time, or a yellow jacket that met ansi standards.
not sure if I answered your question...
 

PaulMmn

Senior Member
Location
Union, KY, USA
I think the 'most visible' color is that greenish-yellow that reflectorized vests come in. I read somewhere that yellow for school buses is much more visible than red for fire trucks.

Some new emergency equipment comes in that greenish-yellow. I don't know if it's reflectorized or not!
 

krist003

Member
Location
USA
Thanks all. I appreciate the responses. We order thousands of dollars worth of shirts so I wanted to throw it out there in case I was not thinking of something.

To clarify, these are job specific requirements that general contractors/customers mandate, not Osha. The orange shirts used to satisfy a purpose on some jobs for us, but these days with most high profile jobs requiring reflective stripes in addition to hi vis, I can't see a need for them anymore.
 

Besoeker3

Senior Member
Location
UK
Occupation
Electrical Engineer
On site was for us high vis waist coasts or jackets. Reflective type. Safety boots, hard hat, and safety glasses.
Fifty years ago, my colleague could turn up in open toed sandals.
Times move on.
 

PaulMmn

Senior Member
Location
Union, KY, USA
Look at a red car in very low light. What color does it appear as?

Black.

-Hal

One of the power companies in NJ used to paint their road trucks maroon with yellow lettering. This was back in the 1950-1960s. A very attractive combination---- but not very visible at night! Now, they're yellow with (IIRC) maroon lettering.
 

wtucker

Senior Member
Location
Connecticut
OSHA requires high-vis when workers are exposed to traffic. Lot's of GC's and CM's assume that you'll be exposed to traffic at any moment, so they require high-vis. OSHA defines high-vis as meeting the requirements of the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices published by the Federal Highway Administration. They got their standard from ANSI/ISEA 107-2004, High-Visibility Safety Apparel and Headwear. That standard requires retroreflective stripes against a background of fluorescent yellow, orange or red, depending on the background. Generally, yellow stands out far better than orange or red. Here's a snapshot of the standard: http://www.idot.illinois.gov/Assets...ference to High-Visibility Safety Apparel.pdf
 
Location
California
Occupation
Lighting
Along with color, what about the fabric the shirt or uniform in question is made from. Having company shirts that are Flame Resistant (FR) goes a long way to being OSHA compliant, and offering another layer of protection for field personnel... especially when inspecting energized gear. The energized gear aspect falls under a whole different category when considering Arc Flash Ratings, level of entry, etc. But in general, all of my tech's have FR shirts, and jeans as the normal daily uniform. If we are conducting R.O.W. work, then we match the reflective attire to the agency that has jurisdiction and the speed rating of the roadway we are on. wtucker is right... Attire requirements are driven by MUTCD, the bible on traffic control. All agencies refer to this criteria.
Good luck in your Quest.
 

PaulMmn

Senior Member
Location
Union, KY, USA
One other issue concerning FR or reflectorized clothing-- how does the FR or reflector coating stand up to being tossed in the washer with all your other clothes? I know some FR coatings have cautions about certain types of laundry detergent. Some say do not use fabric softener!
 
Location
California
Occupation
Lighting
Good point about laundry! FR seems to be fine in the laundry, but is soap & softener sensitive (Brand depending), Full reflective clothing on the other hand we have dry cleaned. Some guys take it home, turn it inside out then launder it, but it's lifespan is severely reduced. Especially if overheated in the Dryer! Reflective finish shrinks, bubbles up, and begins to flake off! Best to adhere to the clothing label for care.
 
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