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Safety doesn’t happen by accident

June 1, 2016 - Indoors or out, in the bush or at the mill, you can reduce injury risks by outfitting your team with fully compliant personal protective clothing and equipment.

June 6, 2016  By Mark's Commercial

What is hi-vis?
Hi-vis personal protective clothing (PPC) and personal protective equipment (PPE) help protect workers by making them more visible on the work site. This happens when workers wear bright colours and/or stripes that contrast against their environment during the day. At night, reflective trim keeps them visible. Hi-vis clothing is mainly worn on the torso—as a shirt, vest or coverall—but may also be worn as pants, a hard hat or gloves. 

When is hi-vis needed?
Hi-vis is required when workers must be visible—“conspicuous” is the industry term—in daytime and low-light conditions. Workers are safer when they’re clearly visible to coworkers on foot, driving vehicles and operating equipment or machinery. 

Hi-vis safety requirements vary across Canada. Consult your local safety association to learn the requirements for your province or territory. 

What are the standards for hi-vis PPE?
The two main standards for hi-vis are CSA (Canadian Standards Association) and ANSI (American National Standards Institute). 


CSA Z96-15, Canada’s standard for High-Visibility Safety Apparel (HVSA), establishes baselines for how well hi-vis material reflects light (retroreflective performance), what background material colours should be used, and how much of the body should be covered with hi-vis material. 

CSA Z96.1-08 is a guide for selection, care and use that helps determine types of garments needed to keep workers conspicuous at their work sites.

ANSI/ISEA 107-15 is the American standard for HVSA, similar to CSA Z96, and more commonly used on US work sites.

What is FR?
Flame-resistant or FR clothing protects workers in environments where thermal hazards exist. Intended to reduce or eliminate injuries to workers in the event of a flash fire or electric arc flash, FR material acts as a thermal barrier and, most importantly, doesn’t continue to burn after the thermal incident is over. FR PPE typically covers the body from neck to wrists and ankles. Additional FR may be used to cover head, hands and feet.

When is FR needed?
FR clothing is required any time there is a thermal hazard risk on site. Most provinces require protection appropriate to the hazard. The industry standards below may help you determine the appropriate protective garments for your workers.

What are the standards for FR PPE?
The main organizations for FR standards are CGSB (Canadian General Standards Board), NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) and ASTM International.  


Flash Fire Protection
CGSB 155.20: Workwear for protection against hydrocarbon flash fire.

CGSB 155.21: Recommended practices for the provision and use of workwear for protection against hydrocarbon flash fire.

NFPA 2112: Standard on FR garments for protection of industrial personnel against flash fire.

NFPA 2113: Standard on selection, care, use and maintenance of FR garments for protection of industrial personnel against short-duration thermal exposures. 

Electric Arc Protection
CSA Z462: Workplace electrical safety. 

NFPA 70E: Standard for electrical safety in the workplace.

ASTM F2733: Standard specification for FR rainwear for protection against flame hazards.

ASTM F1506:  Standard performance specification for FR and arc-rated textile materials for wearing apparel for use by electrical workers exposed to momentary electric arc and related thermal hazards.

ASTM F1891:  Standard specification for arc-resistant and FR rainwear.

Better protection means better performance
FR standards can be complex, but Mark’s Commercial is here to help. We’re dedicated to improving current FR standards and to helping our customers fully understand the requirements for PPE. Mark’s is a highly active member of both CGSB and ASTM protective clothing standards committees.

Talk to us about how you can create safe and compliant PPE programs for your workers. We can also help you set up an uninterrupted bulk wholesale supply of critical PPC and PPE for your crew—delivered where and when you need it. 

To make safety work for you, visit markscommercial.ca.  

Mark’s Commercial is Canada’s most comprehensive industrial workwear, footwear, PPE and business-wear outfitter.

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