It’s becoming increasingly common for construction crews to apply their trade after dark. However, low visibility is the arch-nemesis of our hardworking road crews.
Although road construction crews would like to take a cue from a certain Octopus and emit bioluminesence, they’re stuck with the next best thing, HV-PPE’s. High Visibility Personal Protection Equipment (HV-PPE), commonly referred to as high visibility vests combat invisibility and save lives. These vests contrast the surrounding environment via vivid colors and reflective materials, much like that Octopus.
Many suggest that road construction strains our congested network of highways. In an attempt to lessen the strain on these congested arteries, much of the nation’s roadworks are done after dark. However, this trend leaves road construction crews all but invisible. According to the Laborer’s Health and Safety Fund (LHSFNA), Washington State’s Department of Transportation (WSDOT) has dubbed overnight construction projects “inherently more dangerous” due to low visibility and intoxicated drivers. Invisibility is deadly to the nation’s road crews. Additionally, the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) states that incidents at overnight construction zones tend to cause more serious injuries than those during the day.
After dark, motorists irresponsibly ignore traffic control signs and zip along the highway oblivious to the human element that toils among the asphalt pavers and excavators. Incidents, in this dim environment, are often fatal. However, high visibility vests increase the safety of road crews, these vests allow for visibility of vulnerable highway construction crews, visibility saves lives.
Knights wear shining armor, however, it’s a thin layer of reflective cloth that protects our road crews. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) accredits three, successively more visible, neon vests for the safety of those at risk from motor vehicle collision. Each of the three vests fulfills a different requirement for fluorescent background and length. Shorter designs allow for equipment belts and radios. The virtue of these vests rests in a novel invention by Harry Hetzler, Hetzler created the first reflective material by adding glass beads to paint.
It’s reflectivity that saves the lives of our construction crews. An HV-PPE’s reflectiveness allows road construction crews to be visible after dark. Moreover, it’s essential that motorists heed orange signs and pay attention while traversing a road construction zone, for the safety of everyone.