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Choosing a good hi-vis jacket

With the (official) winter in the UK beginning on 21 December, and most of Africa experiencing the rainy season, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got yourself covered with a good quality hi-vis jacket that’s insulated, waterproof, or windproof… or maybe all three?

For employees working outside there is the added consideration of choosing a jacket that meets the high visibility specification requirements for the job. This has been previously covered in a previous blog – read it here.

When it comes to choosing the right hi-vis jacket, the outside provides the protection and the inside needs to consider breathability. For different people in different roles the importance of each of these varies, which is why there is a large range of jackets available in the market.

What are the typical styles for hi-vis jackets?

There are four ‘typical’ styles of workwear jackets – a flyer jacket (sometimes called a bomber jacket), a parka (we like this 4-in-1 jacket from BROQ Safety), softshell jackets and fleeces. There is also the more lightweight style in the rain jacket.

Water resistant and windproof is normally pretty important for a winter jacket. But for people working inside warehouses or doing deliveries, the fleece is a good, warm option.

For those working in a humid environment, the best waterproof solution is the rain jacket. With these, it’s important to understand what you’re buying. PU and PVC are both different kinds of imitation leather, but they differ in both material type and the way they are made. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is made by chemically altering vinyl. Polyurethane (PU) is made from leather leftovers and polyurethane – more typically seen in the parkas and flying jackets. PVC is generally the cheaper of the two and does not allow for much breathability.

Softshell jackets have been rising in popularity as a modern alternative to the fleece. They are made from a woven material in contrast to the stiffer material of a hard shell (or waterproof) jacket like the parka. Softshells bridge the gap between a fleece and a fully waterproof jacket. They are not as lightweight as a fleece but offer better breathability than parkas. They have high wicking properties to keep you dry when active but may not be windproof.

The best option for  a warm, waterpoof jacket

If you’re looking for a fully waterproof protective jacket, the flyer or the parka is your best bet. These are typically made with 300 Denier 100% Polyester yarn – a tough fabric for tough conditions. 300D fabric has excellent abrasion and tear resistance but offers little to nothing in regards to insulation.

And it’s the insulation which actually keeps you warm, trapping your body heat from escaping. Insulation includes down feathers, synthetic fibers, and synthetic textile with a high nap fleecy side known as ‘pile’. All do a good job to keep you warm and the higher the thickness of the insulation, the warmer you stay.

To make sure the jacket is completely waterproof, check for taped and sealed seams. Some jackets will use waterproof zippers while others use storm flaps to keep rain and wind chill out. Ribbed cuffs like those featured on the Flying Jacket are good but only allow only for over the top style of gloves (unless you don’t mind stretching the fabric out). Looser cuffs can let in cold drafts too easily.

The misconception is that you have to pay the big bucks for quality but there really is no need to break the bank with your hi-vis jacket. Take a look at some of the good quality jackets from the BROQ SAFETY range and ask us about options to suit your requirements – contact us

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Safety range clearance – clothing and equipment

Browse our safety range clearance lines below and get in touch for pricing and availability.

All clearance products are at cost or below pricing. Save now on quality safety equipment, high-visibility clothing and other consumables.

 

Safety Glasses

 

Safety gloves

 

Dust masks / respirators

 

High-visibility Clothing

 

Other

  • Wind-up safety torch
  • Traffic cone (920mm)
  • Barrier tapes
  • Flagging tape
  • Wheel chock
  • Electrical tape
  • Cable ties
  • Masking tape
  • PVC duct tape
  • Brass padlock (30mm)
  • Key cabinet (48)
  • Hose clamps
  • Trimming knife
  • Pipe wrench (various sizes)
  • Measuring tape 5m and 8m
  • Spirit level

 

Get in touch now for pricing and availability.

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BROQ Insect Armour – be protected

We are excited to introduce our new innovative product range – BROQ Insect Armour. Insect Armour is designed to provide ultimate protection for outdoor workers against disease carrying mosquitoes.

Mosquitos carrying diseases such as Malaria, Murray Valley virus, Ross River virus, Barmah Forest virus, dengue fever, Chikungunya, Zika etc are posing a real threat to people working in outdoor environments. They are responsible for carrying and spreading viruses throughout previously safe areas, including the southern parts of Australia, reaching as far as Tasmania.

Conventional protection measures include wearing long sleeve clothing, and using netting and insect repellent for the skin. However, netting is not always practical and insect repellents contain the pesticide DEET (which can pose a bigger danger to health than the mosquitoes themselves).

These were the motivating factors behind our decision to develop Insect Armour.

The BROQ Insect Armour product range

The range includes a treatment that employs a unique technology, which has been validated via various Australian and international studies. It has been proven to reduce landings and feeding by up to 92%; in many cases even 100%. Of course, mosquitoes cannot spread disease if they cannot land.

The treatment also reduces the number of colony forming units of bacteria, spores, virus and fungi which delivers the additional benefit of making the range ‘allergy-friendly’. The treatment is manufactured to world standards ISO 9001 & 9002 and is Oeko Tex Registered.

The workwear collection in the Insect Armour range includes

  • high visibility drill shirts
  • navy high visibility pants
  • high visibility coveralls

All clothing is compliant with industry standards, including the 50mm reflective tape and high visibility material.

The latest addition to the range is the Anti-Mosquito Spray. This handy spray is formulated for direct application onto clothing, bedding, mosquito nets, jackets, coats, umbrellas, tents, socks, boots, car seats and other suitable fabrics and surfaces.

Key benefits of BROQ Insect Armour

  • human safe and earth safe formulation that does not irritate, has no side effects, does not emit VOCs, and has no heavy metal content
  • treated articles, once discarded rapidly biodegrade, leaving no harmful residues for future generations
  • available in both pre-treated workwear or handy textile spray

Insect Armour workwear is currently protecting workers in 22 countries around the world. This includes clothing applications for drilling, mining and construction companies. Insect Armour is the ideal clothing solution as part of your  health protection programs. Learn more here

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How to choose the best high visibility clothing

Whether you are running a small warehouse or an oil and gas rig, high-visibility clothing (hi vis) is a critical part of keeping your employees safe. Different industries have different requirements. And there are various standardised tests to validate if workwear meets certain standards (which vary by region as well). Of course there is a temptation to go for the cheapest option, but with your employee’s safety on the line, it’s simply not worth taking that risk. I have outlined some of the key things to consider when deciding on your hi vis clothing range below.

Clothing / workwear that meets your needs

  1. Risk: by understanding the risks present in the workplace you can make sure that your clothing is fit for purpose. For example, if there is risk of fire you should consider flame protection. Or if the environment is low risk, such a small warehouse with no running forklifts, a hi vis vest may be sufficient. A highly static environment might call for anti-static workwear.
  2. Use: will employees be working day and night or just day? Different types of clothing exist for each and by not selecting the right protection, as an employer you may be liable if injury does occur. For day use only, fluorescent colours alone are are often suitable. The vivid colours show up well against most backgrounds and don’t blend in. At night however, reflective material is required so that it shows up when lights shine on them. Glowing reflective strips contrast with night time backgrounds so you are always visible to anything or anybody approaching.
  3. Comfort: clothing must never be restrictive to an employee’s job. It must comfortable, not too tight or too hot. If employers get it wrong they will not only increase the risk of workplace-related injuries, they will also end up with unhappy employees.
  4. Compatibility: hi vis clothing is just one part of the full personal protective equipment range that employees may be required to wear. Clothing selected should be checked to make sure it is suitable alongside other items of PPE.

Get to know safety standards

PPE and hi vis clothing is governed by well established safety standards. These vary slightly between three main authorities but in general the features that are tested are consistent across them all. Your location often determines which standard you should be using, if in doubt check with your local Occupational Health and Safety body.

  • In the UK, the safety standards which must be followed are British/ European Standard BS EN 471. All hi vis clothing must bear the ‘CE’ mark to prove it has met this standard.
  • In Australia hi vis clothing must be tested and comply to the AS/NZS 4602.1:2011.
  • Another standard that you might come across includes ANSI/SEA 107 – the American National Standard for High-Visibility Safety Apparel.

It is absolutely critical to validate that your clothing complies with an approved safety standard. When hi vis clothing is tested and approved features that are checked include fluorescent material (quality, colour, luminance), the retroreflective material and combined performance material. Clothing is also assessed against the minimum width requirements for retroreflective materials and the number and design of bands.

Of course depending on your risk and usage needs you may require additional features for your hi vis. Many of which have their own additional standards (ie flame retardant, electrostatic protection).

Company’s responsibility

It is a company’s responsibility to make sure their employees (& anyone visiting their workplace) is kept safe from harm. Most workplaces have health and safety protocols in place – and this is where your high visibility clothing policy should also be included.

Hi vis clothing should be provided free of charge to workers who are exposed to risks in their job. This clothing must be well maintained and replaced regularly. Employees should also be trained in the use of clothing and understand why it’s important that they use it in line with the policy.

Find a trusted clothing & PPE supplier

UK’s Risks publication revealed that many retailers are selling fake or poor standard high visibility clothing. In the worst case, they can offer just over 1 per cent of the reflection required under the European Standard. So it’s easy to see that by not selecting a supplier you trust you are taking a gamble that’s just not worth the cheaper price.

Our advice is to find a trusted supply partner for your clothing and personal protective equipment. And make sure you have sight of any standards that the clothing claims to comply with. You may choose to send your items for independent testing (this is something we can help with!).

Have a chat with us about your high visibility clothing requirements.

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BROQ Safety goes online!

We are pleased to announce the launch of our new BROQ Safety website which showcases our full range of workwear and accessories, and the technology behind it. 

BROQ SAFETY offers the essentials for on-the-job protection with eye wear, respiratory protection, safety gloves and hi vis workwear.

Take a look around and get in touch for more information.

The team at BROQ Safety