April showers bring May flowers…and despite the downpours, traffic control efforts must go on as construction crews continue to work through many kinds of weather conditions. Here in the Northwest, we face a little bit of every kind of weather, often times in just one day. However, the committed men and women working to keep our cities functioning and roads moving must brave the weather everyday. The appropriate gear will ensure the productivity, safety and assurance of no additional complication to a job well done. No one wants to be caught in the rain unprepared!
Working on roadways is already a high-risk environment with many hazards of it’s own. Add slippery, wet conditions often accompanied with darker lighting (when skies are gray!) and our crews have added adversity to accomplishing their tasks. High visibility, full-body gear is a necessity in order for motorists to adequately see workment in the field. Here at TraffiCorp, our gear meets the ASNI standards to keep our flaggers safe and as comfortable as possible on jobsites.
The Right Fit
Look for rain gear with the following characteristics:
Retro-Reflective: Rain gear needs to be reflective when anywhere near and on the roads. Especially during dim daylight or at night time, but particularly in wet weather. It must meet ASNI standards.
Waterproof: is an obvious must. Many claim water resistance. Look out for these claims and pay attention to material.
Resilient: Good quality rain gear will stand the test of time and wear, particularly in this job. Movement, weather, and every aspect of the construction and outdoor environment will be taxing on clothing. Robust materials of which many ASNI approved gear is made will be the best choice.
Lightweight and flexible: Rain gear doesn’t need to be heavy. It just needs to keep you dry. Look for rain pants and jackets that are lighter in weight and allow room for movement on the job.
Footwear with tread: is necessary for all conditions and environments in which roadwork takes place. It is important however, to have robust tread to prevent slips and falls in extra slick conditions. Also consider waterproofing the work boot upper material if it isn’t already with a spray repellent.
More tips for keeping dry
The material of rain gear is a considerable factor for suiting up appropriately. The composition of your gear will influence how it holds up in the elements and how comfortable it will be. Materials such as nylon, polyester, and polyvinyl chloride are waterproof but not breathable and could trap heat and sweat. Thankfully, the evolution of rain gear includes some pretty neat technological advances in material which allow for more breathability. Something to keep in mind though is that rain gear tends to lend less stretch due to its’ nature, so sizing up may help to more freely accommodate movement.
Staying dry is also reliant upon wearing gear properly. For example, jackets should be zipped up all the way, rain pants should be pulled overtop of the boot rather than tucked in. Fog proof safety glasses are also a wise option; when selecting them, opt for clear, amber, or blue lenses instead of black or darkened lenses which will inhibit visibility on rainy days. Keep phones, two-way radios, wallet, keys, etc., secured in zipped pockets of rain gear. If kept separately, place them in a dry bag or more inexpensively, a Ziplock bag! These are particularly great for two-way radios or phones necessary for communication between co workers.
Some final thoughts, consider the climate of the environment. Is it humid? Dry? Humidity will not be an ally in any way, so be sure to pay special attention to keeping hydrated! Water may be the last thing you think about on a wet day, but due to the purpose of waterproof gear reducing air flow, excess humidity will encourage sweating. So keep the water down despite the downpour!