Top Ten 2016 OSHA Violations Announced

As is the norm at the annual National Safety Council (NSC) Congress and Expo, the preliminary top ten safety violations for the year were announced. Here’s the list…

  1. Fall Protection, 6,929 violations
  2. Hazard Communication, 5,677 violations
  3. Scaffolds, 3,906 violations
  4. Respiratory Protection, 3,585 violations
  5. Lockout/Tagout, 3,414 violations
  6. Powered Industrial Trucks, 2,860 violations
  7. Ladders, 2,639 violations
  8. Machine Guarding, 2,451 violations
  9. Electrical Wiring, 1,940 violations
  10. Electrical, General Requirements, 1,704 violations

Compare to last years list:

  1. Fall Protection, 6,721 violations
  2. Hazard Communication, 5,192 violations
  3. Scaffolding, 4,295 violations
  4. Respiratory Protection, 3,305 violations
  5. Lockout/Tagout, 3,002 violations
  6. Powered Industrial Trucks, 2,760 violations
  7. Ladders, 2,489 violations
  8. Electrical – Wiring Methods, 2,404 violations
  9. Machine Guarding, 2,295 violations
  10. Electrical – General Requirements, 1,973 violations

Only numbers 8 and 9 switched places.

New Quantitative Fit Testing Method Proposal

If you want your employees fit-tested using quantitative fit-testing methods, it presently takes 7.2 minutes if done in accordance with the present standard.

Admitting that this might be a bit long, OSHA is proposing to adopt three new fit test methods, one for each of the main types of respirators used when doing quantitative fit testing: Full-Face Respirators, Half-Mask Respirators and Filtering Facepiece Respirators (FFR). These new methods would be known, respectively as the “Fast-Full Method”, “The Fast-Half Method” (OSHA was wise enough not to invert those first two words and label it the Half-Fast Method as it might be awkward for fit testers to explain to their clients why they were doing a half-fast job of fit testing employees!) and the Fast FFR Method.

Essentially these new methods would “include only 3 of the 7 current test exercises (i.e., bending, head side-to-side, and head up-and-down) plus a new exercise (i.e., jogging-in-place), and reduce each exercise duration“. These “Fast Methods” would reduce the time it takes to fit test someone down to 2.5 minutes instead of the current 7.2 minutes.

OSHA is presently seeking comments on this proposed amendment to the fit testing standard. Comments and further clarification can be found online at:

Get the Right Reflexive Tape

You purchased your hi-vis rainwear, safety vest, T-shirt or sweatshirt and you believe that you are now highly visible (that is, after all, what hi-vis means, right?). You may be surprised, however to discover that you aren’t as visible as you think. Why? Because not all reflective tape is created equal.

There are primarily two types of reflective tape:

  1. Glass Bead Reflective Material


    Glass Bead reflective tape is made up of thousands of microscopic glass beads (hence the name) “glued” to the tape material. When light is aimed at the tape the tiny glass beads reflect the light back making the wearer “light up”.
    The nature of the glass bead tape makes it highly flexible and lightweight.
    a. The big problem with glass bead tape is that it loses it’s reflective quality when it gets wet. Many people who are wearing a reflective garment with glass bead tape do not realize how much of their reflectivity is lost when the garment is wet, putting them at risk when working outside in the rain at night.
    b. Glass bead tape does not resist abrasion well.

  2. Prismatic Reflective Material


    Prismatic reflective material is made up of thousands of “micro-prisms” that are covered with a transparent film.
    a. The prismatic material is waterproof and does not lose it’s reflective quality when wet.
    b. It is much more abrasion resistant than glass bead material
    Prismatic reflective material is not as flexible or lightweight as glass bead material making it feel somewhat restrictive at times.

Additional note:
Although glass bead material is more flexible (able to bend easily with the garment) it is not stretchable (neither is prismatic material) and because of that it can break. In order to address that problem manufacturers are now able to lay the reflective glass bead tape in strips, allowing the garment to stretch without tearing the reflective tape (see image below).


If you are purchasing a T-shirt, a sweatshirt or any other garment that stretches, consider purchasing one with this type of reflective tape.

Understanding the new cut resistant standard

ANSI/ISEA 105-2016

The new ANSI/ISEA 105-2016 standard for cut resistance now has 9 levels of cut resistance
instead of 5. The reason for this new standard has to do with the gamut covered by cut level
4 and cut level 5 in the old standard. Cut level 4 spanned from 1500g of cut resistance to
3499g of cut resistance while cut level 5 spanned from 3500g to over 7000g. This meant that,
although two gloves might both be rated as a cut level 5 glove, one could, in fact, have twice
the cut resistance of the other (where the one glove is rated at 3500g and the other one at
7000g). The new standard eliminates the cut level 4 and 5 of the old standard and replaces
them with 6 narrower, more defined ones as seen in the graph on the following page.
The new standard is differentiated from the old standard by the letter A in front of the cut
level. The new standard therefore lists the cut level as ANSI A1, ANSI A2, ANSI A3, etc…

Be aware, however, that because the new standard is not mandatory, you might not see
certain manufacturer making the switch, especially if it means footing the cost of retesting
each glove. It is therefore up to you as the end user to make sure you pay attention to the
rating itself, printed on the glove to see if it is a plain ANSI 1, ANSI2, etc… or the new ANSI
A1, ANSI A2, etc…


Download the white-paper of this blog post


Understanding the Standard for High-Visibility Clothing

High-visibility (abbreviated as hi-vis) clothing was designed to make you easier to spot when you are at a work site, out for a walk where vehicles are present or any other time you want to make sure that you are seen. All hi-vis clothing, however, is not created equal. There are different classes, different levels and different types.

The purpose of this paper is to help you navigate these differences to make sure that you have the best protection as well as being compliant.

The ANSI/ISEA 107-2015 standard was designed by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) along with the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) in order to determine which hi-vis vest, jacket, raingear, etc… needs to be worn in which situation in order to make sure that employees are visible enough to maintain a safe working environment.

Hi-vis garments are available in raingear, sweatshirts, T-shirts, pants, vests, fall protection vests, hats and incident command vests


There are only three colors that meet the standard. These colors are fluorescent yellow-green,

fluorescent orange-red and fluorescent red. Any other color does not meet the standard. Be aware of this as there are many different color vests available. Only these three colors meet the standard.

Class 1, 2, 3 and E

There are three classes of hi-vis clothing, each for a specific job application

Class 1 – Designed for areas that are removed from traffic or where the traffic that is present never exceeds 25 MPH.

A Class 1 vest or jacket must have a minimum of 6.46 linear feet of 2″ reflective tape or 9.39 linear feet of 1 3.8″ reflective tape and at least 217 in2 of high-visibility background material.

Class 2 – Designed for areas where the traffic does not exceed 50 MPH. As a general rule this includes most roadways but excludes highways.

A Class 2 garment must have a minimum of 8.375 linear feet of 2″ reflective tape or 12.2 linear feet of 1 3.8″ reflective tape and at least 775 in2 of high-visibility background material

Class 3 – Designed for highways and roadways where speeds will exceed 50 MPH.

A Class 3 garment must have a minimum of 12.92 linear feet of 2″ reflective tape and at least 1240 in2 of high-visibility background material.

Class E – Designed for pants. A Class E pair of pants adds additional background material and reflective tape so that, when combined with a class 2 vest, coat or jacket, we end up with a Class 3 assemble.

Level 1 and 2

In addition to having a “class” rating, you will often see a hi-vis garment with a “level” rating. The level rating actually applies to the reflective tape on the garment. Level 1 retro reflective tape must exceed 65cd/(lx • m2) at observation angle 12° and entrance angle 5° cd/(lx/m2) and a level 2 must exceed 330cd/(lx • m2) at observation angle 12° and entrance angle 5°.

Type “O’, “P” and “R”

Finally, there is also a “type” classification for hi-vis garment designed to reflect the environment in which they are used.

Type O – The “O” stands for “Off-road”.

Type R – The “R” stands for “Roadway”

Type P – The “P” stands for “Public Safety”

Additional considerations

Many hi-vis garments are now also available in a flame resistant material for work in environments where flammability is an issue. Look for the “FR” on the label.

Counterfeits and Fakes

There are plenty of hi-vis garments out there that are made with inferior materials that do not meet the standard. These garments may or may not have fake labels in them that say that they are ANSI approved when, in fact, they are not. Only purchase garment made by trusted manufacturers like M. L. Kishigo, PIP, Radians, Tingley, Majestic, Ergodyne, Blaklader and Occunomix.


Download the “Understanding the Standard for High-Visibility Clothing” whitepaper