Neon safety vests are a common sight at crosswalks and construction zones, where they're used to improve visibility and avoid collisions. But a transportation and logistics company has discovered that their benefits go far beyond that.
In April 2015, trucking company A. Duie Pyle began requiring employees to wear safety vests at all times. Across the carrier's 22 cross-docking freight terminals throughout the Northeast, drivers and dock workers donned lime green vests while their supervisors pulled on orange versions.
As expected, the company quickly saw a reduction in overall injuries, but statistics revealed a surprising trend. Not only did the move reduce the number of injuries involving vehicles, but it also reduced injuries and mistakes across the spectrum—from simple driving errors to forgetting to wear work gloves.
"The [safety vest requirement] was originally to protect someone from being hit by a truck or a forklift," said Randy Swart, chief operating officer of A. Duie Pyle. "But if you can get someone thinking about safety because they're wearing a vest, they're less likely to sprain their back, which has nothing to do with visibility. If the vest triggers that thought, then hallelujah!"
Overall, the company improved its safety record from 41,000 hours worked between "lost-time" injuries in 2013 to 45,000 hours in 2014, and 60,000 hours in 2015. The vests have also improved safety for drivers behind the wheel—where their vests can't even be seen. Pyle saw safety performance jump to 124,500 miles between preventable accidents in 2015 from 101,000 miles in 2014, Swart said.