Warning Lights

HOW TO IMPROVE SAFETY WHEN LOW VISIBILITY STRIKES

safety low visibility

Construction is a hazardous occupation. Road construction specifically is ranked as one of the most dangerous occupations in the world. In Canada alone, a shocking one in five worker deaths is construction-related.

Add poor visibility, due to working overnight, dusty worksites, and difficult weather conditions, and this already dangerous job just became a lot more threatening.

Keep your workers safe with North America’s leader in high-quality warning lights. For over 50 years, SWS Warning Lights has been designing and handcrafting a wide arrangement of safety products with an uncompromising approach to quality and durability.

In today’s blog, we’ll be looking at the several risks that exist when working in a low-visibility environment and how the various models of safety lights and backup alarms offered by SWS Warning Lights provide you and your commercial fleet with the exceptional performance you need to get the job done, no matter the application.

Risks that exist in a Low-visibility Work Environment

As winter and its dark days draw near, it’s important to be mindful of the several risks that exist when working at a poorly visible work site. From working on a highway late into the night to a loading bay at dusk, poor visibility makes it incredibly difficult to see workers and their equipment, putting them and those nearby at an increased risk of serious injury or death.

To understand just how pervasive this issue is, let’s take a look at some of the common risks that plague low-visibility work sites.

Struck-by objects/equipment

Workers frequenting industrial work sites with poor visibility face an increased risk of being struck by objects and/or equipment. In fact, research demonstrates that struck-by-vehicle deaths are more likely to involve construction workers than any other occupation, with one in four deaths involving these professionals.

According to the Infrastructure Health & Safety Association (IHSA), the most serious struck-by injuries occur when a worker is stuck by a moving vehicle or piece of equipment. Other common causes include being struck by a falling or flying object, like a nail or piece of falling equipment, and a worker slipping or falling and being struck by the tools and/or materials in their hands.

While these struck-by injuries are a concern for all industries year-round, low visibility significantly perpetuates the issue.

Dust and Dirt

Dust and dirt are other risks that thrive in poorly lit work sites. Both can fill the air and create a thick, fog-like layer that makes it difficult for workers to see past their immediate surroundings.

This decreased visibility can prompt work sites to become incredibly dangerous, especially for those driving or using heavy machinery. Combine this limited visibility with the increased darkness that accompanies fall and winter, and work sites are destined to become hazardous.

Difficult Weather Conditions

Weather conditions and limited visibility are a lethal combination. On their own, strong winds, heavy rain, fog, and snow greatly affect the chances of an accident occurring on a work site. Add the increased darkness experienced during the cooler months and your work site becomes an increasingly hazardous environment.

As a matter of fact, using heavy equipment and machinery is especially dangerous in this case. Torrential downpours could hinder the view of workers and snow could lead to slippery conditions that could steer a driver off course.

Working when darkness falls

The above external risks are not the only ones posing a threat to workers’ safety… Working at night also affects your team’s mental and physical health.

Thanks to our circadian rhythms, we are naturally dispositioned to be most active during the day and rest during the night.

At night, the human body releases melatonin, which regulates our sleep-wake cycle and subsequently impacts our alertness. Working through dark nights disrupts this process and may lead to increased fatigue, stress, and lack of concentration. This lack of awareness on the job can ultimately lead to on-site errors, poor judgment, and possible accidents.

The importance of Efficient Temporary Lighting

According to findings published by Safety + Health magazine, construction workers who begin their shift in the evening or at night are more likely to sustain serious injuries.

Thankfully there is a way you can limit this risk­ ­– adequate work site lighting.

Efficient lighting on work sites not only guarantees workers’ safety and health but enables them to detect and avoid hazards, thus increasing productivity and allowing your commercial fleet to deliver the high-quality work they’re known for.

Not convinced? Here are some other reasons why lighting is vital for evening and night construction:

  • Construction sites are constantly developing so having adequate lighting is critical for emergency evacuation situations
  • Proper lighting increases worker productivity and prevents employees from having to redo certain parts of the job
  • Sufficient lighting can help complete the job within the specified deadline
  • Lighting is vital for the safe movement of vehicles within a work zone. Proper work site lighting decreases vehicular collisions and pedestrian falls
  • A work site is in a constant state of flux. Having proper lighting can allow workers and pedestrians to see and avoid the potential risks that exist, limiting the likelihood of injuries

Types of Lighting for Construction Sites

There are several different types of temporary lights that your team can make use of during the dark hours. Let’s look at some of the most common options available.

Balloon Lights

Balloon lights are composed of a spherical or balloon-shaped translucent material, which surrounds one or more high-intensity lamps. The translucent material disperses light and reduces its glare. Some balloon lights are even made with reflective coatings to direct beams downward.

These types of lights are highly valued for their ability to evenly distribute light rather than generate a concentrated beam. Compared to other lighting sources, they can emit just the right amount of illumination with a lot less glare.

Equipment-Mounted Lights

When working with heavy machines like excavators and concrete pavers, it’s crucial to have a great amount of light.

While some of these machines may come with factory-installed lights, most of them are unable to generate the light required for the task at hand. These pre-installed lights are also prone to producing excessive glare and oftentimes are unable to be adjusted toward the areas requiring the greatest amount of light.

Equipment-mounted lights offer a great solution. They provide work sites with a sufficient source of continuous lighting, allowing employees to focus solely on operating heavy machinery and the task at hand.

Portable light towers

Another type of light you can utilize at your work site is portable light towers. It’s compromised of multiple lamps, which are then attached to a single mast.

Portable light towers are easy to set up, can be used at virtually any worksite, and come with a built-in generator.

Truck-Mounted Work Lights

Truck-mounted work lights are another way you can light up your work site. These types of lights are specifically beneficial when no other ambient light is available. They bring light directly to your workspace, whether outdoors on a construction site or indoors working with forklifts or other machinery.

LED Warning lights

The final way you can improve visibility on-site is by setting up LED warning lights.

Warning lights are especially beneficial to work sites located near roadways as they alert oncoming vehicles to proceed with caution when approaching the work zone ahead.

How SWS can help ensure safety at your work site

At SWS, we offer a wide variety of warning lights that can help increase the level of safety at your work site.

LED Beacon Lights

Our LED Beacon Lights are used in a multitude of industries.

In Ontario, volunteer firefighters specifically rely on green beacon lights. When flashing they signal to other motorists that they’re responding to an emergency call.

Our blue flashing beacon lights are used on snowplow vehicles. Its unique colour, used primarily on snow removal equipment, grabs the attention of motorists and alerts them of the equipment working nearby.

Finally, our amber beacon lights. These lights provide a visual alert to hazardous conditions. As soon as people see an amber light flashing, they know to proceed with caution. When used on a vehicle, the amber beacon light indicates that the vehicle may pose an obstacle to traffic, which is why you may see them on large vehicles like snow ploughs.

Regardless of the colour, our LED beacons can help increase safety at your worksite. By notifying oncoming vehicles and pedestrians of work zones, emergency vehicles, and hazardous conditions, our durable LED beacons tackle low visibility head-on.

Learn more about them here.

Traffic Arrows

When working on public roads, construction crew safety is a must, especially when it comes to traffic control.

That’s why our team of engineers utilized the latest LED technology to develop a traffic arrow that better manages traffic and improves construction crew safety and productivity. The round modular head employs a dual optic with nine flood-style optics for maximum viewing angle and three narrow beam optics to maximize the projection distance.

Learn more about our selection of traffic arrows here.

Minibars

Enhancing your fleet’s visibility while on the road or job site has never been so easy! Our selection of minibars helps improve the safety of your vehicle, work crews, and job sites by ensuring that you’re seen even on the darkest of days.

And don’t let the slim profile of our minibars fool you. They sacrifice nothing in terms of visibility, durability, and reliability.

Learn more about them here.

Illumination

Is your worksite lacking ambient light? Brighten up your workspace with our series of Illumination safety lights. There are two different types of truck-mounted work lights in this series: The Go Light and Exterior Worklight.

The Go Light provides a narrow beam that can be seen at well over 3,000+ feet while the Exterior Worklight includes a dim and full brightness mode.

You can count on both of these warning lights to provide you with the well-lit space you need to get the job done. Learn more about them here.

Ensure Safety on All Fronts

Our industrial-grade warning lights aren’t the only safety products that can help increase safety on your worksite. Our engineers also handcraft backup alarms for commercial vehicles!

By ensuring drivers and pedestrians are aware of large commercial vehicles, SWS backup alarms provide an additional measure of safety and precaution to keep you safe all year long!

At SWS we offer two main types of backup alarms: injection moulded ABS alarms and die-cast aluminum alarms:

Injection Moulded ABS

Select Series

Part No. 99202

Our Backup Alarm 97DB Single Tone features:

  • Water-resistant speaker cone
  • ABS plastic housing
  • Encapsulated circuitry
  • Stud mount wiring
  • SAE J994 Class C Compliant

Part No.99901

Our Backup Alarm 97DB Single Tone features:

  • Water-resistant speaker cone
  • Stainless steel diffuser screen
  • Fully encapsulated electronics
  • ABS body

Fleet Series

Part No. 62

Our 107-112DB Backup Alarm with polycarbonate housing features:

  • User-selectable pattern: single, dual, or steady tone
  • Selectable tone intensity
  • Stainless steel diffuser screen
  • Fully encapsulated electronics
  • ABS body
  • Water-resistant speaker cone

Die-cast Aluminum

Fleet Plus Series

Part No.60

Our 87-112dB Backup Alarm with Die-cast Housing features: 

  • User selectable pattern: single, dual, or steady tone
  • Selectable tone intensity
  • Stainless steel diffuser screen
  • Fully encapsulated electronics
  • Die-cast zinc body
  • Water-resistant speaker cone

Part No.61

Our 107-112dB Backup Alarm with Die-cast Housing features:

  • User-selectable pattern: single, dual, or steady tone
  • Selectable tone intensity
  • Stainless steel diffuser screen
  • Fully encapsulated electronics
  • Die-cast zinc body
  • Water-resistant speaker cone 

Discover why SWS is North America’s go-to Source for Amber Warning Lights

Since 1969, SWS Warning Lights has become a leading North American designer and manufacturer of construction, utility, and industrial safety products.

Our tradition of embracing technology has kept our products aligned with our customer’s changing needs. SWS’s in-house engineering team uses the most durable components available to exceed industry requirements and ensure long-term reliability and performance.

At the heart of SWS is our team of engineers and customer service professionals who focus solely on offering solutions that satisfy every customer requirement. With our hands-on approach to product development, we can recommend modifications that further enhance your ability to handle virtually every safety application.

No matter the application, you can count on products from SWS Warning Lights to perform when you need them the most. We always use rugged, durable components and materials in our warning lights to ensure maximum performance.

Contact us today at 1-877-357-0222 or through our website to find the perfect warning light solution for your commercial fleet.

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