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Thread: Hi Viz

  1. #1

    Default Hi Viz


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    No apologies for posting this piece of apposite writing (from the Motoring section of the Telegraph 9/2/08 )

    James May: Fluorescent folly

    Who needs high-visibility jackets?

    For once, towards the close of day, Matilda, growing tired of play, And finding she was left alone, Went tiptoe to the telephone And summoned the immediate aid Of London's noble fire brigade… From Matilda (who told lies, and was burned to death), by Hilaire Belloc Yesterday, I was driving quite quickly along the M40 when I passed a dot-matrix sign proclaiming "Obstruction - slow down". I ignored it.

    So did everyone else, and reasonably enough. The long-standing relationship between anything displayed on a motorway dot-matrix sign and either a bare-faced untruth or the ruddy obvious ("Fog") renders them useless as a means of disseminating vital information.

    About five miles on I passed one of those traffic-patrol cars parked on the hard shoulder. That, I think, was it. Not an obstruction at all, so I and my fellow motorists were completely vindicated. And it's a shame, because I suppose one day I'll go barrelling past a sign telling me that the road is completely closed, and it really will be, and then I'll end my days smeared against the back of an earth mover or something like that. And I'm not sure I'll be entirely to blame.

    Which brings me to the menace inherent in the burgeoning fad for high-visibility jackets. To be honest, these things have their place. The cameramen at the Top Gear test track wear them, and reasonably enough. It's a big place but they can loom up suddenly when you're driving at speed, so it's as well to know where they are even from half a mile away. Similarly, anyone standing within the operating radius of a crane should have one, and so should men working on the carriageway of a fast road.
    Unfortunately, everyone else is wearing them as well, and sooner or later Gieves and Hawkes will be making bespoke hi-vis suits to measure. People up ladders have them, and some newscasters seem to wear them if it's raining.

    It's especially bad in the world of aviation. At several airfields I've visited lately there is a new rule that says hi-vis should be worn when walking between your parked aeroplane and the clubhouse. It's certainly true that some tailwheel aircraft offer particularly poor forward visibility during taxiing, especially long-nosed stuff like the Spitfire or the Curtis P40. Then again, they tend to make quite a lot of noise.

    I can't help thinking there's as much an onus on me to avoid them as vice versa. Apart from anything else, if I have managed to navigate a light aircraft to a tiny patch of grass on the other side of the country, I've probably got the nous to make it to the clubhouse on foot without walking through the whirling propeller of a Cessna.

    It's becoming impossible to move in Britain without a comedy tabard. Everyone, even the people demanding it, seems to think it's ridiculous. We all complain about it. But we must do more. We must flatly refuse to follow this fluorescent fashion, for two reasons. First, I think it's a bit self-important, and even pretty bad form, to adopt the garb of those who do genuinely dangerous work while we are engaged in something utterly everyday. There are people out there who genuinely need these things, and to wear one just because you're loading a van is an insult to them. It's worse than wearing a Ferrari paddock jacket when you don't drive a Ferrari.
    But the second reason is far more sinister. On that aforementioned car journey, I drove past some coned-off roadworks on a fast dual carriageway. Unusually, there were actually some people working on the road, and they were wearing hi-vis jackets, as you'd expect.

    Unfortunately, though, there's so much of this stuff around these days that I barely noticed them, and didn't slow down until it was almost too late. So in a way, our timid and unquestioning embrace of the cult of high visibility is endangering the very people it was designed to protect. And this time it really is our fault.

    For every time she shouted "fire", They only answered "Little liar!" And therefore when her aunt returned, Matilda, and the house, were burned.

  2. #2
    Should Get Out More TheEnglishman's Avatar
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    So I read this as a 'We warned you several times it was there, I chose to ignore all the warnings and then I nearly crashed. But it's not my fault'


    Not so much 'poor obs' as 'ignore obs'

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheEnglishman View Post
    So I read this as a 'We warned you several times it was there, I chose to ignore all the warnings and then I nearly crashed. But it's not my fault'
    Not so much 'poor obs' as 'ignore obs'
    Then you won't even begin to understand it.

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    Should Get Out More TheEnglishman's Avatar
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    Well perhaps not, but when I see the warnings on the motorway I leave much more of a gap to the car in front for starters.

    And if there's a traffic car with its lights on then I'll slow to perhaps 60ish and bimble over to the inside lane(where I find there's usually less 'bunching'

    I use the motorways a lot and don't seem them 'crying wolf' with the warnings the vast majority of the time.

    So there's a few 'false alarms' - I'd rather be safe than sorry, unlike Mr May....

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    Really Bored tenbears's Avatar
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    Nice piece.

    High viz bibs are for novices & amatuers who clearly know no better.

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    At Work BigFella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Voyager View Post
    No apologies for posting this piece of apposite writing (from the Motoring section of the Telegraph 9/2/08 )
    Yep! nice article and puts over the point rather well ...... However, I think that you are in danger of re-opening a real parcel of worms by starting this debate again!

    For the record, my own stance is that I will use it but that any form of personal High-Viz stuff should merely be regarded as a passive aid- not as armour!
    As for the whole business of information overload, that is, I'm afraid, just another example of fundemental bad driver/rider attitude allied with a degree of over-protective nannying.

    A month or so back we had some road re-surfacing on a series of nasty bends near to us. "They" signed the approaching roadworks at 1 mile, then 800 yards, and then every 100 yards thereafter...........plus a traffic light warning..........plus the lights themselves.........plus sundry contractors vehicles with amber lights. Excessive?.............The skid marks on the road would indicate that some hero managed to happen on a red light at some quite significant speed!

    I feel that I can now retire to the sidelines and watch this thread grow!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheEnglishman View Post
    Well perhaps not, but when I see the warnings on the motorway I leave much more of a gap to the car in front for starters.

    And if there's a traffic car with its lights on then I'll slow to perhaps 60ish and bimble over to the inside lane(where I find there's usually less 'bunching'

    I use the motorways a lot and don't seem them 'crying wolf' with the warnings the vast majority of the time.

    So there's a few 'false alarms' - I'd rather be safe than sorry, unlike Mr May....

    I do a few less miles on the Motorway now than I was doing 5 years ago, but haven't noticed any improvement at all in tje accuracy of the matrix signs.

    The most common one around me is 'queue ahead', when it 's lit one of two things are guaranteed, you're either already stationary, or there is not other car visible for miles.

    When I was doing around 70k miles a year the signs were just as poor in terms of valuable information, only difference being the greater variation of warnings I got to see.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Voyager View Post
    No apologies for posting this piece of apposite writing (from the Motoring section of the Telegraph 9/2/08 )
    And no apologies for this being the first time I've posted this here

    http://www.polestaraviation.com/?p=45

    The Yellow Peril
    I was reflecting the other day on the fact that of the many jurisdictions, countries, airports, airfields and strips that I flew to during my recent trip to the Bahamas and back, only one of them, Cranfield, beat me up for not wearing a reflective yellow “Hi-Viz” jacket. Indeed, far from “not beating me up”, only ground agents such as marshallers were spotted wearing any form of hi-viz at all anywhere, and that was rather sporadic. Included in the list of places visited are some very large airports, such as Washington Dulles International. If they don’t insist on it, and all the others don’t insist on it what are they all missing that Cranfield and a growing number of other UK airports have spotted?

    I suspect that there are few pilots in the land that don’t resent being told what to wear by airport authorities, and I won’t turn this article into a mindless anti-hi-viz whinging session. Let’s look instead at why the Hi-viz trend has popped up, and try to understand the justification behind it.

    First of all, we need to distinguish between pilots, and airport security people. There have always been people on airfields in the UK who were responsible for security. The larger the airfield, the more likely you were to encounter one. There is a school of thought, that for people in this role, the more like police officers they look, the more seriously they will be taken. Therefore, a “uniform” arose along the lines of black shoes, black trousers, white shirt, black tie (preferably clip on) and, when strolling around the airfield, a yellow traffic-police-style hi viz anorak. Such “plastic policemen” pre-date the current pilot hi viz trend by many years though, so we need to look a little deeper if we are to understand the true origins of the requirement.

    Say “SMS” to most people below the age of 50 and they will think you are talking about Text Messages and mobile phones. Say “SMS” to somebody with a career in airport management and they will have a completely different take. To them SMS stands for Safety Management System. An SMS is not, as you might imagine, something based on a computer, rather, this kind of SMS is a book. Various aspects of licensed airports in the UK are governed by their own SMS. Air Traffic Control is one, Airport Operations is another, and it is here that we must look for the origins of the hi viz requirements.

    The idea behind an airport SMS is that all of the risks that might be encountered operationally on an airport are identified and documented. Once documented, each risk should be graded and where possible and appropriate, a suitable risk mitigant proposed. The problem is, that whilst the concept of the SMS was proposed by the CAA, in reality, our regulator provides precious little guidance as to what should be contained within it beyond some simple headings. Take a look at this guidance, and you’ll see what I mean. As a result, many in the airports industry have purloined, copied, stolen or otherwise obtained copies of other people’s SMS books, which they have then shamelessly copied. I believe it is the case that certain providers of Airport Management services have also produced their own generic SMS books, which they will tailor to your airfield, for a fee.

    All of this has tended to cause airfield SMSes to look the same. Indeed, imagine the pressure if you are the manager of an airport with an SMS, and you become aware that you have not listed a risk which the five surrounding airports have all listed. The pressure on you to add that “risk” to your SMS must be immense. This pressure is not even regulatory, it has taken on a pseudo legal dimension. Imagine that somebody comes to grief at your airfield having been exposed to a risk that you alone have failed to document. Legal charges could be brought. It is easy to see how a certain paranoia sets in around this kind of subject matter. You might want to amuse yourself playing a game of buzzword bingo with an airport official on this subject one afternoon. Mark your bingo card with phrases such as “Health and Safety Executive”, “Duty of Care”, “Sued”, “Risk”, and “Fault”. Then hold the conversation, and cross off each “phrase” as it is used. I reckon you’ll reach “HOUSE” in less than 10 minutes.

    And this is how we all get to wear yellow jackets. Somebody at some point in an SMS has identified the risk of human flesh and aircraft operating in close proximity to one another. Obviously, the possibility exists that they might meet. What kind of risk mitigator might one propose? Hmmm… Well, you could paint all the aircraft Yellow… Hmmm… or … Yes… you could make all the pilots wear bright yellow clothes. Perfect. Once that logic appeared in one SMS, it was bound to appear in all the others, thanks to the legally-inspired “cascade of fear” that causes risks to spread amongst SMSes. It is almost viral.

    A moment spent analysing this “risk” demonstrates that all is not as it appears though. I’ve spent some time reading around the many and varied ways in which human flesh and aircraft have met at airfields and the results may surprise you. The sources I have relied on vary, but include AAIB reports, NTSB reports, HSE reports and personal experience.

    Top of the list is people falling off or walking into stationary aircraft. In the case of light aircraft, it tends to be pilots walking into their own aircraft’s wing or tailplane. The injures often consist of black eyes, cracked heads or worse. Where a fall is involved from a transport category aircraft, the results can be rather more severe.

    Next on the list is ground handling staff such as marshallers walking into turning propellers and rotors or being injested into jet intakes. Almost invariably, this relates to poor marshalling techniques, such as walking backwards whilst marshalling an aircraft. Often the accidents are at night. Often the accidents are encouraged by the fact that marshallers have been issued with hearing protectors which deprive them of one vital clue to the presence of a nearby engine. The RAF take this kind of accident so seriously, that they have experimented for some time with propeller/rotor conspicuity paint schemes. One of the more popular schemes involves painting black and white stripes along the blades.

    There is a third class of accident which is also surprisingly common. This relates to aircraft being left unsecured and subsequently rolling. A number of pilots and ground staff have been injured trying to stop a rolling aircraft. One poor pilot of a UK-based TBM700 recently found himself pinned to a tree by the spinner after such an incident.

    The list continues into more and more specific events from which it is difficult to draw a general conclusion. EXCEPT, that in none of these instances, would wearing a hi viz jacket have made any difference at all. In fact, in all of my searches, I have not yet found one single example of an accident involving aircraft and human in which putting the human in a hi viz jacket would have made any difference at all. Perhaps somebody reading this column can come up with a counter-example?

    Interestingly, the widespread wearing of Hi-Viz vests in and around aircraft has given rise to an entirely different risk which is very real and which can be seen every day at Cranfield and other airports. Hi Viz vests, much like the cheap pilots shirts with epaulettes of the sort favoured by many flying schools, are made of Nylon. When these vests and shirts are exposed to even quite modest heat, as anybody that has ever ironed one will tell you, they melt and shrink like a crisp packet on a fire.

    None of us likes to imagine a fire in the cockpit, or a post crash fire, but these things are amongst life’s realities. If, like many pilots, you fail to remove you hi viz jacket before flight, you are running a much greater and quite real risk that in the event of fire, your hi viz jacket will be the death of you. Quite literally. The same goes for Nylon pilot shirts. As an aside, if you run a flight school that insists on making your students wear these cheap shirts, you might want to consider for a moment the legal implications associated with your uniform. Consider it urgently if you also issue or sell the shirts to your students.

    So there you have it. The rise of the Hi Viz jacket is based on an entirely bogus assessment of the risks posed to humans on airfields. Its spread has been assisted by the poor guidance available as to the scope and contents of an SMS, and by an ill-informed, ill-advised culture increasingly concerned about imagined legal risks. As a result, an entirely different risk has been created with respect to cockpit fires, which is very real.

    Ask yourself, if the litigation-crazy Land of the Free in which a staggering proportion of the World’s Aviation takes place, does not insist on hi viz jackets, then why do we?

  9. #9
    Should Get Out More demographic's Avatar
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    On building sites we wear Hi Vis vests so its easier to find the corpse after we fall through the mantraps in the dodgy scaffolding into the unfilled trenches
    Saves time waiting till they get stinky.

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    Quote Originally Posted by demographic View Post
    On building sites we wear Hi Vis vests so its easier to find the corpse after we fall through the mantraps in the dodgy scaffolding into the unfilled trenches
    Saves time waiting till they get stinky.

    Could you imagaine a Mafia hoodlum conversation . . .

    "Oi! You can't drop that body in those freeway bridge foundations until he's wearing a hi-viz vest!"

    "Huh . . . I ain't never seen no hi-viz concrete overcoat before . . . "

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    <<Ask yourself, if the litigation-crazy Land of the Free in which a staggering proportion of the World’s Aviation takes place, does not insist on hi viz jackets, then why do we?>>

    Easy Answer?

    A quick, cheap easy fix and a tick in the box named "We did this" to improve safety. If someone gets sucked in and mashed in a jet engine, it wasn't our fault as he had his hi-vis vest on, it must be the dispatcher \ pilot \ God \ the man in the corner shop who is at fault.

    They are even issuing them to school kids FOC now.

    It has been reported that the Brits have a poor safety management culture compared to the US. Remember those refinery blasts in the US? BP owned and operated them and their safety management culture was ripped apart in the inquest.

    In one US owned company around here, any employee has the right to stop a production line if they see a safety issue. That is posted all over the site. I've yet to see another like it.

    Steve

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    Quote Originally Posted by Voyager View Post
    No apologies for posting

    No apologies for posting

    http://www.echo-news.co.uk/display.var.1370677.0.0.php


    Sex pest can take off jacket

    A JUDGE has lifted an order forcing a sex offender to wear a fluorescent jacket.

    In March, Judge Peter Dedman ordered peeping tom Stephen Cooper, 24, to wear the coat at night for the "protection of women".

    Cooper has pleaded guilty to voyeurism after admitting he crept into a woman's garden and stared through her window.

    He was supposed to wear the glow-in-the-dark jacket until sentencing on May 11, but critics said the order was like making him wear a sign saying "Sex Offender" and claimed it would not make women safer.

    Judge Dedman reluctantly lifted the order after taking on board problems the jacket had caused Cooper.

    The judge had ordered Cooper of South Ockendon, to wear the florescent jacket, after freeing him on bail pending sentence.

    It was one of a set of strict conditions, issued under an interim sex offender's prevention order.

    Judge Dedman has ordered psychiatric reports on Cooper, who will be sentenced at Chelmsford Crown Court next Friday.

    1:08pm Wednesday 2nd May 2007

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    And I make no apologies for re-posting this, which has been published elsewhere



    Monday evening, about 5:45, I'm walking home with Foal from his childminder's house.

    As we're going uphill, one of our neighbours is puffing up past on his bicycle, followed by another cyclist.

    He's wearing a yellow waistcoat, with reflective stripes. She's in black/dark blue. (5:45, so not full daylight now)

    "Is he teaching her how to ride?" says the little voice next to me.

    I guessed what he meant, but asked "Why?" anyway.

    "Because he's wearing a yellow jacket and I've seen motorcycle instructors wearing them."

    So I smiled, and started to explain about hi-viz . . .

    But was interrupted by the smart-arse [not hereditary, obviously] who said "I know, they're reflective!"

    So I explained how the fluorescent colours were brighter than 'normal' colours, and that the silver stripes were the reflective parts.

    "We have to wear yellow jackets when we walk to swimming." They walk from the school, through town, and out to the council pool.

    "We have to wear them even though it's bright sunshine!" [ ! ]

    The conversation continued on a bit. Then:

    "I've seen some cars with their lights on in daylight, I talked with mummy about it."

    I asked: "Why do you think they do that?"

    "So they can be seen more easily."

    "How do you think that works, then, that you can see them more easily?"

    " . . . I don't know . . . "

    We live in a long, straight, road. At that point, a single-decker bus hove in to view, about 300yds away.

    "Which bit of the bus can you see?" I asked.

    "Its lights."

    Pause

    "But I can see all of the front of it."

    He's mildly myopic, BTW.

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