New workwear rules add colour to Ontario mines

Source: Sudbury Mining Solutions Journal 

Navy is out. Orange, yellow and red are in.

As of July 1st, miners working underground in Ontario are required to wear high visibility safety apparel made of fluorescent or brightly coloured background material.

The change in regulations was an ideal opportunity for Covergalls Inc., a Sudbury-based designer and manufacturer of smart, functional workwear, to pitch its line of clothing to mining companies and contractors.

“We have the ability to manufacture unique workwear solutions that take a customer’s brand and extend it to their workwear program,” said Covergalls owner Alicia Woods. “A unique workwear solution differentiates a company’s employees and allows them to stand out.”

Mining contractor Technica Inc. bought into the idea.

The July 1 deadline to outfit its employees in high visibility coveralls coincided with its move to a new building, so it was a perfect opportunity to add some pizzazz to the company’s image and branding.

“Most companies are going with orange, which I didn’t quite like, so we met with Alicia and her design team and opted for high visibility yellow, which was a little more compatible with my personal preferences and how I wanted to portray Technica,” said Mario Grossi, founder and CEO of the company.

technica-mining_group

Covergalls was originally conceived as a manufacturer of women’s workwear with a better female fit and special features including a ‘trap door’ that allows women to use a portable toilet without having to disrobe. However, Woods introduced a Coverguys line when men also started inquiring about her products.

Technica chose to include an embroidered pink ribbon on its coveralls in support of the Northern Cancer Foundation and agreed to donate $5 per pair for cancer research, “so it’s Coverguys supporting Covergalls,” said Grossi.

Workers in surface mines and plants who work during daylight hours only have to comply with class 2 workwear standards, which require them to wear high visibility vests with retro-reflective striping on fluorescent yellow, orange or red background material. Underground miners and workers in surface mines and plants on shifts from sunset to sunrise are subject to class 3 standards, which require coveralls in the approved high visibility colours with retro-reflective striping on the chest, back and limbs.

Retro-reflective striping contains tiny glass beads that collect light and bounce it back to its source, whereas light hitting a non retro-reflective surface can be deflected in another direction, depending on the angle of impact.

The Ontario Ministry of Labour announced its intention to adopt new workwear regulations for the mining industry in September 2014 in response to preliminary recommendations from the Ministry’s Mining, Health, Safety and Prevention Review.

The new regulations mandating the use of high visibility clothing were adopted to better protect miners from collisions with mobile equipment.

Proper care of high visibility workwear is recommended to preserve its retro-reflective properties.

Ministry of Labour guidelines advise machine washing alone or with like colours in cold or warm water on a delicate cycle using a mild detergent, followed by air-drying. Bleach, fabric softener, ironing, dry cleaning and washing with jeans (“rough clothing”) are not recommended.

Covergalls has distributors across Canada, including Soucie Salo Safety and White Industrial Products in Ontario.