The safety glass and hard hat might be the most recognizable personal protective equipment (PPE) for construction workers. Still, there's at least one more invaluable component to construction safety gear: the safety jacket. It's the first line of defense for a worker trying to evade the elements, such as rain, wind, and snow. Jackets are designed to significantly increase construction workers' protection, both during the day and at night.
Jackets for construction workers must be comfortable, durable, functional, and withstand the tough jobs and conditions present at the worksite. And, while the safety jacket might seem like an essential piece of equipment, understanding the different features and qualities that safety jackets provide can help you determine the best equipment for yourself and your team. Some safety jackets are designed to be super lightweight, others are made with reflective material, and some are made to breathe.
While jackets for construction workers may be made slightly different, they all perform some core functions: they keep you warm, keep you dry, and keep you protected from the elements, those that are hi-vis help keep workers seen in an environment known for many moving pieces.
So, let's look at some of the properties, options, and advantages of the proper safety jacket for construction workers.
Clothing for Construction Workers
PPE is a requirement for anyone working on a construction site. Workers wear protective gloves, hearing protection, safety goggles, and safety glasses. From a clothing standpoint, construction workers require shirts, safety vests, pants, and numerous other articles to keep them safe.
Construction safety jackets are one of the everyday articles of clothing that workers need and should be at the top of any contractor's wardrobe. Here are some of the many reasons workers need jackets:
- Jackets keep construction workers warm during the winter.
- Jackets help block the sun's harmful rays.
- Jackets keep workers dry in the rain.
- Jackets protect the arms and torso from abrasive materials and wet cement.
- Jackets protect construction workers from flying debris.
It's evident that jackets are needed to provide construction workers with practical solutions to a worksite's hazards. Now, the only decision required resides around the features of the jacket.
Now, we highlight the significant differences in the jackets we offer, which revolve around these three essential criteria.
Importance of Construction Rain Gear
You'll need to check the weather and plan ahead if rain is in the forecast. Construction is already known as an industry where work environments can frequently change based on the weather. Rain makes construction work more complex and less safe. Even a drizzle of rain can be dangerous on construction sites. Rainy conditions can make outdoor temperatures feel even colder, augment the hazard of live wires, make surfaces slippery, make operating equipment more complicated, and pose lightning strike risks.
Having the proper rain gear will help make doing the job that much easier, or at least more bearable when the rain's coming down. Rain doesn't always mean cold, especially during warm summer months. This is why having waterproof gear that breathes is a winning combo, as any worker will get warm while moving around and staying active at a job site. Proper rain gear should be ventilated so it can be worn comfortably for extended periods. Conversely, synthetic materials can insulate even when it's wet, and temperatures are low. Both of your options for these are discussed more below.
Standard Rain Jacket
What makes a rain jacket "standard"? It provides a nice balance of weight, performance, and comfort. MCR Safety's 200JClassic Series rain jacket combines strength and waterproof PVC with the durability of a polyester backing. It's a great go-to rain jacket made to keep you dry and comfortable on the job.
Lightweight Rain Jacket
Construction gear is often thought of as heavy-duty and bulky. But this isn't always the case! Not every job or worker needs super warm, thick, rugged apparel and gear in every instance. When it's only sprinkling, a durable, lightweight jacket like the 550J provides a solid option. It's a polyurethane/nylon jacket that's strong but comfortable.
The Importance of Hi-Vis
Hi-vis clothing and gear are commonly seen and typically required on construction sites, road work sites, and other areas. Why is this the case? The main reason is the increased traffic and operating machines present on a construction site. Workers and drivers need to be able to distinguish people operating nearby to them in such conditions. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data indicates that construction road site workers being struck by vehicles is the most common cause of death at such sites. To reduce these instances, increasing visibility is essential — that's where hi-vis gear comes in.
Whenever construction workers are operating in low-light environments or at night, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) requires workers to be wearing hi-vis, as a visibility hazard is present. Below are some options that will meet the OSHA requirement.
High-visibility clothing is luminescent and uses colors that are easily distinguished from any background. As its name implies, hi-vis clothing is excellent for visibility because it reflects most of the light that hits it, whether from a lamp, flashlight, vehicle, or sunlight.
Our Best Hi-Vis Reflective Rain Jackets
MCR's 508SJ is a hi-vis rain jacket that's made from rugged fluorescent lime/black polyester/PU material. Its silver reflective stripes will keep you visible, and it has a detachable hideaway hood for added rain protection and convenience.
Better - Breathable Hi-Vis
When it's hot out, breathability is critical, as heat stress is one of the leading causes of death during the hot summer months. And, research by EHS Today has shown that if workers are uncomfortable in their protective gear, they tend not to wear it correctly or consistently. Construction wear is functional and often protective, but breathability is part of its functionality. It can be tempting to remove PPE when it's hot out. Therefore, breathable, temperature-regulating construction wear is essential.
As part of MCR Safety's Luminator™ Series, the 598SJH is made of polyester/polyurethane material that's both breathable and waterproof, making it more comfortable than PVC-coated rainwear. It also has a light polyester liner that adds comfort and is easy to put on and remove.
Better - Stretchable Hi-Vis
A survey completed back in 2016 found that construction workers are constantly moving, whether squatting, bending, or lifting. For those who don't want to give up their mobility or comfort, consider purchasing one of our jackets made with stretchable material, like the 5182S. This jacket is a part of an entire rain suit that is made to never interfere with one's movement.
Best - Premium Hi-Vis Waterproof Jacket
A premium jacket that's made for the rain should be waterproof, durable, breathable, and comfortable. But there are different waterproof materials, and a good jacket's ability to keep you dry goes beyond being waterproof — extra features can make a jacket more protective and functional.
The UT38JH combines quality and craftsmanship with a durable but breathable polyester/PU material. Its zippers are weather-sealed to keep out wind and rain, and neoprene inner sleeves prevent wind and rain blowback.
In contrast to the hot months, winter weather poses cold exposure risks to construction workers. The importance of proper cold weather PPE garments can't be overstated, especially for those rainy, windy, unforgiving days. Every worker should perform their job safely and comfortably, and, when it's cold, that means having the right jacket. Lined jackets are designed to keep you warm on cold winter days. And don't forget a hood, especially if you'll be out in the snow or rain.
MCR Safety's VBBQCL3L will keep you highly visible and also warm when it's windy and rainy. It's waterproof and has a quilted liner for added comfort and warmth.
Super Warm Jacket
There's cold, and then there's cold. When it's well below freezing during the brutal winter months, the job still needs to get done for many workers. MCR Safety's Vortex jackets are our warmest option, made of the highest quality rip-stop polyester/polyurethane material for ruggedness and long-wear life.
The VT31JH rain jacket protects against temperatures as low as -27°F while giving you hi-vis protection and a permanent polyester quilted liner covered by a removable zip-out fleece liner. You'll be warm, dry, comfortable, and able to do the job.
Construction work is demanding, which means it puts a lot of wear and tear on outerwear garments. Our B4T Insulated Bomber Jacket features a comfortable and rugged 100% FR cotton duck outer material for rough applications and a quilted modacrylic lining for added warmth and FR protection. It also features a bi-swing action back for increased comfort, a storm flap for ensuring the elements stay outside of the jacket, and an oversized zipper for ease of use, zipping, and unzipping.
Whether you're working at a roadside site, construction area, or another site, staying visible is a matter of safety. Staying warm is a matter of safety, too. But some days, as temperatures change throughout the day and depending on the season, you won't need your warmest safety jacket. Somedays, you need a sporty hoodie to keep you warm. MCR Safety's construction hoodies are ideal for transitional weather periods, allowing you to stay comfortable while working!
MCR Safety's S2CL3LZ is a hi-vis hoodie with insulation, an attached drawstring hood, and a zipper front closure. It's polyester inner liner, and soft fleece offer maximum comfort and enough warmth to take the bite out of chilly air.
MCR Safety Imprinting
MCR Safety offers customized PPE, providing an excellent way to add your company logo, initials, or other imprinted features to your jackets and other gear. Even hi-vis jackets can be imprinted, including customized bomber jackets and rain jackets.
You already know that staying visible is key to safety. But don't forget to keep your company visible, too! Our imprinting service is a popular means for companies to customize and personalize their gear using silk screen printing and heat transferring techniques.
PPE and Safety While Under Construction
Construction workers need durable PPE that meets multiple functions, addresses different seasons, and will hold up to physically demanding work. And, it doesn't hurt if you look great in the jacket, too! We hope the above has shown we have jackets for all the environments found while working in construction. For those who would like to continue exploring the construction world, be sure to check our educational Construction page, which highlights ten separate construction sub-industries. Click the below image to go there now.
Here are some additional MCR Safety pages related to construction clothing that you may be interested in viewing:
We welcome any comments, feedback, or suggestions for how we can best protect people at work.
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For over 45 years, MCR Safety has proven to be a world leader in gloves, glasses, and garments. Whether it's on the shop floor, an oil rig, a construction site, or shooting outdoors, we are there to provide solutions to workplace (and recreational) hazards. It's all part of our commitment to protect people.
No matter your industry, we have the personal protective equipment you need.
Learn more about MCR Safety by checking out our most recent video. For more information, browse our website, request a catalog, find a distributor, or give us a call at 800-955-6887.