Category Archives: Advisory

You will find the best recommendations here on energy related maters


By Ruth Carol Atieno

Energy Efficiency is the new trend and almost all of us are striving to join in the energy efficient group. But why really should I be energy efficient? I will answer this question on this blog piece I wrote.

Reduced Utility Bills

The very first thing that happens when you decide to switch to Energy Efficiency is reduced utility bills. When you get rid of your old energy consuming appliances with new Energy Efficient ones you will have reduced electricity bills at the end of the month.

On the other hand you will also be safe from fluctuating electricity bills. You will be operating at a low cost and will not feel the heat even when the prices go higher than normal.

Save The Environment

Energy Efficiency means less carbon footprint. By switching to Energy Efficiency you will save the environment and the planet at large. When you consume less energy then the amount of toxic fumes released to the environment will also reduce. Let’s say you will become an ambassador of the Earth!!

A clean environment means good health.

Job Creation

Companies in the Energy Efficiency industry have created lots of employment opportunities. This is a fact we cannot deny. And thanks to Energy Efficiency people now have sources of income.

Sustainable Credentials

Companies or industries that have embraced Energy Efficiency receive sustainable credentials and are highly ranked in the society.

Return On Investment

However small your transition to Energy Efficiency is, you are capable of generating returns from it. Energy Efficiency might cost you during the implementation but in the end it will pay you back.

Improved Property Value

Let us take a look at the real estate industry. Houses that are energy efficient tend to sell more and for higher pricing. Just by incorporating Energy Efficiency during the planing and construction of the houses, the property value is automatically improved.

Improved Quality Of Life

When your home is energy efficient it will be warmer, drier and well ventilated. This will discourage the growth or production of indoor pollutants such as molds. Energy Efficiency increases the comfort of living in your own home or working in your office.

Save Money

Reduced utility bills means money will be saved. The savings can then be injected into other projects that need financing. The savings can also be used to move more steps up the Energy Efficiency ladder.

Social Responsibility

Taking care of the planet is our social responsibility and therefore Energy Efficiency automatically becomes our social responsibility as a people.

Reduced Dependability

When we open up Energy Efficiency companies locally we will reduced our dependability to imported energy sources. In the end we will also be improving the economy of our countries.


Now you have a reason to be Energy Efficient why not take the very first step to being efficient.


By Monica Ngage

The dramatic spread of COVID-19 has disrupted lives, livelihoods, communities and businesses worldwide. it’s been estimated that, if the corona virus spreads uncontrollably, it could all right cost the world economy somewhere around $2.7 trillion. This is just an example of the various risks that a business is probably going to face.

What is risk management?

It is the identification, evaluation, and prioritization of risks (defined in ISO 31000 as the effect of uncertainty on objectives) followed by coordinated and economical application of resources to minimize, monitor, and control the probability or impact of unfortunate events[1] or to maximize the realization of opportunities.

What are the sources of risks?

Risks can come from various sources including uncertainty in financial markets, threats from project failures (at any level of design, development, production, or sustaining of life-cycles), legal liabilities, credit risk, accidents, natural causes and disasters, deliberate attack from an adversary, or events of uncertain or unpredictable root cause.

There are two sorts of events i.e. negative events, classified as risks and positive events, classified as opportunities.

How can we manage risks?

There are 6 steps involved in managing risks:

  1. Identify the risk-You cannot resolve a risk if you do not know what it is. Imagine a project in progress  and think of the many things that can go wrong e.g late deliveries, curfews, cessation of movement like the one we are experiencing in Nairobi, Mombasa, etc. Once this is done, you need to put down all identified risks in a risk register.
  2. Analyze the risk– At this point you have a risk register; so what are you going to do about these risks? You need to determine the likelihood of these risks happening . This information needs to be included on the risk register. Analyzing risk is hard. There is never enough information you can gather. Of course, plenty of that data is complex, but most industries have best practices, which might facilitate you along with your analysis. You would possibly be surprised to get that your company already has a framework for this process.
  3. Prioritize the risk– After the qualitative and quantitative analysis of the risks, you will establish that all risk are not equal. Some will take more resources than others should they occur. At this point you need to categorize your risks as being high, medium or low. Some risks are going to require immediate attention. These are the risks which will derail your project. Failure isn’t an option. Then there are those risks that have little to no impact on the project’s schedule and budget. A number of these low-priority risks may be important, but not enough to waste time on and might be somewhat ignored.
  4. Assign an owner to the risk– Identify the person who is responsible for that risk, identifying it when and if it should occur and then leading the work towards resolving it. There may be a team member who is more skilled or experienced within the risk. Then that person should lead the charge to resolve it. Or it might just be an arbitrary choice.
  5. Respond to the risk– First you need to know if this is a positive or negative risk. Is it something you may exploit for the betterment of the project? Strategies to manage threats (uncertainties with negative consequences) typically include avoiding the threat, reducing the negative effect or probability of the threat, transferring all or a part of the threat to a different party, and even retaining some or all of the potential or actual consequences of a specific threat. The opposite of these strategies can be used to respond to opportunities (uncertain future states with benefits). You then act on the risk in order of priority.
  6. Monitor the risk– After responding to the risk, you would like to stay check if the plan is functioning. Whoever is in charge of the risk will be one to track its progress towards resolution.

In conclusion, we must underline that during such situations, as in every period of adversity, changes in the market bring a lot of risks, but they can also create new business opportunities and drive innovation in businesses and sectors.

Digital media & home entertainment, as well as social media companies, are already seeing an uplift in revenues, as an increasing number of consumers opt for solutions that allow them to continue enjoying their hobbies and communicate with others, all from the comfort of their home.

In short, the sooner a company detects the potential threats posed by the corona virus crisis or any other risk and organizes a robust defense and response plan, the greater the possibilities of overcoming this crisis with the minimum possible losses, adapting to the new context, and recognizing new areas of endeavor.



By Chris Mbori

Covid-19 pandemic has sent shock waves in almost every sector and most sectors of the economy have been hard hit. There are however some sectors that are thriving. Restricted movement, stay at home and inter county lock in orders have forced factories, offices and other buildings to close.

The shutdown of schools and other public facilities have also rendered them ghost towns. These closures have led to a decline in energy requirements and energy consumption. Italy has reported a 27% drop in energy consumption since they started their lockdown while the USA energy consumption has fallen to a 16-year low. The global energy demand is likely to plummet by at least 6%. This is almost the amount of energy used in the whole of India alone!

On 13th March 2020, Kenya reported its first patient who tested positive for Corona Virus. Thereafter, there have been a raft of measures aimed to contain the virus and stop its exponential spread. Some of the measures included closing of schools and public facilities, enforcing of a 7pm to 5am curfew and a cessation of movement in and out of some counties. While a total lockdown has not been ruled out, the government has encouraged as many people as possible to work from home.

Today, we are going to evaluate how 5 different industries have reacted to the Covid-19 measures based on their energy consumption. We have put real time energy consumption meters in these 5 different industries and thus we are able to see how their energy profile has changed especially after the 13th of March 2020. The five industries include a school, two hotels, telecom site, a shopping mall and a flower farm.

1. A School Based In Nairobi

Immediately the first covid-19 case was announced in Kenya, schools and other educational facilities were given a 3 day notice to close and send students home. Below is the energy consumption profile of a school we are monitoring.

There is a sharp drop of energy consumption in this school because the students were sent home. They had a daily base load after shutdown. This is because some staff live in the school and other areas like the kitchen and laundry still consume some energy. From the analysis, there could be opportunity to see what they can do reduce further on the base load and reduce their energy cost since they are not in operation.

Below is a pie chart showing their energy balance after the whole school has been closed down:

The Kitchen and senior school are still consuming energy and that can be an area to look further and conserve energy.

The table below shows that the school reduced its energy consumption by around 48%.

Before Covid AverageAfter Covid Average% Change

2. Hotel Industry

We have our real time monitors in various hotels and have picked two hotels for purposes of this comparative analysis. One in the Capital City of Nairobi and another outside of Nairobi in a smaller town.

I. Hotel in the Capital City

The hotel in the city had its energy consumption drop by about half. Restaurants and hotels were ordered to shut down and only operate take away and delivery services. Bars were totally closed down.

Before Covid AverageAfter Covid Average% Change

The picture below shows how daily energy consumption change after the country got its first patient tested positive for Covid-19.

The energy balance of this hotel in the city shows that most of its lighting and plug loads still contribute to consuming a lot of energy in the facility.

II. Hotel outside the Capital City

The hotel outside the Capital city of Nairobi reduced its energy consumption by around 37%. The figure is a bit lower than the previous hotel in the capital and this could be because there were fewer reactionary measures for hotels outside the capital at the initial announcement of the first Covid-19 case in Kenya. The less hit counties have had more lax implementation of the government directives.

Before Covid AverageAfter Covid Average% Change

The picture below shows the daily energy consumption of the period before and after 13th of March 2020.

Even with very low occupancy, the hotel shows energy consumption in key areas like the laundry and kitchen. The other loads like lighting and plug loads are also very significant in this hotel.

3. Flower Industry

The flower industry is one of the most hard-hit industries in Kenya since its majorly an export business and most target markets like Europe and China were already closed because of the Corona virus.

Analysis of their energy consumption before and after the first case of Corona virus showed a drop in energy consumption of about 19%.

Before Covid AverageAfter Covid Average% Change

4. Shopping Mall Super Market

After the first corona virus patient announcement and a partial lockdown declared, the supermarket we are monitoring reduced its energy consumption by about 15%. This could be because of controlled movement in and out of supermarkets in Kenya. The curfew also reduced the working hours of this supermarket and thus justifies the reduction in energy consumption.

Before Covid AverageAfter Covid Average% Change

5. Telecom Data Centre

The last industry we monitored was the telecom industry. We had one of our real time monitors in a coastal town. And as much as we expected an increase in energy consumption due to increase activity in the telecom space due to increased online activity by companies working from home, the data from the meter showed the contrary. The energy consumption reduced by 8%.

Before Covid AverageAfter Covid Average% Change


All the industries we monitored showed a reduction in energy consumption as shown in the table below.

IndustryEnergy Reduction by %
Hotel in City-49%
Hotel out of City-37%
Flower Farm-19%
Shopping mall Supermarket-15%
Telecom Data Centre site-8%

Schools and Hotels seem to be hardest hit because of recording zero on occupancy levels. Shopping malls and flowers farms also recorded a drop of energy and this could be because of reduced operation hours because of the curfew. It is important therefore for schools and hotels to ensure that they do not consume as much during this pandemic period when they have very low occupancy in their facilities.

Malls can also lookout on the changes in baseload and ensure no idle equipment are running during curfew times.

The telecom space recorded the least drop in energy consumption, in as much as there is increased traffic and activities like internet data, mobile money and increased phone calls. It is possible that traffic has no correlation to energy consumption in the telecom space. This is something worth investigating.

From this analysis we can tell that maybe the whole country will also experience a reduction in demand since the commercial and industrial space are the largest consumers of electrical energy in Kenya. This drop of demand is not a good thing because the country is trying to increase its electricity demand due to surplus generation. Reduction in energy consumption is only very good if we either increase productivity or keep producing at the same level.


By Ruth Carol Atieno

What is Energy Efficiency?

Energy Efficiency means using less energy to perform the same task and in the end avoiding energy wastage. The less energy required to produce a unit of output, the more energy efficient that economic activity is.

Why Should We Embrace Energy Efficiency?

Energy Efficiency alone can largely contribute to the economic growth, human development, resilient infrastructure in a nation. Firms that have resorted to operating efficiently have reduced energy demand resulting to lower operating costs.

Energy Efficiency goes hand in hand with clean environmental conditions. The amount of pollutants injected into the environment will go down when we embrace Energy Efficiency. Efficient industries and equipment release fewer greenhouse gases hence a reduction in carbon footprint.

Operating on an Energy Efficient level will make it easier complying to environmental regulations that various governments have put in place. Being compliant will earn you a good reputation which in the end will increase profits in the case of businesses.

How does Energy Efficiency contribute to economic growth?

Energy Efficiency reduces production costs which boosts productivity and therefore economic growth.

Energy Efficiency results into savings. These savings can then be used in the development of additional projects or investing in other economic activities.

Energy Efficiency contributes to the efficiency of other elements of production, for instance capital and labor. Let us take a look at how the introduction of electric arc furnaces to steel making in the United States allowed scrap steel to be recycled for the first time, bypassing the most energy intensive step of the incumbent technology and greatly improving the energy efficiency of the industry.

Should Developing Countries Embrace Energy Efficiency

Of cause yes!

According to a research by the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), if developing countries slow the growth of their energy demand by more than half over the next 12 years, from 3.4% a year to 1.4% a year , then they would gain greatly.

The good news is that developing countries have started embracing Energy Efficiency and major improvements are being experienced.

How Does Energy Efficiency Impact Climate Change?

Many analysts assume that Energy Efficiency lead to reduced greenhouse gases emission. But in recent years a number of economists and energy analysts have challenged the assumptions and methods behind these studies.

They have criticized many of these findings and claimed that they are underestimating the technical, financial and information barriers to pursuing energy efficiency improvements.

There is also a rapidly growing discussion that energy efficiency improvements can lead to an increase in demand for energy through a number of economic mechanisms known as “rebound effects.”

What Are Rebound Effects?

A rebound effect is the reduction in expected gains from new technologies that increase the efficiency of resource use, because of behavioral or other systemic responses.

A rebound effect therefore comes about when an improvement in Energy Efficiency triggers an increase in demand for energy. When the efficiency of an energy activity improves, the cost of the service derived is lowered.

“Correct accounting for the rebound effect may reduce the potential contribution of energy efficiency to climate change mitigation, possibly altering the relative priority of different CO2 abatement policies,” The International Energy Agency writes.

What Are The Types of Rebound Effects?

We have two instances of rebound effects, direct and indirect.

Direct rebound is the percentage of energy savings from efficiency that are offset by increased use. For instance, a 20% improvement in efficiency might provide a 19% only reduction in energy use.

On the other hand, indirect rebound comes about depending how you spend the money you save. One example is when your new car cuts fuel consumption by 50% and you drive 6% more. You buy 53% as much fuel as before. You spend some of those savings on other goods and services, which require energy to produce. Source

Why Do Rebound Effects Matter?

The immensity of rebound effects determines how effective Energy Efficiency improvements are at contributing to reductions in total energy use and in the end reduced greenhouse gas emissions.


By Eric Gitonga

Typically, in all households, whether directly or indirectly, bills are received monthly for the consumption of various utilities. This would include bills for electricity, water and gas consumption. Both technical and non-technical personnel need to understand how the various energy rates are structured as this could aid into more energy-efficient energy consumption and possibly shifting to a different rate structure.

In this article, we will look into the electrical billing structure since it is the most complex and not as directly computed as compared to both gas and water billing rates.

The components of a typical electrical bill may include the following charges

  1. Energy charge.
  2. Demand charge.
  3. Fuel costs.
  4. Taxes.
  5. Power factor surcharges.

There are different billing structures used by the various utility companies and this include

  1. Flat rates.
  2. Block rates.
  3. Seasonal pricing.
  4. Time of use rates.

We will have a brief look into each billing structure with a look at the energy charges based on the consumption.

1. Flat rates

In this billing structure, a fixed value is used for the consumption of a unit of energy irrespective of the amount of energy used by the consumer. The computation of the energy charge is obtained by directly multiplying the consumption by the unit charge of the consumption

An example of such a billing would be $0.15 for each unit of kWh of electricity consumed. If a consumer uses 1000 kWh in a month, they are charged 1000 kWh*$0.15/kWh=$150.

2. Block rates

In this billing structure, the charge is based on the level of consumption bracket (referred to as the block) as defined by the utility company. The block rate structure may be of a declining or inclining nature. A declining block rate encourages users to consume more while an inclining structure encourages users to use as low energy as possible.

Below is a structure of a declining rate structure which encourages consumers to use more and how the typical monthly consumption could be obtained.

If a consumer uses 530 kWh during the month, the consumption amount would be computed as shown below

[$0.16*100] + [$0.14*100] + [$0.12*100] + [$0.10*(530-300)] = $65

3. Seasonal pricing

In this billing structure, two billing rates are used depending on the time of the year. These annual times can be divided into the winter and summer seasons. The rates used in this billing structure are dependent highly on the demand. In the summer there is increased cooling demand and the winter has increased heating demand. This structure can be incorporated in a flat rate, block rate structure or time of use billing rate.

4. Time of Use rates

This is the most common type of billing structure employed by utility companies. In this structure, two part time definitions are used depending on the times of the day which are categorized into the peak and off-peak hours. In Kenya, the peak is from 6 am-10 pm Monday to Friday and 8 am-2 pm on Saturdays. The off-peak hours are 10 pm-6 am Monday to Friday, 2 pm-midnight on Saturdays and holidays and 24 hours on Sundays,

However, these time values are different depending on the location of the country and the season. In some utility companies, a third category can be used to form a three-part definition with the peak, off-peak and shoulder peak which is the transitional region between the peak and off-peak regions and vice versa. The off-peak rate is usually lower than the peak rate.

It is also the structure of the greatest interest to energy professionals since energy savings can be realized from shifting some of the load operations to the off-peak times. However, for these savings to be realized, real time monitors have to be installed to monitor the consumption and hence determine which specific loads can be shifted to other times.

A sample calculation of this structure is as shown below.

The combined seasonal pricing and a three-part time of use rate is highly used in European countries and a sample billing structure can be as shown below.


By Ruth Carol Atieno

With the Covid-19 situation in the world, most of us have resorted to working from home. This means that the electricity consumption of your house hold will not be as usual, it will shoot up high. The good news is that, there are several ways to avoid having huge energy bills at the end of every month.

First of all, how do you go about this working from home idea? Get a desk and chair, set up your appliances, make yourself comfortable and start working, then put into practice the following tips and trust me you are going to hack having an energy efficient house while you work.

Make Use of Natural light

While working at home, open the window curtains and make use of the natural light coming from outside. You can even go ahead and have the windows open to let in fresh air into the room. Apart from saving energy, you will have created a very a conducive environment that will enhance your productivity levels.

Unplug Appliances When Not In Use

Appliances such as televisions and mobile phones can be a big distraction when working. Having them switched off will save energy and also allow you to concentrate on your work.

If you have a printer you can consider having it switched on only when you need it. Unnecessary blinking lights from appliances can also be a source of distraction so have them switched off.

When taking a break from work also remember to put your computer to sleep and only switch it on when back to work.

Working For Shorter Hours

Stay focused! Complete all your tasks without getting distractions especially from social media or your mobile phone. Make good use of your time. Without these distractions you will surely spend less time to complete your tasks. This means less time on your computer and in the end you will have saved energy. Consider taking a walk outside when you need to relax your mind. But first, put your computer to sleep!

Use Smart Power Strips

A smart power strip has the ability to regulate the amount of electricity that flows into your electronics. Therefore it will prevent unnecessary wastage of electricity. You could also consider using a power monitor to help you identify the hugest electricity consuming equipment.

Buy Energy Efficient Equipment

When shopping for work equipment ensure you check the energy star rating before settling on buying it. Always opt for energy efficient equipment.

Consider buying a laptop instead of a desktop computer since they are more energy efficient.

Set Computers To Power Saving Option

You probably aren’t aware that computers have a power management software. This software will make your computer to work efficiently and in the end save energy.

Minimize The Number Of Equipment

Avoid having so many electronics working at the same time. Printers can be switched off when not in use. Having more than one computer on at the same time will also eat up your electricity. Stick to one equipment at a time unless otherwise.

Task Lighting

When working in a dark room or at night, instead of lighting the whole room use a desk lamp to have light only around your work top area. Also do not use both the room light and desk light at the same time. You will be wasting energy.

Switch To Energy Efficient Lighting

Replace all the light bulbs in your house with LEDs to save on energy.

Use Blankets For Warmth

Avoid of using heaters at home when you can easily access a blanket. Wrap up nicely using a blanket. Keep yourself warm in an efficient and clean way.

Avoid Unnecessary Printing

Consider reading documents and storing them in your computer instead of doing lots of unnecessary printing at home. This will save energy and also help you cut down on the use of paper.

Window Treatment

Installing window treatments such as drapes and shades is another way to save energy while working from home. These will help you regulate the amount of heat that come in leave your house.

Working Outside The House

Laptops have batteries that can store up energy for some time. You could consider working while sitting under a tree or on the veranda for as long as your laptop battery lasts.

Time to work from home in a clean way with no surprising electricity bills at the end of the month.


If stats are anything to go by, the world’s energy industry experienced a 4,300% increase in energy capacity from solar panels in the ten year period between 2007 and 2017. Wind energy comes a close second having risen 22 fold (from 29,000MW to 539,000MW) from 2001 to 2017. There is no denying that green energy has taken the world by storm. It is the hot topic in energy conversations, and for all the right reasons.

In the wake of perhaps the world’s greatest pandemic so far, we can’t help but wonder what is going on in the renewable energy sector and the current and future effects. We got researching and pulled up the latest in the industry. Here, we have broken it down for you.

A plunge in energy equipment supply

It comes as no surprise that China is the largest supplier of energy equipment – particularly used for wind and solar installations. We are talking solar panels, wind turbines, batteries among other essentials. Thanks to COVID-19, there has been a widespread shutdown of factories in China that produce these items. This has obviously left a huge gap in the demand and supply chain for these equipment.

At the beginning of March, 2020, two of the leading solar panel suppliers for the US utility market – Canadian Solar Inc. and JinkoSolar Holding Co. reported a drop in their stock prices since the pandemic hit the world. 

Although China is slowly getting back to its feet and increasing production, the short-term disruption effects have been a huge blow to the renewable energy sector.

Challenge in investment

For a long time now, the clean energy sector has been brimming with a plethora of investment opportunities. The expansion and contraction potential ultimately spikes the reward opportunity. Some of the investment opportunities to look into, include renewable energy stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), mutual funds, equities of energy companies, and the ability to buy commodities.

COVID-19 has thrown a few complexities in the renewable energy investment equation. Currently there are threats to the tax credit viability of power purchase agreements (PPAs) – both of which are making it very difficult for investors to throw their monies into renewable projects. Some of them will unfortunately not meet operational deadlines as per the PPAs between developers and electricity buyers. Project deadlines are essential in recovering the full value of investment tax credit for projects and this has been affected.

Bottom line

COVID-19 has proved and to be a massive threat to not only the health and lives of people but to the renewable energy space as well. In the face of calamity, the economy takes a beating. But there is a hidden gem of opportunity for those with a positive outlook in life. This is the time to shift focus to local strategies to deal with the crisis once and for all. Governments and authorities should rise to the occasion and champion for local manufacture of wind, solar, hydro, and geothermal equipment.

Author Bio

Alice Cheptoo is a chemical and process engineer, blogger, and tech writer. When not publishing posts on her blog (, or creating content for her clients in various tech fields, she is traveling or cooking up a storm in the kitchen.

High-Visibility Safety Apparel

By Karen Thuranira

High-Visibility Safety Apparel (HVSA)

High-visibility safety apparel (HVSA) is clothing that workers wear to improve how well other people see them or to improve how visible they are. These kind of clothing is often worn to alert drivers, vehicle and machinery operators of a worker’s presence. And most especially in low light and dark conditions.

One may consider having a high-visibility headwear to increase their visibility in situations where part or all of their body could be obscured e.g. when working in leafy areas with many trees, traffic barriers, construction materials, etc.

Situation that require High-Visibility Safety Apparel

High-visibility clothing allow you to be seen by the drivers and or machinery operators sooner and more readily. This fact increases your safety at work. You must have HVSA if;

  • You are working when there is low light and poor visibility.
  • You are working around moving vehicles (cars, trucks or other machinery traveling under their own power – e.g., forklifts, backhoes, etc).

How to choose the High – Visibility Safety Apparel that will work best for you.

It is recommended that an initial hazard assessment be carried out on each job site to evaluate the site for known or potential hazards a worker may encounter while performing the job. This assessment will help to determine the risk to workers of being hit by moving vehicles and the environmental conditions under which work is performed.

When doing the hazard assessment where HVSA might be required, consider the following;

  • Type and nature of the work being carried out – including the tasks of both the HVSA wearer and any drivers.
  • If workers will be exposed to heat and/or flames. If so, flame-resistant HVSA would be required.
  • Work conditions, such as indoor or outdoor work, temperature, work rates, traffic flow, traffic volume, visibility, etc.
  • The workplace environment and the background workers must be seen in (e.g., is the visual area behind the workers simple, complex, urban, rural, highway, filled with equipment, cluttered).
  • How long the worker is exposed to various traffic hazards, including traffic speeds.
  • Lighting conditions and how the natural light might be affected by changing weather.
  • Factors that affect warning distances and times, such as the volume of traffic, the size of vehicles, their potential speeds and their ability to stop quickly, and surface conditions.
  • If there are any engineering and administrative hazard controls already in place (e.g., barriers that separate the workers from traffic).
  • Any distractions that could draw workers attention away from hazards.
  • The sightlines of vehicle operators, especially when vehicles are operated in reverse.
  • For certain jobs, there’s need to be “visually” identifiable from other workers in the area.

Once a hazard assessment is complete, appropriate controls can be selected. The first line of defense for workers’ safety would be to control the design of the workplace and reduce the exposure of workers to moving vehicles (e.g., through the use of physical barriers and other engineering and administrative controls). Using high-visibility apparel would be the last line of defense against accidents by providing more warning to vehicle operators that workers are on foot in the area.

What to look for when purchasing High-Visibility Safety Apparel.

Size, Coverage and Design

  • Large, bright garments are more visible than small ones. Coverage all around the body (360° full body coverage) provides better visibility in all viewing directions.
  • Stripes of colours that contrast with the background material to provide good visibility. Stripes on the arms and legs can provide visual clues about the motion of the person wearing the garment.
  • When background material is bright-coloured, it is intended to be highly visible.
  • Other requirements such as flame resistance, thermal performance, water resistance, durability, comfort, tear-away features, material breathability and flexibility that are applicable to the job.
  • Be sure to select the colour and stripe combination that provides the preferred contrast and visual indication of movement.


  • For safety and best performance, garments should be fitted to the person. Always consider the clothing that might be worn underneath the HVSA garments, and how the garment should be worn. The HVSA should sit correctly on your body with no loose or dangling components, and stay in place during your work.
  • The apparel should be comfortable to wear. Parts that come into direct contact with the worker should not be rough, have sharp edges, or projections that could cause excessive irritation or injuries.
  • The apparel should be lightweight.
  • Garments should be selected and worn such that no other clothing or equipment covers the high-visibility materials (e.g. gloves, equipment belts, and high-cut boots).


  • Daylight – Bright colours are more visible than dull colours under daylight conditions (e.g. fluorescent materials are suitable for daylight).
  • Low light conditions – such as at dawn and dusk, reflective materials are highly recommended. In dark working conditions, greater retroreflectivity is needed as it provides greater visibility these conditions. Retroreflective materials provide high-visibility conditions and are preferred over bright colours. Fluorescent materials are ineffective at night and less visible than white fabrics.


  • High-Visibility Safety Apparel Standards worldwide, specifies both the colour of the background and the stripes/bands. Class 1 (e.g., harness style) must have a minimum of 0.14 metres squared of background material.
  • Background material should be one of;
  • fluorescent yellow-green
  • fluorescent orange-red
  • fluorescent red
  • bright yellow-green
  • bright orange-red.

Care and Maintenance:

  • Keep your high-visibility apparel clean and well-maintained. Contaminated or dirty retroreflective materials provide lower visibility.
  • Replace garments that show signs of wear and tear, dirty or contaminated as they will no longer be able to provide acceptable levels of visibility.
  • Purchasers of HVSA should get proof that the materials used and the design of the garment meet the required standards.

Different classes of High-Visibility Safety Apparel

The Standards of High-Visibility Safety Apparel sets out levels of retroreflective performance (i.e., the effectiveness of material in returning light to its source), the colours and luminosity of background materials, and how much of the body that should be covered by the high-visibility components. There are also special requirements for garments that to provide electrical flash and flame protection. These Classes differ in that they specify body coverage rather than minimum areas.

Below are three classes of garments based on body coverage. Each class covers the torso (waist to neck) and/or limbs according to the minimum body coverage areas required for each class.

  • Class 1 provides the lowest recognized coverage and good visibility.
  • Class 2 provides moderate body coverage and superior visibility.
  • Class 3 provides the greatest body coverage and visibility under poor light conditions and at great distance.

When to wear the different classes of High-Visibility Safety Apparel.

After a hazard assessment is carried out, a person is able to tell if the working environment is a low, medium or high risk. This way, they are able to choose the right apparel for the job. Below is a detailed description of which class of HVSA to consider for different working conditions.

Low Risk:   Class 2, Class 1 depending on the actual conditions at the site

Examples of situations that could be considered lower risk:

  • Workers in activities that permit full and undivided attention to approaching traffic.
  • When there is ample separation between the worker on foot and the traffic.
  • When work backgrounds are not complex, allowing for optimal visibility.
  • When vehicles are moving slowly (e.g., less than 40 km/h).
  • When workers are doing tasks that divert attention from approaching traffic.

Examples of jobs include:

  • Directing vehicle operators to parking or service locations.
  • Retrieving shopping carts in parking areas.
  • Workers in warehouse operations.
  • “Right-of-Way” or sidewalk maintenance workers.
  • Workers in shipping or receiving operations

Example of Class 1 Apparel
Harness or Colour/Retroreflective Stripes on Other Clothing

NOTE: Other options are possible, including a shirt made of non-high-visibility material, but with high-visibility or retroreflective stripes/bands.

Medium Risk: Class 2 or 3 based on certain conditions

Examples of situations that may be of medium risk:

  • When vehicles or equipment are moving between 40-80 km/h (25-50 mph).
  • Workers who require greater visibility under inclement weather conditions or low light.
  • When work backgrounds are complex.
  • When workers are performing tasks that divert attention from approaching vehicle traffic.
  • When work activities are in closer proximity to vehicles (in or near flowing vehicle traffic).

Examples of jobs include:

  • Roadway construction, utility, forestry or railway workers.
  • Utility workers.
  • Survey crews.
  • Forestry workers.
  • School crossing guards.
  • Parking and/or toll gate workers.
  • Airport baggage handlers and ground crews.
  • Emergency response personnel.
  • Members of law enforcement.
  • Accident site investigators.
  • Railway workers.

Figure 2
Examples of Class 2 Apparel
Vests, Jackets and Bib overalls

NOTE: These examples are not the only options available.

High Risk: Class 2 for daytime, Class 3 for low-light conditions

Examples of situations that may be high risk:

  • Vehicle speeds exceeding 80 km/h (50 mph).
  • Workers on foot and vehicle operators with high task loads that clearly place the worker in danger.
  • When the wearer must be conspicuous through the full range of body motions at a minimum of 390 m (1,280 ft).
  • Work activities taking place in low light or at nighttime.

Examples of jobs include:

  • Roadway construction workers.
  • Utility workers.
  • Survey crews.
  • Emergency responders.
  • Road assistance/courtesy patrols.
  • Flagging crews.
  • Towing operators.

Figure 3
Examples of Class 3 Apparel
Jackets and Overalls

NOTE: These examples are not the only options available.


Just like any personal protective equipment, workers should be take through appropriate training on the use and care of the equipment. The following minimum information should be provided to workers wearing high-visibility apparel:

  • When to use the high-visibility apparel.
  • Fitting instructions, including how to put on and take off the apparel, if relevant.
  • The importance of using the apparel only in the specified way.
  • Limitations of use.
  • How to store and maintain the apparel correctly.
  • How to check for wear and tear.
  • How to clean or decontaminate the apparel correctly, with complete washing and/or dry cleaning instructions.

Remember; your safety should be your top priority.


By Monica Ngage

Every day we wake up and go on with our daily hustles. Whether you are self-employed or employed; if not that you could be doing your daily chores in the house. But are we aware of the potential hazards that we expose ourselves to while executing our duties? Are there any precautionary measures in place to mitigate such risks?

You will agree with me that these measures exist but more often than not we tend to overlook them. Take for example an electrician, every day they risk getting shocks and burns from live wires; but this can be mitigated by use of electrical gloves.

Electrical gloves are used when working with high and low voltage applications to protect workers from shock, burns fires and explosions. To maximize their efficiency, they should be worn in threes; in the following order:

  1. Liner gloves-these are the normal gloves that we put on during the cold seasons. They reduce the discomfort of wearing rubber insulating gloves. Liners provide warmth in cold weather and absorb perspiration in the warm months. They can have a straight cuff or knit wrist.
  2. Electrical gloves-This is worn on top of the liner and are meant to protect the electrician from burns, shocks and explosions.
  3. Leather protector-they are worn over the electrical gloves to protect the gloves from swelling, tears, burns etc.It is important to note that the leather protector should always be shorter than the electrical gloves as shown on the diagram below

Electrical gloves are classified into two major classes:

a) Depending on the voltage that they can handle; the classes are shown in the table below:

ASTM D120 Class Specifications for Insulating Rubber Gloves
Class Chart Proof Test Voltage Max Use Voltage Label
Class 00 2,500 AC/10,000 DC 500 AC/750 DC Beige
Class 0 5,000 AC/20,000 DC 1,000 AC/1,500 DC Red
Class 1 10,000 AC/40,000 DC 7,500 AC/11,250 DC White
Class 2 20,000 AC/50,000 DC 17,000 AC/25,500 DC Yellow
Class 3 30,000 AC/60,000 DC 26,500 AC/39,750 DC Green
Class 4 40,000 AC/70,000 DC 36,000 AC/54,000 DC Orange

b) Depending on environmental factors they are resistant to; based on this, the classes are as follows:

  1. A – Acid
  2. H – Oil
  3. Z – O-Zone
  4. R – Acid, Oil and O-Zone
  5. C – Very Low Temperatures

Rubber is susceptible to the effects of the ozone, which can cause cracking and compromise the integrity of the glove. Ozone cutting/checking is a series of interlacing cracks produced by the action of ozone on rubber under mechanical stress. If the gloves are used in an environment where the levels of ozone are high due to pollution, ozone resistance is critical.

Once the electrical safety gloves have been purchased, OSHA requires that “protective equipment be maintained in a safe, reliable condition.” This requires that the gloves be inspected for any damage before each day’s use. Gloves must also be inspected immediately following any incident suspected to have caused damage. OSHA also requires that insulating gloves be given an air test along with the inspection.

In addition to the daily inspection, OSHA requires electrical safety equipment to be tested regularly. Rubber insulating gloves must be tested before first issue and every six months thereafter. They should be inspected for tears, holes, ozone cuts, swelling which is generally caused by chemical contaminants and any other defect. The testing is supposed to be done by OSHA accredited labs. If the insulating gloves have been electrically tested but not issued for service, they may not be placed into service unless they have been electrically tested within the previous 12 months.

To help ensure the integrity of the gloves and worker safety, gloves need to be stored properly when not in use. Proper storage means that gloves must not be folded and need to be kept out of excessive heat, sunlight, humidity, ozone and any chemical or substance that could damage the rubber.



  • Follow company work procedures and safety rules
  • Inspect gloves daily for damage
  • Wear proper leather protectors over rubber gloves
  • Wash gloves with mild soap and rinse thoroughly with water
  • Let gloves air dry at room temperature or less than 120° F (49° C)
  • Store gloves in a protective bag


  • Wear jewelry or sharp objects when using rubber gloves
  • Wear damaged gloves
  • Store gloves inside out, folded, or ways causing stretching or compression
  • Store gloves near sources of UV, Ozone or heat
  • Allow gloves to contact petroleum-based products (oil, gas, solvent, hand creams)



All You Need To Know About Protective Footwear

By Ruth Carol Atieno

Our feet need proper protection at all times. The type of footwear will vary depending on our environment and the type of work we are doing. Protective footwear is to be worn at all times in the event of the following conditions:

  • When riding motorcycles
  • Walking on a very rocky area for instance mountain climbing
  • If there are heavy, rolling objects for instance barrels or tools
  • Objects are prone to falling
  • Environments with sharp objects that can easily pierce through the the sole of a shoe
  • Areas prone to splashing hot and cold liquids
  • Areas with hazardous chemicals that can splash onto feet or the floor
  • Slippery surfaces
  • An area with exposure to high temperatures or explosions
  • When working with electricity

Factors To Consider When Buying Protective Footwear

  • Shoe size – when picking the footwear it is advisable not to pick a smaller size or a larger size. Your feet should fit in perfectly well and leave a small allowance inside the shoe.
  • Material – The material that the shoe is made of will determine weather it will withstand the hazardous conditions it is exposed to.
  • Durability – Ensure you buy strong and durable shoes that will take you a long way.
  • Work environment – Your work environment is a very important factor to consider when choosing a footwear. Ensure the selected footwear is appropriate for your work environment.

Types Of Protective Footwear

Foundry Boots

These kind of safety footwear will protect your feet from the extreme heat of molten metal. foundry boots also prevent hot metal from lodging on any part of the shoe.

Metatarsal Guards

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These are strapped outside the shoe to protect the inside area of the shoe from getting crushed by heavy objects.

Waterproof Boots

Image result for waterproof boots

When working in a wet environment it is advisable to have on waterproof boots to keep your feet dry and comfortable.

Toe Guards

These are fitted at the ends of a regular shoe to prevent toe injuries.

Slip Resistant Boots

Image result for Slip Resistant Boots

These category of boots are worn when working in areas with slippery, wet or oily floors. Prevents you from slipping and falling.

Electrically Conductive Boots

when working in areas such as explosives manufacturing facilities or grain elevators, you must have on electrically conductive boots as they will reduce the risk of static electricity build up on your body.

Electrical Hazard Boots

Image result for electrical boots

These boots are non-conductors of electricity and therefore they prevent the feet from completing an electrical circuit with the ground. They also protect the feet from open circuits of up to 600V.