Most people have heard the expression: "dress for success”. Here, at PK Safety
, we like to dress to stay safe. It’s critical that workers can be seen when working in road construction sites and alongside traffic to prevent “struck-by” accidents. One of the most important forms of protection for workers is high-visibility
OSHA requires high-visibility clothing but doesn't call for it outright. Under the federal worker-safety "general duty clause" companies and business owners are required to provide: “employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees”. ANSI/ISEA 107-2010 sets performance criteria for high-visibility safety apparel in order to reduce hazards present to workers at risk for being struck.
The performance criteria specifies background, retroreflective, and combined-performance materials. Background material is “colored fluorescent material intended to be highly conspicuous, but not intended to comply with the requirements… for retroreflective material.” Retroreflective material “reflects and returns a relatively high proportion of light in a direction close to the direction from which it came.” And combined-performance material is “retroreflective material that is also a fluorescent material and can be counted toward the minimum area requirements for background material.” ANSI/ISEA 107-2010 requires that the three materials be certified by an accredited, independent third-party laboratory to ensure that the materials meet the specified performance criteria imposed by the standard. Certain amounts of reflective material are required to meet hi-vis requirements, however knowing this isn't necessary. The performance class system described below takes this into account.
There are three standard performance classes of high-visibility compliance as outlined in the table below. There's also a fourth class called: "Class E". Class E describes high-visibility pants being worn without other high-visibility garments. When wearing high-visibility pants with a Class 2 or Class 3 garment, an overall Class 3 performance standard will be met.
||When to Wear
||Intended for locations where the worker is separated from traffic, which is traveling no faster than 25 mph.
Intended for workers whose tasks don’t
divert their attention from approaching traffic.
||Minimum background material: 217 in²
Minimum retroreflective material: 155 in²
||Intended for workers whose tasks divert their attention from approaching traffic and for those who must work near vehicles exceeding 25 mph.
Provides enhanced visibility during inclement weather.
||Minimum background material: 775 in²
Minimum retroreflective material: 201 in²
||Provides maximum visibility for workers
who have tasks that place them in imminent
danger from approaching traffic
Provides maximum visibility when the
wearer must be conspicuous at a minimum
distance of 1,280 feet.
||Minimum background material: 1240 in²
Minimum retroreflective material: 310 in²
The table below shows the types of workers that typically require the different classes of high-visibility apparel. Parking lot attendants and warehouse workers are generally not required to meet the Class 1 standard because they don't have street or highway exposure. Wearing the garment does make workers more visible and can provide extra on-premise safety even if not required by law.
||Type of Worker
||Parking service attendants, warehouse workers in traffic, shopping cart retrievers and those doing sidewalk maintenance.
||School crossing guards, parking and toll gate personnel, airport ground crews and law enforcement personnel directing traffic.
||Roadway construction personnel, vehicle operators, utility workers, survey crews, emergency responders, railway workers and accident site investigators.
If you're unsure about whether a garment meets the needs of the job, refer to the clothing label. The label should contain the performance class number and the words ANSI/ISEA 107-2010 (previously ANSI/ISEA 107-2004). ANSI/ISEA 107-2010 recognizes that these garments and their high-visibility properties don't last forever. The U.S. Federal Highway Administration estimates high-visibility work wear to last 6 months of daily use or 3 years of occasional use. Don't take chances, periodically reevaluate your high-visibility work wear for the minimum required level of visibility. If you have questions or would like advice on available hi-vis apparel, please give us a call at 1-800-829-9580.