High visibility clothing is apparel with highly reflective properties that help workers stay visible against any background and in any lighting condition—even in the middle of the night. These garments are popular among jobs like highway and railroad construction workers, construction tradespeople, airport workers, trash and recycling collectors, landscaping professionals, warehouse workers, first responders, and many others.
Although this type of clothing applies to various industries, most of them have one thing in common: the workers are frequently in contact with large vehicles. For this reason, it is crucial that employees can be seen at any point during their shift. If you own or operate businesses in any of these industries, making your employees visible is imperative for their safety. But when it comes to choosing the right clothing for your workers, the selection process can be tricky. It is vital to get up to speed on the latest requirements, and ANSI recently released new updates to the standards for high visibility clothing.
Overview of ANSI Standards for High Visibility Clothing
The American National Standards Institute (or the ANSI) provides vivid and consistent guidelines for selecting and using high visibility clothing in the United States.
ANSI 107-2010 was a standard for construction, emergency responders, utility, airport ramp personnel, and anyone else who routinely works in low visibility areas.
The standard is revised approximately every 5 years. The last major update, in 2015, created the current high visibility apparel types:
- Type O (Off-Road)
- Workers who can be exposed to traffic at or below 25 mph.
- Type R (Roadway)
- Workers who are exposed to highway traffic and working against complex backgrounds in daytime and nighttime environments.
- Type P (Public Safety)
- Emergency/incident responders and law enforcement in both roadway and off-road environments.
These types are further organized into classes based on worker hazards and tasks, the complexity of the job site’s background, and vehicular traffic and speed:
The hi-vis examples shown below are from our partner at Protective Industrial Products (PIP). They offer hi-vis options to fit all your safety needs. They also manufacture hi-vis apparel that is self-extinguishing, include D-Ring access, UV protection, insect repellant and are water resistant.
- Performance Class 1 (Type O Only)
- This class provides the minimum amount of high visibility materials required for workers who aren’t required to come into “considerable contact” with large vehicles traveling over 25 mph.
- Performance Class 2 (Type R & Type P)
- Provides for the use of additional high visibility materials for workers who require greater visibility in poor weather conditions or find themselves near roadways and areas with high traffic traveling between 25-50 mph.
(The vest below is one of PIP’s 5 Point Breakaway Vests: A five point breakaway system allows workers to quickly remove the vest for additional safety around extreme traffic hazards, moving machinery or equipment.)
- Performance Class 3 (Type R & Type P)
- Provides the highest level of visibility reserved for workers in high-risk environments that involve high task loads, a wide range of weather conditions, and areas with heavy traffic traveling over 50 mph.
(The vest below is just one of PIP’s PPE offering specifically designed for female workers with a contoured fit and drawstring adjustable waist.)
- Supplemental Class E
- Includes pants, bib overalls, shorts, and gaiters, which are not compliant when worn alone. When combined with Class 2 or Class 3 apparel, the combination satisfies Class 3 requirements.
What’s New in ANSI/ISEA 107-2020
The latest updates cover 5 main areas of the ANSI standard for high visibility clothing:
- Elimination of Criteria within the Accessories Category.
- While workers are still encouraged to wear high visibility accessories on the job to increase biomotion, ANSI/ISEA 107-2020 no longer includes criteria for this category.
- New requirements for single-use disposable coveralls.
- Because they have become more popular, ANSI/ISEA 107-2020 applies to single-use disposable coveralls the same minimum material amounts and requirements imposed on all compliant high visibility clothing.
- In addition, all single-use coveralls must include the following on product tags:
- This garment meets the single-use disposable coverall requirements of ANSI/ISEA 107-2020, Section 11.
- SINGLE-USE ONLY.
- DO NOT REMOVE THIS LABEL
- Elimination of maximum wash cycles on care labels.
- The previous standard required that care labels list a maximum number of wash cycles to indicate the lifespan of the garment’s reflective tape.
- The maximum wash cycle label requirement has been eliminated to avoid confusion about wear and tear on the apparel that might call for the garment to be retired before meeting the maximum number of wash cycles.
- New testing requirements for segmented reflective tape.
- Segmented and perforated retroreflective tape has also become more popular, so the new standard includes additional testing requirements to establish the retroreflectivity of the background material.
- This was done to discourage manufacturers from overstating the brightness of a garment’s reflective tape.
- Minor changes to the ANSI-107 tag.
- The year 2015 will be replaced by 2020.
- If a garment is not flame-resistant, the label must include the statement “This garment is not flame resistant as defined by ANSI/ISEA 107-2020.”
Find the Best High Visibility Gear for Your Crew
Safety regulations and procedures are not to be taken lightly in any industry, let alone those that regularly require interaction with large vehicles. Quest Safety Products only supplies high visibility garments from all the top ANSI-compliant manufacturers. And since compliance on safety gear can vary from industry to industry, Quest Safety Products will find the best high visibility clothing for your specific needs. You can turn to us to ensure you meet all standards so you can focus on what your organization does best.