Standard High Visibility Clothing

High visibility of workers is very important in work places that require employees to work using large vehicles and equipment. Being highly visible is one the safety measures that companies utilize to keep their employees safe and prevent them meeting unwanted accidents or incurring injuries that are related to their jobs. Thus, having the adequate highly visible garments are something that every worker should have especially in places where the is very little amount of light.

OSHA

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released an Interpretation Statement in August 5, 2009. This statement emphasized that workers should be clothed with the proper high-visibility garments in their workplaces. Wearing improper uniforms endangers the lives of the workers. For example, workers who work on roads and construction are at risk of getting hit by rushing vehicles or being hit by falling objects or run over by large construction vehicle. Flaggers, as well as those who work the traffic and near excavation, are one of the people who must always wear high visibility garments. Thus, under section 5a1 of OSHA, workers must be provided with the protection that they to ensure their safety while facing the dangers that come with their line of work.

The American National Standards Institute/International Safety Equipment Association (ANSI/ISEA) implements the standards concerning the adequate high-visibility work gear and garments for employees, and such standards are honored by both OSHA and the U.S. Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

ANSIE/ISEA 107-2015: American National Standard for High-Visibility Safety Apparel and Accessories

ANSIE/ISEA 107-2015 resulted from the merging of ANSI/ISEA 107-2010 and ANSI/ISEA 207-2011. ANSI/ISEA 107-2010 was more focused on the proper work gear and clothing of non-public safety workers. On the other hand, ANSI/ISEA 207-2011 focused on the wellbeing of public safety employees. The two standards share some similarities but they still differ in some aspects. For example, public safety personnel can use material with less fluorescent background. This condition allows the documentation of public safety employees based on the equipment belts and identification panels that are requested from them for their work.

ANSI/ISEA 107-2015 presents to categories of high-visibility apparel: Types and Performance Classes. Depending on the environment of the workplace, the worker must wear the required garment based on its type. On the other hand, the performance classes of apparel offer the workers with design choices depending on the level of risk and degree of visibility needed by the wearer.

TYPES OF HIGH-VISIBILITY APPAREL

  1. TYPE O (off road)

Type O garments can be used during both daytime and nighttime, especially in workplaces where they are at risk of getting hit by fast-moving vehicles, equipment, or machinery. On the other hand, Type O apparel is not for use on public access highway right-of-way or roadway temporary traffic control (TTC) zones.

Type O apparel is usually used by:

  • Workers who retrieve pushcarts from parking lots

  • Workers who are at risk in the presence of warehouse equipment

  • Workers who work in oil refineries and mines

  1. TYPE R (roadway)

Type R garments can also be used during both daytime and nighttime and in work environments which require exposure to traffic, including public access highway right-of-way, roadway TTC zones, and their associated construction equipment.

Type R apparel is usually worn by:

  • Road construction workers

  • Parking attendant or toll gate employee

  • School crossing guards

  • Towing operators

  • Baggage handlers in airports

  1. TYPE P (public safety)

Type P apparel can be used during both daytime and nighttime in cases of emergency by incident responders and authorities, as well as in places which exposes the employees to traffic or in public access highway rights-of-way and road TTC zones. Type P apparel are especially made for workers who respond to emergencies and for law enforcement officers who also need such kind of garment in their line of work.

Type P apparel is usually used by:

  • Law enforcers

  • Emergency responders

  • Firefighters

  • Road closure workers

  • Investigators assigned to sites of accidents

FIVE PERFORMANCE CLASSES

The specific design requirements of the performance classes depend on the background materials, retroreflective/combined performance materials, and width of reflective materials that will be used in the creation of the garments.

  1. PERFORMANCE CLASS 1 (TYPE O)

PC1 includes garments with low amount of high-visibility materials, and they are used to distinguish the workers from their work environments. PC1 garments are used in off-road workplaces.

  1. PERFORMANCE CLASS 2 (TYPE R OR P)

When the garments are made with higher amounts of high-visibility materials, they are categorized under Performance Class 2. PC2, which conveys the lowest of protection, is worn by workers that are found in roadway rights-of-way and TTC zones.

  1. PERFORMANCE CLASS 3 (TYPE R OR P)

PC3 apparel contain much higher amounts of high-visibility materials and are used by workers in environments with complex backgrounds. The sleeves and pant legs of the garments may also be equipped with retroreflective and combined performance materials.

  • Garments under PC2 and PC3 can be categorizes as Type R or Type P depending on the required amount of the background material. PC2-Type R garments have an at least 775-square inch area covered by the background material. PC2-Type requires at least 450-square inch area to be covered by the background material. The background material in PC3-Type R apparel covers about 1240 square inches, whereas PC3-Type P must occupy 775 square inches of the garment.

  • In addition, the amount of background material can be lowered depending on what is desired by the involved parties.

  1. SUPPLEMENTAL CLASS E

SCE apparel include things, such as pants, overalls, bibs, shorts, and gaiters.

  1. OPTIONAL HIGH-VISIBILITY ACCESSORIES

This group includes the likes of headwear, gloves, and arm or leg bands. The accessories belonging to this group should be used alone as high-visibility protective gears.

FLAME RESISTANCE

A flame resistant garment must be properly labelled, and there are two ways by which workers can use such kind of things.

  1. Tagging the garments with FR along with the unit of the ASTM standard used in measuring flame resistance; and

  2. Attaching a certification to NFPA 1977 or 2112.

(A non-flame resistant garment must also be labeled)

SERVICE LIFE

Service life indicates the length of period that a high-visibility apparel can be used. All the people involved in the provision and use of the garments should always assess their needs of using high-visibility materials. In addition, any damaged apparel must be repaired properly or replaced right away. According to Appendix F of ANSI 107, the suggested service life of high-visibility garments is 6 months, whereas those which are scarcely used may last up to three years.