Find out which class of high visibility clothing you will need.
High visibility clothing is broken up into three classes. In 2011, the American National Standards Institute passed a revised version of the ANSI/ISEA 107 Standard for High Visibility Public Safety Apparel and Headwear. The ANSI 107 is a collection of guidelines that give instruction about clothing design and reflective materials for workers. It’s meant to increase the visibility of workers in low light situations, or areas of heavy traffic. Clothing that is labeled and certified as ANSI/ISEA 107-2004 or after will meet the requirements.
ANSI 107 is not government mandated, but is a consensus standard. However, the Federal Highway Worker Visibility Rule is enforced for highway workers. Highway workers must wear specific ANSI Class 2 or Class 3 high visibility gear while working on roadway projects that are subsidized with Federal monies.
The ANSI standards are based on what type of work is being performed, nearby vehicles and equipment speed. Each class also has different material and measurement requirements for the high visibility clothing.The materials are also broken down into background material, retroreflective material and combined-performance material.
ANSI high visibility clothing comes in three color choices: fluorescent yellow-green, fluorescent orange-red and fluorescent red.
ANSI Standards Class 1
Class 1 clothing is worn by workers who are in traffic areas where the speed does not exceed 25 mph. There should be a good amount of separation from the moving traffic. Common Class 1 workers include parking service attendants, employees retrieving shopping carts, warehouse workers and sidewalk maintenance workers. Reflective harnesses and some vests are typically classified as Class 1.
ANSI Standards Class 2
Class 2 clothing is worn by workers who are in areas where the traffic goes between 25 and 50 mph. It can also be worn where workers need more visibility because of the weather conditions. Class 2 vests and t-shirts are commonly worn by crossing guards,traffic directing personnel,parking and toll gate workers and airport grounds workers.
ANSI Standards Class 3
Class 3 provides the highest visibility. It is worn by workers who are in areas where traffic exceeds 50 mph. These workers are also in areas where there is a high work load, with varying weather conditions. Class 3 clothing is designed so workers are visible from a minimum distance of 1,280 feet. This ANSI standard is worn by roadway construction workers, utility workers, railway workers, emergency crews, and accident site investigators. There are Class 3 jackets, hoodies, shirts and vests available.
ANSI Standards Class E
There is also a Class E, which is designated for pants, bib overalls or shorts. In order for a Class E to become Class 3, the reflective Class E pants must be paired with a Class 2 or Class 3 top.
You may also see shirts listed as “enhanced visibility”. Enhanced visibility shirts can also contribute to worker visibility, but are not typically ANSI certified. These are usually used for workers in low risk environments.