When talking about high visibility apparel and the requirements that your company should be following, you may have heard of the term, ANSI 107. So the question is, does your company fall into an industry that must adhere to this standard or maybe it’s the step you take to add that extra layer of protection, to your employee workforce. In this article you will learn about the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and how ANSI 107 started, to where it is today.
What is ANSI (American National Standards Institute)?
For more than 90 years, the American National Standards Institute has been serving as the U.S. private sector voluntary standardization system. Originally started by 5 engineering societies and 3 government agencies, today, is a private nonprofit membership organization.
ANSI is supported by a wide range of private and public sector organizations, with the goal of enhancing the global competitiveness of U.S. business and the American quality of life, by promoting and facilitating: voluntary consensus standards, conformity assessment systems, and promoting their integrity.
What is ANSI 107 and why is it important?
The ANSI/ISEA 107 standard was first established in 1999, as 107-1999. ANSI 107-1999 was the first standard for the design of high visibility safety apparel. It wasn’t until late 2008, when the first U.S. Federal regulation (23 CFR, part 634) was implemented for Federal Aid highway environments and required the use of performance, Class 2 or 3 ANSI/ISEA 107 garments. The 23 CFR regulation applied to highway construction, maintenance, and utility workers.
What changes happened with ANSI 107-2010?
ANSI 107-2010 was a standard for construction, emergency responders, utility, airport ramp personnel, and any other workers, who routinely work in low visibility areas while on the job. ANSI 107-2010 provided guidelines for the selection and use of high-visibility safety apparel such as shirts, rainwear, safety vests, outerwear, and headwear to improve worker visibility during the day, in low-light conditions and during night. ANSI 107-2010 brought new changes from the previous iteration, which included:
- Retroreflective material in the shoulder area.
- Clarification of the definitions of waterproof, water resistant, and water repellant.
- New labeling and test requirements for flame resistant garments.
ANSI 107-2010 Specifications
ANSI 107-2010 changes covered design; care labeling; requirements for background and combined-performance retroreflective materials; and photometric and physical performance requirements for retroreflective materials.
The ANSI 107-2010 standard provided design guidelines and specified the photometric requirements, minimum amounts of component materials, colors, and placement to create garments and headwear for the purpose of enhancing the visibility of workers.
There are three different colors for background and combined-performance material from which to choose: fluorescent yellow-green, fluorescent orange-red, fluorescent red.
It’s only after all materials have been tested against performance requirements and certificates of compliance from a third party testing laboratory have been issued, then the apparel manufacturers then assemble garments according to the design guidelines in ANSI 107-2010, Section 6. Only after all the materials’ performance and design requirements have been met, can a garment be labeled ANSI/ISEA 107-2010 compliant. To understand more about garment labeling, general marking, and instructions, see Sections 10 and 12 of the standard.
Requirements for Background and Combined-Performance Materials
In Section 7 of the standard we see specifications for color, brightness, fabric strength, and moisture resistance after various exposure tests. If a garment is intended to provide protection during rainfall, background materials also need to be tested as water repellent, water resistant, and/or water-proof. Background and Combined-performance materials need to be tested for chromaticity or color, and luminance or brightness, when new and for colorfastness after laundering and Xenon (UV light) exposure. The background materials must also be tested for colorfastness after crocking and perspiration tests.
Retroreflective Material Placement
Class 1 and 2 garments, such as vests and T-shirts, and Class 3 garment designs, such as vests with Class E pants ensembles, coveralls, outerwear, and rainwear should achieve:
- Use of retroreflective band widths appropriate for the garment class. (See Section 6.1.1. of the standard)
- Provides a complete 360 degree visibility with horizontal gaps of 50mm or less.
- Garments without reflective material encircling the sleeves are now required to have 150cm2 (23.25 in2) of reflective material in the shoulder area, to provide 1800 visibility of the wearer.
- Appropriate separation distances of vertical and horizontal bands placed on the torso, sleeves, and trouser areas.
- Appropriate retroreflective band placement and garment design.
- In addition to trim, retroreflective patterns, such as logos, design icons, or identification text may contribute to the maximum area requirements specified in Table 1.
Photometric and Physical Performance Requirements for Retroreflective and Combined-Performance Materials
Section 8 of the standard specifies photometric and performance requirements for retroreflective and combined-performance materials, such as minimum brightness after test exposure.
- Retroreflective and combined-performance materials are certified to ANSI/ISEA 107-2010 specifications.
- All material must meet the minimum brightness requirements after tests for abrasion resistance, flexing, folding at cold temps, variations in temps, influence of rainfall, and laundering. When washing is indicated on the care label, the number of cycles should be tested per ISO 6330 Method 2A, 600c, or dry-cleaning per ISO 3759.
- Combined-performance material must almost meet the minimum luminance or brightness factors after a Xenon exposure test (UV light).
What changes happened with ANSI 107-2015?
The ANSI standard is being revised, approximately every 5 years, with the previous revision coming in 2010. This latest edition (ANSI/ISEA 107-2015) was released on February 1, 2016.
The new ANSI standard brought new type designations, replacing the existing classes.
So which type ANSI 107 garment do you choose?
- Type O – is for off-road and non-roadway use (Class 1) and targets the mining, oil and gas industries and is not required to comply to a standard.
- Type R – is for roadway and temporary traffic control zones (Class 2 & 3) and targets those who work on public roadways, construction and are required to comply with MUTCD.
- Type P – is for emergency, incident responders and law enforcement personnel (Class 2 & 3). Type P targets law enforcement, fire departments, and first responders.
Logos, Lettering, and ID Panels
If you want to add a logo, an ID panel or lettering, it can cover up to 72 in.2 of the minimum amount of background material and 22in.2 of the minimum amount of retroreflective material. There can also be no gaps in the retroreflective material greater than 1.97” horizontally.
Class 1 and 2 Shoulder Area Requirements
If class 1 and 2 garments (all types) do not have reflective encircling the sleeves, then they must:
- Have at least 23.25 in.2 of reflective material in the shoulder area.
- Shoulder area is 5.9” down from the shoulder high point (total front to back).
- Class 3 garments must always have reflective on the sleeves, so shoulder area reflective is optional.
Smaller Size Allowance
This only applies to Type R garments only and there can be no deduction in retroreflective allowed. While all large sizes must meet the regular minimum requirements. For class 2, the smallest size in size range may have a minimum of 540 in.2 of background material. While the class 3 smallest size, in the size range, may have minimum of 1,000 in.2 of background material.
ANSI/ISEA 107 Garment Class E
Class E garments do not meet ANSI/ISEA 107-2015 when worn alone. They can be worn with class 2 garments, to make class 3. A pair of gaiters can now be certified class E. If you would like to learn more and purchase the ANSI 107-2015 standard, then you purchase directly from the ANSI website.
If you are looking or needing more information on high visibility clothing, for your team, then contact us and we would be happy to discuss how we can help outfit your team and meet your safety standards.