Enhanced Visibility vs. High Visibility: Getting Seen And Being Safe

One in four “struck by vehicle” deaths involve construction workers, more than any other occupation.  So what does safety to mean to you, to your company, to your industry? Is acting and being safe a set of rules or is it in the DNA of the company? Perhaps it’s a certain set of industry regulations, like NFPA 2112 or ANSI 107 or 207, which regulate your industry.  If that’s the case, then you are very aware of flame resistant and hi-vis clothing.    

If safety is a priority for your workforce, but you aren’t held to any of those standards, then what do you do? In this case, you would have two options: You could go with enhanced visibility or step up your safety game and go with high visibility.  Let’s look at some of the difference between the two, so you can make a decision for your team.


Visibility Choices


Enhanced Visibility Clothing

So what is enhanced visibility? Quite simply, it is any garment that is outfitted with the retro-reflective tape, in any layout and is not held to the ANSI standard.  The reflective tape is usually found around the lower chest and sleeve area, when on a top and around the shin, when on pants or jeans.  Enhanced visibility garments are for those who work in lower risk areas, but still want that added visibility.  You will see this with a lot of oil and gas workers, who add the retro-reflective tape to their flame resistant garments.    

bulwark high visibility tops

High Visibility Clothing

Hi-vis garments are much different and are held to specific ANSI 107 standards.  The high visibility garments are broken down into different types and classes, for specific workers and industries.  Each garment type, under high visibility, must meet specific minimum area (in2) of background material and minimum area (in2) of retro-reflective striping.


Color Choices

For high visibility, there are three different color variations:

    • fluorescent yellow-green
    • fluorescent orange-red
    • fluorescent red  

When deciding on which color you should choose, consider the work and environment. This will help you determine which color will stand out most for daytime use.  You want to choose a color that achieves the highest degree of contrast against the background and any equipment that is in the work zone.  An example would be working in and around orange-colored work equipment and signage, and in this case, you would want to consider the fluorescent yellow-green hi-vis garments.      

Due to enhanced visibility not being held to any standards, color choices are more open, and you won’t see any bright fluorescent background colors.  An example might be a navy blue hoodie or grey coveralls, but they will have a contrasting color, like a fluorescent yellow or orange with the retro-reflective tape.  An enhanced visibility shirt would have the tape around the chest and back and striping down the arm sleeves.  


Safety Standards

High visibility has specific standards it must meet, addressing those who work in specific job functions.  In 2015, ANSI 107 and 207 were consolidated into a single document, ANSI 107-2015.  Where public safety was once covered under ANSI 207, it is now covered as type “P” within 107-2015.  

Unlike high visibility, enhanced visibility is not held to any standards.   

For those who workers in electrical utilities, chemical, oil, gas, mining and petrochemical industries, they might need flame-resistant apparel and are held to a different standard.  NFPA 2112 addresses any worker and defines the minimum performance requirements for garments which are to be worn by workers who face the threat of exposure to a flash fire in their workplace.  

So why are we talking about FR garments? Because both enhanced visibility and high visibility can be tied to flame resistant and meet either industry needs or the safety requirement of your company.

There’s a place for safety in all companies and organizations and for some, it supersedes company profits.  Adopting a culture of safety helps to ensure you go home each and every evening to your family.  Perhaps you are just starting out and want enhanced visibility for your company or department or maybe you are wanting to up the safety game and get your team in high visibility.  Whatever your needs are, we can help you assess your options and get your team outfitted in the right apparel and accessories.    

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Topics:   Visibility