Visibility is a major safety concern in any job that uses moving machinery. Whether it’s highway repair, construction, or warehouse positions the need to be seen in low visibility work environments is critical for ensuring the safety of employees. For that reason, high visibility clothing is essential for workplace safety.
But what is high visibility clothing and what are the different classifications of high visibility apparel?
Below, we discuss the different types of high visibility clothing, who needs these garments and what makes apparel high visibility.
What is High Visibility Clothing?
High visibility clothing is designed to make the wearer more visible and more noticeable in their work environment. High visibility apparel is considered personal protective equipment (PPE) in the work environment and will carry an ANSI/ISEA label explaining garment characteristics.
Who Needs High Visibility Clothing?
High visibility clothing is broken down in type and class, depending on use and the occupation or industry served.
Type O falls into Class 1 and is intended for off road usage. The workers and industries affected would include parking/service location workers, warehousing, oil & gas extraction workers, refinery workers, and mining. ANSI 107-2015 definition of Type “O,” class 1 is 217 sq. inches of background fabric with 155 sq. inches of reflective tape (1.0” wide) + design.
Class 2 and Class 3 and is for roadway usage. Type R, class 2 would serve anyone who is a road construction worker, airport ramp worker, or municipality worker. Class 3 is for anyone who works for department of transportation (DOT), flaggers, some state DOT, and municipality workers. Type R is used when higher safety is required and features more background fluorescent material and wider retro-reflective tape, and additional reflective square inches needed. ANSI 107-2015 definition of Type “R,” class 2, level 2 is 540/775 sq. inches of background fabric with 201 sq. inches of reflective (2.0” wide) + design. ANSI 107-2015 definition of Type “R,” class 3, level 2 is 1000/1240 sq. inches of background fabric with 310 sq. inches of reflective (2.0” wide) + design.
Like Type R, has Class 2 and Class 3 for public safety. This includes any of the first responders, like police, sheriff, fire or EMS. ANSI 107-2015 definition of Type “P,” class 2 is 450 sq. inches of background fabric with 201 sq. inches of reflective (2.0” wide) + design. ANSI 107-2015 definition of Type “P,” class 3 is 775 sq. inches of background fabric with 310 sq. inches of reflective (2.0” wide) + design.
Off-road use Class 1 Type O
Roadway use Class 2, Class 3 Type R
Public safety Class 2, Class 3 Type P
The creation of garment types (O, R and P), under combined standard ANSI 107-2015, addresses a wider range of occupations that should be in high visibility safety apparel.
What Makes a Garment High Visibility?
At first glance, you might think what makes a garment hi vis, is the color or the apparel, like a fluorescent yellow/green, fluorescent orange/red and fluorescent red. If you guessed this, then you are partially correct. However, there are two components to making a garment hi vis. First, the there has to be a specified amount of ANSI certified fluorescent background fabric (the colors mentioned). The second criteria is a specified amount in proper design of ANSI certified retroreflective tape. For additional reading, check out the difference between retroreflective tape and reflective tape.
So is your company or organization in one of the mentioned industries or do your employees work in areas where visibility could be an issue? In another article we talk about the difference between enhanced visibility and high visibility, if safety is important, but you aren’t regulated by ANSI 107.