Waterproof vs. Water Resistant Hi-Vis Rainwear

Waterproof vs. Water Resistant Hi-Vis Rainwear

There are few things less predictable than an outdoor jobsite. In some places, the weather can change quickly, and it’s good to have gear for all kinds of situations. As the sky gets dark and the rain starts coming down, you’re probably going to want to wear something highly visible that repels water and keeps you warm. When it comes to waterproof, water resistant, and high visibility clothing, there are a lot of options available. How do you know which ones are right for your work?

Waterproof vs. Water Resistant

Most clothing will offer some level of water protection, but there’s a difference between waterproof and water resistant. When you’re working outside in the rain for a long time, this difference becomes more important. Technology advances have ensured that available rain gear is breathable, designed for warmth, resistant to various chemicals, flame-resistant, or high visibility, depending on what you need for your work.

Water resistant clothing is better for quick, drizzling showers or brief outdoor activities. They’re lightweight, best for low activity levels, and can handle light rain for short periods of time. Waterproof rain jackets and other clothing are better for more frequent wear and strenuous situations with more extreme weather—think a lot of wind, heavy rain, and very physically demanding work.

High Visibility Rainwear

With rain comes clouds and dark skies, which leads to dangerous low-light situations. If you happen to be working at night, visibility becomes especially important to avoid being struck by equipment or vehicles. High visibility rainwear like vests, shirts, jackets, coveralls, and rainwear are designed to alert drivers to your presence in order to react in time to prevent an accident or injury. These garments are made with yellow-green, orange-red, or red ANSI-compliant fabric and can have reflective tape for added visibility.

Choosing Your Gear

There are three HVSA types of high visibility gear that are rated for visibility based on where the gear will be used—O for off-road, R for roadway, and P for public safety.

You should also look at the ANSI Performance Class Definitions. There are three classes, with a fourth class that describes high visibility pants worn with other high visibility garments.

Class 1 gear is for situations where workers are separated from traffic that travels no faster than 25 MPH and not doing tasks that would take their attention away from traffic—think parking service attendance, warehouse workers, shopping cart retrievers, or sidewalk maintenance crews.

Class 2 gear is for workers who are distracted from approaching traffic with speeds exceeding 25 MPH. This class also provides greater visibility during bad weather. School crossing guards, parking and toll gate personnel, airport ground crews, and law enforcement personnel directing traffic benefit from Class 2 gear.

Class 3 gear provides maximum visibility for workers who are in imminent danger from traffic. If a worker needs to be visible from 1,280 feet, this is the class of gear they need. Roadway construction personnel, vehicle operators, utility workers, survey crews, emergency responders, railway workers, and accident site investigators wear Class 3 gear.

PK Safety High Visibility Rain Gear

PK Safety has decades of experience in workplace safety supply, which we’ve been using to provide the best gear and advice for the job. If you’re looking for high visibility rain gear, we can help you find the right safety workwear and clothing for your job. For answers to your safety or equipment questions, contact a Safety Expert online or by phone at 800.829.9580.


Sep 4th 2020 PK Safety Team

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