​What’s the Difference Between Class 1, 2, and 3 Safety Vests?

Posted by PK Safety Team on Oct 22nd 2019

​What’s the Difference Between Class 1, 2, and 3 Safety Vests?

When your team is in the field, your workers need to wear safety vests, or high-visibility vests. These vests are made with highly reflective materials that keep individual workers visible, especially at night. All safety vests are rated and approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Safety vests are classified as Class 1, Class 2, or Class 3, based on the amount of both reflective material and high contrast (orange or lime color) fabric making up the vest. The degree of reflectivity in the tape and intensity of the background fabric colors are specified in the ANSI standard. The more hazardous your workplace, the more visible your team needs to be.

Learn about the differences between the classes of hi-vis vests and when to use each.

Class 1 Safety Vests

Class 1 vests are for those working in low-impact areas. According to OSHA, this includes areas where traffic flow does not exceed 25 mph. Workers should also be stationed a good distance away from the traffic to prevent injury. Class 1 vests are typically used by parking attendants, delivery drivers, and roadside assistance personnel in low traffic areas.

All class 1 vests should have a minimum of 155 square inches of reflective tape. Dimensions of the reflective tape can be either 6.46 linear feet of 2-inch tape or 9.39 linear feet of 1 3/8-inch tape. The reflective stripes should be around the middle in a 360º stripe and above each shoulder. These vests should also have a bright yellow or orange color.

Class 2 Safety Vests

Those working near heavier traffic and in low visibility areas will need to wear class 2 safety vests. The weather may reduce visibility in these areas and traffic flow may exceed 25 mph. Workers should still be stationed a good distance away from the traffic. Class 2 vests are typically worn by airport workers, high-volume parking or toll booth operators, and forest workers.

Class 2 vests must have a minimum of 201 square inches of reflective tape. Dimensions of the reflective tape can be 8.373 linear feet of 2-inch tape or 12.2 linear feet of 1 3/8-inch tape. Reflective stripes should be over the shoulders and around the middle in either one or two 360º horizontal stripes.

Class 3 Safety Vests

Class 3 vests are reserved for those that are close to high-traffic areas, including site inspectors, emergency responders, railway workers, and utility crews. Traffic in these areas may be close to or exceed 50 mph. Workers typically work right next to the road or in other hazardous areas, so they should be as visible as possible to prevent injury.

These vests must have a minimum of 310 square inches of reflective tape that is 12.92 linear feet and 2-inches wide. This includes a requirement that the worker have a full silhouette outline. Headlights approaching a worker should make plain that this is a person. This means reflective materials on the arms and legs, which far exceeds the standards for Class 1 and Class 2 safety vests.

Finding Quality Safety Vests for Your Workers

Reflective safety vests should be just as comfortable as they are safe. If you’re looking for reflective safety vests for members of your team, visit PK Safety for a wide selection of high-visibility clothing, including Class 1, 2 and 3 vests.

The PIP ANSI Type R Class 3 Two-Tone Surveyor Vest is made of a mesh and a solid polyester fabric which adds breathability and less prone to dirt and damage. The contrasting colored tape around silver reflective provides optimal visibility.

The PIP ANSI R3 Two-Tone Mesh Surveyor Vest is made of a mesh adds a great deal of breathability especially in warmer climates.

The PIP ANSI Class 2 Two-Tone Six Pocket Surveyor's Vest comes with a back-mesh panel that keeps you cool on the job, while the front panel comes with pockets for radios, phones, and other supplies. It also comes with reinforced stitching for more durability, and two-tone reflective tape for more visibility in the field.

The PIP Type R Class 2 Two Pocket Zipper Mesh Vest 302-0702Z-LY is made of polyester mesh for more breathability. You and your team can stay cool on the job without putting yourselves at risk. It’s perfect for anyone that needs a Class 2 reflective safety vest.

The PIP Yellow Mesh D-Ring Access Hi-Vis Vest 302-0600D-LY is perfect for those working in class 2 work zones or those facing potential fall hazards. It’s made with breathable fabric and comes with a built-in access point for attaching a safety harness. Available in Lime Yellow and Orange.

Stay safe on the job with these quality hi-vis safety vests. For more information on the differences between Class 1, 2 and 3 vests, contact the safety professionals at PK Safety.