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It’s important for workers to stay visible on the job when using potentially hazardous equipment or when working near high-traffic areas. Wearing high visibility clothing is the best way to ensure drivers and motorists see workers and that workers see each other, so they can maintain a safe distance. High visibility, or hi-vis, clothing are garments made with bright neon colors, typically orange or yellow, but they can be found in different colors. Many items include reflective tape to further improve visibility. Some companies assign specific colors to workers based on their position to help everyone keep track of each other’s duties and responsibilities in the field.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) mandates that all workers wear high visibility clothing when working on highway maintenance jobs, in road construction work zones as flaggers, or when exposed to private or public motor vehicle transportation or construction equipment. Most worksites require their workers to wear high visibility clothing to improve safety regardless of the type of work being performed and their proximity to highway traffic. However, wearing high visibility clothing is not federally required unless the job takes place near an active roadway. Working in low-light conditions only increases the need for high visibility clothing. Any time someone is using a potentially dangerous piece of equipment in the vicinity of other people, everyone in the space should wear this clothing as well. State and local requirements and regulations vary across the country, so check with your local construction or Department of Transportation office for more information.
Garments that comply with the standards created by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) / International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) are considered high visibility by OSHA.
ANSI organizes hi vis clothing into three types: O (Off-road), R (Roadway), and P (Public Safety). Type O is used by those away from active roadways, R is used to protect workers near roadways, and Type P is reserved for public safety professionals, like crossing guards and police officers. Workers should use the proper class depending on the work environment.
ANSI also rates high visibility clothing by class, ranging from Class 1 to 3. The higher the class, the more visibility the garment provides. Class 1 garments are worn in non-complex environments, such as warehouses. Class 3 provides the maximum level of protection. It provides visibility in both complex and non-complex environments, while Class 2 is somewhere in between the two.
The two main things to consider when choosing high visibility clothing are the class and comfort of the garment. The item should provide enough visibility for the task or environment at hand without making the worker uncomfortable on the job. It should fit properly over the layers they are wearing underneath while limiting the amount of excess fabric. Workers should also choose high visibility clothing based on the weather conditions.
Contact PK Safety to learn more about our safety workwear including our high visibility clothing options. Use these items to keep your workers safe in all kinds of conditions.