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ANSI Class 2 Explained - The Web’s Most Complete Guide

construction hi vis clothing

Being highly visible to moving traffic and machine operators is important when working in high-traffic environments. The American National Standards Institute(ANSI) recommends High Visibility Safety Apparel for certain jobs.

High Visibility Safety Apparel(HVSA), or hi-vis clothing, can be classified into three different performance classes based on their intended functions and appearance: Class 1, Class 2, and Class 3. There are two types of ANSI Class 2 HVSA:

  • Class 2 Type R

  • Class 2 Type P

This article will walk you through the types of ANSI Class 2 Safety shirts and ANSI requirements regarding Class 2 reflective materials and combined performance materials.

Understanding Safety Vests

construction team discussing, wearing hi vis gear

What are safety vests, and how do they keep you safe in the workplace?

Did you know that Between 2011 and 2015, 804 construction workers died from struck-by hazards? Among these fatalities, 57 percent happened in work zones, 114 happened as a consequence of being hit by a car, and 112 happened due to being hit by a truck.

Safety vests are special garments worn by construction crews, emergency personnel, and road flaggers intended to keep them visible at work.

They consist of a bright yellow or bright orange background combined with a reflective striping that helps keep passersby and drivers alert that there’s a human being in their field of vision.

What is ANSI 107 Class 2 High Visibility Clothing?

Class 2 HVSA has a few more requirements than Class 1 clothing. They are mostly worn on job sites where the workers have slight exposure to traffic and machinery. Therefore, they have additional background material and reflective material or reflective strips.

These high-visibility garments are easier to notice during the day and night than Class 1 garments. They can be used in work sites close to moving traffic at 25 - 50 mph speeds.

As discussed below, ANSI/ISEA Performance Class 2 Safety Garments can be split into two types, each having a specific function.

ANSI Class 2 Definition Type R and Type P

ANSI Class 2 Type R and P are the recommended minimum for workers who are in close proximity to temporary traffic control (TTC) zones and roadway rights-of-way. Class 2 Type P and Type R HVSA High visibility clothing have more high visibility features added to them compared to Class 1. (Which is only suitable for off-road use.)

Type R (Roadway)

This type of HVSA can fall under Class 2 and Class 3 safety apparel and is commonly used on roadways. Class 2 Type R safety vests provide enhanced visibility using additional high visibility background material on the vest and extra square inches of reflective strips to define the human figure better.

However, Just like class 1 Type O, Class 2 Type R vests are sleeveless. They are also a requirement by law for job sites with high vehicular and equipment traffic. Besides safety vests, other safety garments that fall under Type R include Jackets, ANSI class 2 long-sleeve shirts, sweatshirts, and T-shirts.

Type P (Public Safety)

Type P HVSA, like Type R, constitutes both Performance Classes 2 and 3. However, they are intended for public safety only. They consist of vests and jackets with additional fluorescent background material and extra inches of retro-reflective material.

Class 2 (Type P) safety apparel is designed to serve first responders and police officers. For that reason, they are shorter than other HVSA around the waist to allow for easy access to equipment carried around the waist, such as weapons.

What are the Requirements for Class 2 High Visibility Safety Garments?

OSHA has established various ANSI standards that must be met for Class 2 high-visibility material to be compliant. Here are some minimum requirements that your Class 2 safety vests need to meet:

  • The safety orange or safety yellow background material needs to cover a minimum area of 755 square inches.

  • The vest should have at least 201 square inches of reflective tape or combined performance materials.

  • Retro-reflective material(reflective tape) must have a minimum width of 2 inches (50 mm) or 1 inch (25 mm) for split trim designs.

Buying the right safety vest is important before you start working around moving traffic. To be safe, if you are unsure of what performance Class to buy for your work environment, buy the next highest quality Class.

Remember to check the safety vest label for the correct information on the garment's type, performance Class, arc rating, size, and care instructions.

Class 2 Colors

ANSI/ISEA 107 ANSI safety vests come in two main OSHA-approved base colors:

  1. Fluorescent Yellow-green (Fluorescent Yellow-green)

    Fluorescent Orange-red (Fluorescent Orange-red)

A good rule of thumb when selecting a safety vest color is to check the amount of contrast between the vest and your work environment. There should be a stark contrast between the two for complete visibility.

For instance, yellow-green ANSI Class 2 shirts OSHA-approved are the most popular HVSA colors, but they do not work well in an overly green environment. Wearing a yellow-green ANSI-approved shirt in a park with trees blends you into the environment instead of making you stand out.

Safety Vest Materials

When you picture a safety vest, you probably picture a mesh or cloth that is brightly colored. Safety vests come in various materials but are commonly made of polyester or polycotton. They are made of light fabric or mesh that doesn’t add significant weight to the wearer but keeps them safe nonetheless. The brighter the fabric, the more visible the material is.

The other major component of safety vests is the retro-reflective tape, and combined performance materials. They are made of a rigid material that reflects a good portion of the light that lands on them in the same direction. These materials work best at night, especially against directional lights like headlight beams.

Retro-reflective materials usually come in gray, silver, or white. For a vest to be considered compliant, it should meet the minimum square inches of reflective tape recommended by ANSI standards.

Optional Vest Features

hi vis jacket features

Some ANSI safety vests have optional accessories like pockets, zippers, and extra straps. Others are designed to withstand conditions such as snow, fire, and rain. This makes them very convenient for different jobs and personnel.

For example, ANSI recommends certain standards for fireproof, waterproof vests designed to withstand electrical hazards. Some safety vests also provide enhanced visibility from extra reflective straps.

What is The Federal Highway Worker Visibility Rule?

The Federal Highway Worker Visibility Rule states that: All workers within the right-of-way of a Federal-aid highway who are exposed either to traffic (vehicles using the highway for purposes of travel) or to construction equipment within the work area shall wear high-visibility safety apparel. Only ANSI/ISEA-107 Class 2 and 3 provide the necessary visibility in these circumstances.

Workers Who Are Required to Wear Class 2 Safety Vests

Performance Class 2 is the minimal HVSA required for workers or personnel exposed to temporary traffic control (TTC) zones and highway rights-of-way. Some examples of occupations that may require wearing a Class 2 ANSI-approved vest include:

  • Toll operators

  • Surveyors

  • Roadway workers

  • Public transit or railroad workers

  • School crossing guards

  • Airport tarmac workers

  • Construction workers working around heavy construction equipment.

  • First response personnel (Paramedics, Law Enforcement, etc.)

Class 2 safety vests also provide enhanced visibility in work environments with inclement weather conditions and constant traffic flow.


Frequently Asked Questions

If I already have a uniform program, can I just add reflective stripes to the garments to get my employees to be ANSI compliant?

No. Work uniform programs aren't categorized as High visibility clothing. While the reflective stripes will help protect the workers at night, they are not enough for daylight hours. ANSI standard-approved vests offer greater visibility than work uniforms.

Can I be in ANSI compliance if I purchase reflective safety vests at my local discount retailer?

Yes, You can be ANSI compliant and stay safe at the same time, provided the vest meets all OSHA and ANSI/ISEA 107 standards for its respective class.

What is the Difference Between the Three ANSI Classes?

Class 1 safety vests have the least amount of reflective background material and reflective striping. Parking lot attendants, warehouse workers, and forest workers can use Class 1 vests.

Class 2 vests have a larger reflective area than Class 1 garments, offering enhanced daily and night visibility. They can be worn by roadway workers and construction workers working near heavy equipment or around moving traffic.

Lastly, Class 3 hi-vis garments require, at minimum, 1240 square inches of reflective safety yellow or safety orange background material. Class 3 safety vests can be created by adding sleeves to a Class 2 safety vest and/or Class e pants. Class 3 safety vests are mostly worn by first responders, flaggers, and the police.

Our ANSI Class 2 Safety Garments

At Fonirra, we stock a variety of highest-quality Class 2 safety vests that comply with the American National Standards Institute recommendations. For example, this Work wear Vest meets all ANSI quality requirements for reflective material and reflective tape.

All our Class 2(Type R) safety vests offer more visibility from a safe distance both during the day and at night. We also have safety yellow and safety orange background Class 3 and Class 1 OSHA and ANSI-compliant HVSA. Visit our shop and browse our extensive collection of hi-vis safety vests and other garments.

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