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OSHA Requirements for High Visibility Clothing - Updated for 2023

High-visibility clothing plays a crucial role in ensuring workplace safety, especially in environments where visibility is paramount. Keeping up with the latest regulations and standards is essential for both compliance and the well-being of employees.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets guidelines that help safeguard workers, and these are complemented by standards like the ANSI/ISEA 107-2020.

At Fonirra, we are committed to providing high-visibility apparel that not only meets but exceeds these requirements, ensuring that your team is safe, visible, and compliant.

 

OSHA Requirements for High-Visibility Clothing

OSHA, while not specifying high visibility clothing explicitly, mandates under the "general duty clause" that employers must provide a workplace free from recognized hazards likely to cause death or serious physical harm. This includes ensuring worker visibility.

The requirements for high visibility clothing are largely influenced by the ANSI/ISEA 107 standards, which set performance criteria for high visibility safety apparel to minimize the risks for workers prone to being struck by vehicles or equipment.

The key performance criteria include

  • Background Material: This is a colored fluorescent material that is highly conspicuous. It's not intended to meet the retroreflective requirements but is designed to be noticeable in daylight conditions.

  • Retroreflective Material: This material reflects light towards its source, making it highly visible in low-light conditions.

  • Combined-Performance Material: This is retroreflective material that also acts as a fluorescent material, contributing towards the minimum required area for background material​.

Work Environments Necessitating High Visibility Clothing

High-visibility clothing is essential in numerous work environments, particularly where employees are exposed to vehicle traffic or operating equipment. These include:

  • Construction sites, especially near roads or moving equipment.

  • Roadway maintenance and repair zones.

  • Airports, particularly ground crew working near active runways.

  • Warehouses with forklift and vehicle movement.

  • Emergency response and law enforcement situations.

 

The Role of ANSI/ISEA 107-2020 Standards

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) jointly developed the ANSI/ISEA 107-2020 standard. This standard outlines specific requirements for high-visibility clothing, aiming to ensure that workers are adequately visible in their work environments.

It sets forth guidelines for the design and performance of high-visibility safety apparel, ensuring that such clothing is capable of visually signaling the wearer's presence.

Classes of High Visibility Clothing Under ANSI-2020

class 1 vs class 2 vs class 3 hi-vis

The standard delineates high-visibility clothing into different classes, based on the level of visibility they provide:

  1. Class 1: Suitable for environments where the worker is separated from traffic moving no faster than 25 mph. It is intended for situations where attention is not diverted from approaching traffic. It requires a minimum of 217 in² of background material and 155 in² of retroreflective material.

  2. Class 2: Designed for workers whose tasks divert their attention from approaching traffic, or those working near vehicles exceeding 25 mph. This class offers enhanced visibility in inclement weather, with a minimum requirement of 775 in² of background material and 201 in² of retro-reflective material.

  3. Class 3: Provides maximum visibility for workers in imminent danger from approaching traffic, or those needing to be conspicuous from a minimum distance of 1,280 feet. This class requires a minimum of 1240 in² of background material and 310 in² of retroreflective material​.

Related: ANSI/ISEA 107 Classes and Types: All You Need To Know.

 

Incorporating Fire Resistance (FR) in High Visibility Clothing

osha fire resistance

Fire-resistant (FR) clothing is a type of personal protective equipment (PPE) designed to protect workers from exposure to flames and thermal hazards. FR clothing is crucial in environments where there is a risk of fire or explosions, such as in the oil and gas industry, electrical work, and certain manufacturing processes.

These garments are treated with flame-retardant chemicals or made from inherently flame-resistant materials to reduce the risk of burning and provide workers with valuable escape time in the event of a fire.

Integration of FR Properties with High Visibility Clothing

Combining FR properties with high-visibility clothing is essential for workers who are exposed to both low-visibility conditions and fire hazards. This integration ensures that workers are visible in low light or nighttime conditions while also being protected from fire-related risks.

High visibility FR clothing is especially important for workers in industries like construction, utility, and emergency services.

OSHA and ANSI Guidelines for FR-Rated High Visibility Clothing

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards, particularly ANSI 107, address high-visibility safety apparel.

ANSI 107 also pertains to FR high-visibility clothing, stipulating that any garment classified as FR must be tested according to flash fire or arc flash standards. This standard references NFPA 2112 and ASTM 1506, as well as NFPA 70E for FR clothing requirements​​​.

 

Enhancing Workplace Safety with the Right High-Visibility Apparel

1. Choose the Right Class and Type:

Ensure that the high visibility apparel meets the required ANSI/ISEA 107-2015 standard performance classes and garment types. For example, Class 3 garments offer the most visibility and are suitable for complex environments like highway work zones​.

2. Consider Environmental Conditions:

Select apparel that is suitable for the specific weather and lighting conditions in which it will be used. Consider options like wicking material for dryness, wider neck openings for comfort, and adjustable straps for a custom fit​.

3. Ensure Garment Visibility and Durability:

Regularly check the visibility of the safety apparel and replace it when it becomes faded, torn, or dirty. Remember that high-visibility garments have a limited lifespan, which can be around six months for daily use​.

4. Incorporate Convenient Features:

Look for features that increase the likelihood of the apparel being worn, such as various pocket configurations, mic tabs, phone pockets, and pen slots​.

5. Prioritize Enhanced Safety Features:

For workers in hazardous environments, consider safety features like five-point breakaway clothing styles and self-extinguishing garments that meet ASTM or NFPA standards​.

 

 

Fonirra's Commitment to Safety and Compliance

As we've explored the vital role of high-visibility clothing in ensuring workplace safety and compliance with OSHA and ANSI standards, it becomes clear how crucial the right choice of safety apparel is. For those working around uniform traffic control devices, operating construction equipment, or as parking lot attendants, wearing high visibility clothing is not just a regulatory compliance issue but a critical safety measure.

Fonirra stands at the forefront of providing top-tier hi-vis apparel. Our high-visibility clothing line is meticulously designed to meet and exceed OSHA and ANSI standards, ensuring that construction workers, warehouse workers, and other professionals are visible, safe, and compliant.

Featured Products from Fonirra:

  1. Fonirra Reflective Safety Vest: Ideal for construction workers and those around heavy equipment, this vest is designed with both functionality and compliance in mind. Featuring robust reflective material and a comfortable fit, it ensures visibility and safety in various work environments. Explore the Reflective Safety Vest.

  2. Fonirra Hi Vis Work Jacket: A perfect choice for warehouse workers and outdoor personnel, this jacket combines warmth, durability, and high visibility. With its reflective strips and compliance with the latest safety standards, it provides excellent visibility in low-light conditions. Discover the Hi-Vis Work Jacket.

Explore Our Range:

We encourage you to explore the full range of Fonirra's high-visibility apparel. Whether you need safety vests for routine work or specialized hi-vis clothing for specific tasks, our collection is designed to cater to your safety needs. Browse our High Visibility Apparel.

Remember, wearing high-visibility apparel is not just about meeting regulations; it's about ensuring your safety and the safety of those around you. Trust Fonirra to be your partner in safety.

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