Whether in an off-road or high-traffic work zone, workers need to be properly clothed in reflective and high visibility vests and clothing to keep them safe on the job. Workers are at high risk of being injured or killed by vehicles or other mobile equipment if they cannot be clearly seen by drivers.
The Federal Highway Administration and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have implemented standards for what high-visibility gear is required on workers in different types of work zones. If you are curious whether your workers need construction safety vests in Vermont, this guide will help explain the different performance classes and appropriate situations for each.
What is high visibility clothing?
High visibility clothing is a type of personal protective equipment designed to make the wearer more visible to operators of nearby construction equipment or vehicles. This type of clothing should make the person wearing it stand out from their environment and is usually found in fluorescent yellows, oranges and reds. The background fabric will typically be covered in retroreflective tape on the arms, torso and waist areas, which helps to increase visibility during night hours.
Standards for high visibility clothing
Not all high visibility clothing is created equal. There are actually multiple performance classes of this clothing that are designated by the ANSI/ISEA 107 American National Standard for High-Visibility Safety Apparel and Accessories, a voluntary standard intended to increase worker visibility in differing work zones.
There are three types of high visibility garments according to ANSI/ISEA 107: off-road (type O), roadway (type R) and public safety (type P). Each type is expected to use a particular type of garment that meets the standards of specified performance classes:
- Class I: Class I garments are only suitable for type O work zones and provide the minimum amount of high visibility material. Class I garments are appropriate for work zones that are separated from motor vehicles, such as in parking lots or warehouses with low-speed mobile equipment.
- Class II: Class II clothing is meant to be worn in type R or type P scenarios and provide higher levels of visibility to better outline the human form and separate wearers from their work zone environment. Class II construction safety vests in Vermont give a lower amount of protection to workers in roadway work zones, such as roadway construction workers or survey crews.
- Class III: Class III garments are also required for type R or type P scenarios, in which workers are exposed to motor vehicles traveling at higher speeds. These garments typically have retroreflective striping on the sleeves to more fully outline the human form. First responders will often wear Class III garments on roadways.
- Class E: Class E garments are intended to supplement Class II and III high visibility clothing, such as pants or shorts. They do not meet performance class standards when worn on their own, but can help create additional visibility for the wearer.
Worksafe Traffic Control Industries offers a wide variety of ANSI-approved high visibility garments for many types of work zones. Visit our website to browse our catalog of construction safety vests in Vermont, as well as our other state-of-the-art signage and traffic control products.