In any given work environment, safety is one of the biggest concerns. How do you keep your employees safe from any dangers or hazards in low-light settings at work? One of the best ways is by appropriately incorporating hi-vis safety apparel into their uniform. As apposed to ppe like n95 masks, hi visibility vests and t-shirts is designed to alert external hazards. For example, nighttime road workers wear hi visibility vests to alert oncoming traffic. The work would not require hi visibility apparel if there were no cars on the road. But, hi visibility apparel has been proven to protect both drivers and workers. It's no wonder that OSHA continues to expand the professions that are required to wear hi visibility apparel.
Hi Vis apparel should be comfortable and not excessively loose. If safety apparel does not fit properly, in either extreme, it could lead to dangerous exposure and contamination or machine snag hazards. It is important to properly train your employees on how to wear this safety apparel properly in accordance to your work environment. It is important that the color of your safety apparel provides contrast to your work environment. There are proven studies that if a person has on a fluorescent garment that can be seen at a distance, it draws attention to that person and makes them stand out from the rest of the background.
American National Standards Institute Safety Apparel Standards
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) classifies safety apparel into three classes:
Class 1 garments: Class 1 garments are for employees working directly with traffic and moving vehicles that are moving no faster than 25 mph. For example, parking lot attendants, employees working in a warehouse where equipment is present or employees retrieving items from parking lots.
Class 2 garments: Class 2 garments are for employees who are involved in work activities with aggressive weather conditions or conditions more elevated then class 1. For example, forest rangers, construction on a highway with cars going faster than 25 mph, airports attendees and emergency responders.
Class 3 garments: Class 3 garments are for employees who need high visibility and might be involved with extremely hazardous situations. For example, survey crews, towing operators and working in extremely dangerous weather.
ANSI further designates Hi Visibility Apparel into three types:
Type O: Off-Road. A class 1 garment that requires 217 square inches of background material and 155 square inches of reflective material.
Type R: Roadway. A class 2 or 3 garment with 775 or 1240 square inches of background material and 201 or 310 square inches of reflective material.
Type P: Police. A class 2 or 3 garment with less background material than a type R but at least the same amount of reflective material.
What Colors Are Considered Hi-Vis?
ANSI/ISEA standards state that hi-vis colors are fluorescent yellow-green, fluorescent orange-red, and fluorescent red. Workers receive discretion in determining which color works for their particular situations. In no circumstances would black or other dark colors be considered hi-vis. The type of hi-vis chosen is based on risk.