When is high visibility clothing needed?

Hi-vis personal protective equipment is worn by workers in low-light environments or poor visibility conditions. Also known as high-visibility safety apparel (HVSA), it encompasses a range from clothing like neon yellow safety jackets, bright orange vests, lime-colored pants with reflective stripes, and even fluorescent rain gear.

The Federal Highway Worker Visibility Rule

Anyone working on or near federal aid highways or public access roadways must be provided with high-visibility safety apparel that is compliant with ANSI/ISEA standards 107 and 207, as required by the Federal Highway Worker Visibility Rule

What are the ANSI classes for HVSA?

The three classifications are based on the approved safety colors, the amount of retro-reflective material, how that material is configured on the piece of clothing, and other technical garment design requirements. The background fluorescent colors (lime green, orange, red) ensure visibility in the daylight while the reflective material keeps workers easily detectable in darkness or at night.

  • ANSI Type O, Class 1: Garments in this classes are offer the minimum amount of high-visibility materials meant to differentiate the wearer from non-complex work environments. Performance Class 1 is only appropriate for off-road environments
  • ANSI Type R or P, Class 2: The minimum amount of protection for workers in temporary traffic control zones or those exposed to roadways rights-of-way must meet the standards of Performance Class 2 and be made with additional amounts of hi-vis materials.
  • ANSI Type R or P, Class 3: Performance Class 3 provides the wearer with a greater amount of visibility by raising the minimum level of high visibility material that the garment must contain. There are additional requirements pertaining to the placement of background and retroflective materials.

There is also ANSI Class E, which includes hi-vis items that don't meet requirements if worn alone—but they can be combined with Class 2 or Class 3 clothing for extra protection.

Enhanced visibility vs. high visibility

Any garment of any color is considered to have enhanced visibility if it features reflective material in some sort of configuration. Clothing labeled as enhanced visibility rather than high visibility are typically used in lower-risk environments and do not meet ANSI standards, but can still be beneficial in low-light conditions.

High-Visibility Clothing for Warehouses

Warehouses or industrial facilities with industrial vehicles should also equip operators and pedestrians with hi-vis safety clothing. Outfitting workers with high-visibility safety vest will ensure operators can easily spot people around their forklift, and operators should wear a safety vest so it's easily known that someone is operating the vehicle.


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