At first glance, safety vests and apparel with reflective material worn by workers on job sites and roadway flaggers appear to be the same. In fact, there are specific requirements for wearing one of the three different types of reflective vests, shirts and coats when working on a job site.
The type of vest you wear depends on the job you are performing, and should be approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA).
When you must wear a high-visibility vest, OSHA rules require that the vest colors – strong red, orange, yellow or yellow-green – must contrast with other colors with highly visible reflective stripes in the area where you are working sufficiently to make you stand out. For example, if you are working around yellow- or orange-colored equipment, a strong red or yellow-green safety vest will make you stand out more than a yellow vest.
Of the three types of safety vests available, Class 3 and Class 2 ANSI safety vests, which have a highly reflective material, must be worn on job sites, particularly when night work is involved.
Roadway construction workers, utility workers, surveyors and emergency responders wear Class 3 and Class 2 safety vests. Flaggers must wear Class 3 vests, which offer the highest level of reflectivity. Workers in low-traffic environments, such as warehouses and parking lots, wear Class 1 vests.
Class 3 vests provide maximum visibility for construction workers that work on jobsites where there is approaching traffic and heavy machinery. Class 3 vests are visible at a minimum of 1,280 feet, and provide enhanced visibility by highlighting the users’ arms and legs so that workers are noticeable when reflecting vehicle headlights at night.
Class 2 vests provide enhanced visibility during daylight, inclement weather, but not at dusk or night.
In warm conditions or climates, a mesh safety vest helps keep workers cooler during the workday.
For night work, which greatly increases the potential hazards, lighted safety vests are available. One type has a light source that makes a vest or the stripes on a vest glow for higher visibility. Another, the LED safety vest (light emitting diode), lights up while working.
Additional ANSI-recommended safety vest requirements:
- Sufficiently loose to allow users the freedom to move as necessary yet fitting enough so no flowing ends get stuck in machinery.
- Easy to wear and remove.
Neff Rental requires its sales representatives, drivers and service technicians to wear Class 2 safety vests when visiting a customer’s job site. Road service technicians wear Class 3 apparel – highly reflective striped coats and jackets – when working on a job site, particularly at dusk and at night. For more information about Neff Rental visit www.NeffRental.com, or call 888-709-NEFF for a branch near your job site.