Archive for High Visibility Clothing

High Visibility Clothing Selection

A recent addition to the Enviro Safety Product’s Resource Center is the High Visibility Clothing Selection Guide.  The variety of safety vests and other high visibility apparel makes the process of selecting the correct garment for the appropriate conditions difficult at best.  The importance of protective clothing cannot be over emphasized, as this protective measure is critical to the well-being and success of any worker environment.

There are a number of considerations when selecting high visibility clothing.  First, one must consider the risk involved in the work environment.  The closer to moving traffic, the higher the degree of visibility required.  Is the worker primarily working during the day or at night?  Second, one must judge how suitable the garment is for the job.  Loose fitting garments may not be appropriate where moving machinery parts could snag on the protective clothing.   Weather conditions, summer versus winter, all play into the selection of the correct high visibility clothing; vests, jackets, rainwear, etc..

There are three  classes of garments specified in the ANSI/ISEA 107-2010 standard for high visibility safety apparel, which specifies design, requirements for material used, performance requirements and care labeling.  The classes affirm the minimum amount of background and retroreflective (returns light directly to the source) material, the placement of retroreflective material, and garment design requirements.  Non-ANSI and Class 2 garments include vests and t-shirts.  Class 3 garments include vests with Class E pants, coveralls, outerwear and rainwear.

Quick Question: Does open weave or mesh meet the background materials requirements of the standard?

ANSI/ISEA 107-2010 is a performance standard and the material specifications are not written to include or exclude any materials if they meet the requirements for visibility or durability. Many compliant mesh products are available in the marketplace.

Please visit our resource center for more information on safety products.

NFPA 1901 – Safety Standards

This post is meant to give a brief overview of these requirements. To learn specifics and more in-depth requirements, visit NFPA website. As of January 1, 2009, the NFPA 1901 Standard for Automotive Fire Apparatus requires that all Fire Apparatus Vehicles must have Public Safety Vests that meet ANSI/ISEA 207. To learn more about ANSI/ISEA 207 approved Safety Vests click here. NFPA 1901 includes additional safety standards that are required for Automotive Fire Apparatus’ to be equipped with in order to maximize firefighter capabilities and minimize risk of injuries.

NFPA Standards for Fire Apparatus applies to contracts signed on or after January 1, 2009. In addition to ANSI/ISEA 207 Public Safety Vests, NFPA 1901 safety standards include, but are not limited to, the following:

Public Safety Vests:

  • One vest for each seating position
  • Five-point breakaway feature – two at the shoulders, two at the sides, and one at the front (NFPA)

Vehicle Data Recorder:

  • Capture data once per second in 48 hour loop
  • Minute by minute summary stored for 100 engine hours
  • Software to download information (NFPA)

Vehicle Stability:

  • Requires one of the following:
  • Remain stable to 26.5 degrees in both directions on tilt table
  • Calculated center of gravity no higher than 80% of vehicle height
  • Have a vehicle stability system (NFPA)

Additional Equipment:

  • One traffic vest for each seating position
  • 5 fluorescent orange traffic cones
  • 5 illuminate warning devices
  • 1 automatic external defibrillator (AED)
  • Step ladder or multipurpose ladder (must meet ANSI A14.2 or ANSI A14.5) (NFPA)

Diesel Particulate Filter – if provided:

  • Regeneration process must be activiated by two methods:
  • Automatically by the engine system
  • Manually when initiated by activiation of a switch
  • Switch required that will inhibit DPF regeneration
  • Icon to indicate that the DPF requires active regeneration (NFPA)

Low Voltage Electrical

  • 45 amps on minimum continuous electrical load
  • Ground lighting and surface lighting
  • Driving/crew compartment interior lighting
  • Compartment lighting at floor with no shelves, dividers, or equipment (NFPA)

Seat Belts:

  • Type 1 – Lap Belt 60 inches
  • Type 2 – Pelvic and upper torso 110 inches (NFPA)

Retroreflective Striping:

  • At least 50% retroreflective strippping in a chevron pattern sloping downward at a 45° angle
  • Each strip 6 in. in width (NFPA)

Aerial Devices:

  • Minimum rated capacity constant throughout entire operating envelope
  • Interlock required to prevent operating into an unstable position
  • An indicator to allow the operator to determine maximum extenstion (NFPA)

Foam Systems:

  • Required to be tested and certified by final installer at 3 specific test points (NFPA)

Air Systems:

  • Compressor required to have air quality monitoring (NFPA)


  • Type I – remain connected to tow vehicle and are dependent on each other for required electrical power and conspicuity
  • Type II – allow separation from tow vehicle after arrival and are not dependent on the tow vehicle for electrical power
  • Type III – open trailers designed to transport other vehicles, equipment, or containers that will be used off the trailer. (NFPA)

Public Safety Vests – ANSI 207 Vest Requirements

About the Standard:

ANSI 207 Public Safety Vest standard was created in response to public safety user group’s demand for high visibility safety vests that differentiate Police, Fire, EMS and EMS personnel from other non-related personnel: Red is for Fire Officials, Blue is for Law Enforcement, Green is for Emergency Responders, and Orange is for DOT Officials.

207 public safety vests are designed shorter to allow quick access to belts and tools. Many of these safety vests feature (but are not mandatory to the standard) loops, pockets, badge holders, mic tabs and ID panels to meet the user’s need for functionality while still offering an effective high visibility garment. Unlike the ANSI 107, Public Safety Vests have no classifications – It’s just the Public Safety Vest Standard (PSV).

ANSI 207 requires 450 square inches of background material and 201 square inches of reflective material. Please note ANSI 207 vests do not meet the requirements of ANSI 107 and therefore do not currently meet the requirements of 23 CFR 634. For more information about ANSI 107 click here.

The DOT/FHWA has proposed a number of changes that will affect 23 CFR 634. Of the most immediate concern is that they propose allowing ANSI 207 vests for emergency responders. This change did not go into effect in time for the November 24 deadline and is not likely to go into effect until the 2nd or 3rd quarter of 2009.

ANSI/ISEA 107 Standards

ANSI Approved ClothingAbout the standard:

ANSI/ISEA 107-2004 is the American National Standard for High-Visibility Safety Apparel established by ANSI, the American National Standards Institute.

This standard provides guidelines for the use of high-visibility safety apparel (shirts, rainwear, outerwear and safety vests) for construction, utility, police, emergency medical services, fire fighters and airport ramp ramp workers. ANSI/ISEA 107 is intended to improve workers visibility during the day, in low-light conditions and at night. It also provides guidelines to help purchasers select the appropriate garment based on assessment of worker hazards and tasks, complexity of the work environments or background, and vehicular traffic and speed.

Not sure about the differences between all classes? See which class is required for your job.

Class 1 – For workers in occupations that permit full and undivided attention to approaching traffic. When work backgrounds are not complex. When Pedestrian workers are separated from traffic. Examples, parking lot attendants, shopping cart retrievers, warehouse workers, and delivery vehicle drivers.

Minimum requirements for Class 1:

■Background Fabric – 217 square inches
■Retro reflective Material – 155 square inches

Class 2 – For workers who require greater visibility under inclement weather conditions. When work backgrounds are complex. When tasks divert attention from approaching vehicle traffic. Examples, roadway construction workers, utility workers, survey crews, railroad workers, school crossing guards, airport baggage handlers, law enforcement personnel, accident site personnel, emergency response personnel, high volume parking and toll-gate personnel.

Minimum requirements for Class 2:

■Background Fabric – 775 square inches
■Retro reflective Material – 201 square inches

Class 3 – For workers and vehicle operations whose high task loads place them in danger. When wearer must be conspicuous through the full range of body motions at minimum 1,280 feet. When wearer must be identifiable as a person. Examples, roadway construction workers, utility workers, survey crews and emergency service personnel.

Minimum requirements for Class 3:

■Background Fabric – 1240 square inches
■Retro reflective Material – 310 square inches

High Visibility Clothing

High Visibility ClothingThe American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) have published the ANSI/ISEA 107-2004 standard which specifies different classes of high visibility safety garments based on wearer’s activities. This standard was developed in response to workers who are exposed to low visibility conditions in hazardous work zones.

ANSI/ISEA have also recently published the ANSI/ISEA 207-2006 Standard for High-Visibility Public Safety Vests which establishes design, performance specifications and use criteria for highly visible vests that are used by law enforcement, emergency responders, fire officials, and DOT personnel. This public safety vest standard was created in response to public safety user group demand in 2005 for a high visibility safety vest garment differentiated from ANSI/ISEA 107-2004 compliant apparel. The primary concern was a need for flexibility of designs that would provide tactical capability not achievable with ANSI 107 garments. Law enforcement and emergency responders that would be distinct from ANSI 107 to avoid interchangeability with other high visibility vests.

ANSI/ISEA Approved High Visibility Clothing:There are three classes of garments specified in the standard that are based on the wearer’s activities.

Class 3: These garments provide the highest level of conspicuity for workers and have the greatest visibility of the three classes. These will have more retroreflective material used in its construction than the Class 2 and it must have sleeves with retroreflective material between the shoulders and elbow. Class 3 approved high visibility clothing are for workers with high task loads in a wide range of weather conditions where traffic exceeds 50 mph. The standard “recommends these garments for all roadway construction personnel, vehicle operators, utility workers, survey crews, emergency responders, railway workers and accident site investigators”. Our Mesh Safety Vests and High Visibility Rain Jackets are great sellers for those requiring the highest visibility level.

Class 2:These garments have superior visibility and are more conspicuous than the Class 1 garments. The minimum width of the retroreflective material used on these is not less than 35mm. Class 3 garments are for workers who work near roadways where traffic exceeds 25 mph and need greater visibility in inclement weather. Workers who would typically wear these garments are: railway workers, school crossing guards, parking and toll gate personnel, airport ground crews and law enforcement personnel directing traffic. The Surveyor’s Vest is our most popular economical safety vest. The majority of our safety vests are ANSI class 2 approved.

Class 1: These garments need to be conspicuous and use retroreflective materials not less than 25mm in width. Class 1 garments are worn by workers where traffic does not exceed 25 mph and there is ample separation from the traffic. These workers typically are parking service attendants, warehouse workers in equipment traffic, shopping cart retrievers and those doing sidewalk maintenance. We also offer a large selection of high visibility clothing for those who don’t require ANSI approval.