High Visibility garment selection should be based on the color and complexity of the work environment, the work task being done, the distance of the worker from moving equipment and vehicles, and the speed at which those vehicles are moving.
Best practices guidelines—like the voluntary standards outlined in ANSI 107-2010—provide practical instruction regarding both reflective material and garment design. These guidelines also define classes of garments as most appropriate, depending on the level of risk in the work environment.
ANSI CLASS 1
For use by workers who are well separated from traffic and working in areas where vehicle and/or equipment speeds do not exceed 25 mph. Workers who can benefit from this class of garments include those directing parking operations, retrieving shopping carts from parking areas, maintaining sidewalks, making deliveries from vehicles, and working in warehouses where motorized equipment is present.
ANSI CLASS 2
For workers in situations where complex visual backgrounds may be present. Examples of workers benefiting from this class of garments are roadway construction workers, utility workers, survey crews, crossing guards, tollgate personnel, airport baggage handlers, first responders and law enforcement personnel.
ANSI CLASS 3
These are High Visibility garments for workers in the highest-risk situations, who need to be visible through a full range of body motions from a minimum distance of 1280 feet. Workers who can benefit from this class of garments include highway maintenance and construction crews, utility workers, tow truck operators, survey crews, flaggers and emergency responders.
ANSI CLASS E
Applies to retro-reflective equipped pants, bib overalls or shorts, designed to be worn in combination with either Class 2 or Class 3 tops. When worn in this manner, the ensemble is rated as Performance Class 3.
For workers who are working in lower risk environments, but who can still benefit from the extra security of heightened visibility, particularly in low light conditions. These garments are not ANSI compliant.