What is The Federal Highway Worker Visibility Rule?
The Federal Highway Worker Visibility Rule (23 CFR Sec. 634) is law and is enforced. It requires workers to wear specified ANSI Class 2 or Class 3 High Visibility safety apparel when working on any federal, state, county, or city road projects subsidized with Federal monies. Examples include, but are not limited to, construction, maintenance, survey, landscaping, towing, paving, flagging, emergency, and utility workers.
What garments meet the specified High Visibility requirements?
Only garments certified and labeled as ANSI/ ISEA 107-2004 or later version personal protective safety apparel. Performance Class 2 or 3 meet the requirements per the ANSI Standard for High Visibility Safety Apparel and Headwear.
What is ANSI 107?
A voluntary standard with guidelines that provide practical instruction regarding both reflective material and garment design to enhance worker visibility in lower light situations. The guidelines define three classes of garments as most appropriate, depending on the level of risk in the outdoor work environment.
What’s the difference between the three ANSI classes?
The classes are defined by the minimum amount of background and retro-reflective material, the configuration of the retro-reflective material, as well as other technical garment design requirements. A wearer shall select which class they wear based upon their own risk assessment.
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 who are on or near roadways, are exposed to traffic traveling at speeds in excess of 25 mph, and are 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, and who are exposed to traffic traveling at significantly high speeds. 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 response personnel.
What is enhanced visibility? Is it the same as High Visibility?
No. The term enhanced visibility can be used for any garment of any color that has retro-reflective striping added to it in any configuration. These garments are not typically ANSI compliant and are for workers in lower risk environments. These workers can still benefit from the extra security of heightened visibility, particularly in low light conditions.
Is ANSI ISEA 107 a law mandated by OSHA or other governmental agency?
NO… ANSI 107 is voluntary CONSENSUS standard.
I already have a uniform program, can I just add reflective stripes to these garments to get my employees into ANSI compliance?
NO. Reflective striping creates retro-reflectivity for darkness, but ANSI ISEA 107 clearly states that acceptable visibility must occur during daylight hours as well. Therefore, the ANSI standard dictates garment background colors to be specified Lime Green, Orange, or Red (colors considered fluorescent). Simply adding reflective striping to existing garments only makes that garment “enhanced” visibility… not “high” visibility.
Can I be in ANSI compliance if I purchase reflective safety vests at my local discount retailer?
Possibly. But remember, retro-reflective and background materials must be certified to verify safety performance. Purchasing your safety PPE from a reputable safety supplier is generally best. As is often said, “You get what you pay for.”
How long will High Visibility/enhanced visibility garments last and remain ANSI compliant?
Lifetime of the garment varies depending upon exposure to wear and tear, how long it is in use, and in what manner the items are maintained and laundered. Certified ANSI compliant retro-reflective garments that use 3M Corporation reflective tape products are of the highest quality. The safest way to go is to use a Rental Service supplier, like UniFirst, to maintain the garments properly, to gain the most wear life from them, and to get replacements when their useful reflective life has passed.
What is the difference between ISEA/ANSI 107 and CSA Z96?
The Canadian Standards Association (CSA) created their own standard, CSA Z96 – High Visibility safety apparel, based on ANSI-107. While there are similarities in test methods used and photometric and retro-reflective performance of the materials used, there are major differences in configuration of retro-reflective material and garment design requirements. This being said, a garment which is ANSI-107 compliant is not necessarily CSA-Z96 compliant and vice versa