Among the many essential, but dangerous, jobs worked in America, highway and road work are some of the most crucial and most dangerous. In 2015 there were 96,626 crashes in such zones, or more than one every five minutes. Every day, 70 people are injured and 12 people die in a work zone accident. These statistics highlight the need for high visibility work shirts, reflective pants, and safety clothes to work zones as safe as possible. Read on for answers to frequently asked questions about high visibility work shirts and other workwear mandated by law to keep our road workers safe.
What Rules are There?
The Federal Highway Worker Visibility Rule applies to everyone who works on any roadway with public access. This includes towing and flagging, landscaping and survey, maintenance and construction, utilities and emergencies. The rules requiring high visibility work shirts and other gear are enforced by OSHA and are part of the Federal Highway Administration Manual.
Are High Visibility and Enhanced Visibility the Same?
Enhanced visibility is a lesser category, and can refer to any piece of clothing with a reflective strip. Enhanced visibility clothes, like cargo work pants with reflective tape, do make the wearer more visible but are only useful for less dangerous environments than highways and road work.
What Clothing Meets the Regulations?
On or near roads, clothing must be labeled Class 2 or 3 ANSI/ISEA 107 to meet regulations. ANSI/ISEA 107 and 207 are appropriate for certain other types of personal protection, as well. ANSI stands for American National Standard for High-Visibility Safety Apparel and Accessories. They are typically labeled O for off-road, P for public safety, or R for temporary traffic control.
How Long Do High Visibility Clothes Last?
This will depend on what the garment is used for and the exposure it suffers to the environment. Longevity is also affected by how often any garment is laundered. To get the most out of your high visibility work shirts, it’s best to purchase or rent them from an experienced supplier, who can also maintain them and help you get the best replacements.
What’s the Difference Between the ANSI Classes?
The lowest rating is Class 1, ANSI O, which is only suitable for off-road use. Class 2 ANSI R or P is for workers in temporary traffic control zones or at roadway rights-of-way, while Class 3 of this type is the highest level available and offers great visibility in all kinds of weather and light and over a full range of human movement. Class E of the ANSI offerings can’t be used alone, but when combined with a Class 2 or 3 garments can be taken together as Class 3.
High visibility workwear is crucial to keeping our road and highway crews safe and secure. It’s important for anyone working on or near roads to get the right garments, keep them maintained, replace them when necessary, and stay safe by staying visible at work.