Basics of Roadwork Visibility

Workers who spend a great deal of their time working along roadways are in constant danger from moving traffic and equipment. Employers must realize that there are federal standards that require employees to wear high visibility clothing. As of November 24, 2008, the federal government mandated that all workers within right of way of federal-aid highways are required to wear high visibility apparel that meets performance requirements of ANSI/ISEA 107-2004 class 2 or class 3 ANSI/ISEA 207-2006 public safety vests.

Understanding High Visibility Clothing

There are three classes of high visibility clothing. They are differentiated by the requirements for amounts of retroreflective material that needs to meet specific performance criteria, the width and placement of the material, design, and color of vest used. Classes of high visibility and reflective clothing are further broken down on a worker's proximity to traffic areas and the speeds of that traffic. The following is a synopsis of class requirements defined by these criteria.

  • Class 1: needs to be conspicuous and use retroreflective materials not less than 25mm in width.
    • Used when workers are well separated from traffic
    • Vehicle speeds of less than 25 mph
      • Parking attendants
      • Shopping cart retrievers
      • Warehouse workers
      • Roadside/sidewalk maintenance workers
      • Delivery vehicle drivers
  • Class 2: maintains superior visibility and are more conspicuous than the Class 1 garments. Minimum width of retroreflective material used on these is not less than 35mm.
    • Used when workers are on or near roadways
    • Vehicle speeds of 25 to 50 mph
      • Roadway construction workers
      • Utility workers
      • Survey crews
      • Law enforcement personnel
      • Crossing guards
      • High-volume parking lot or toll-gate attendants
      • Airport baggage handlers and ground crews
      • Railway workers
      • Emergency response personnel
      • Accident site investigators
  • Class 3: has greatest visibility. Maintains more retroreflective material than Class 2 and must have sleeves with retroreflective material between the shoulders and elbows. Not less than 50mm wide of retroreflective material.
    • Used for workers in high risk situations
    • Allows them to be seen from a minimum distance of 1,280 ft.
    • Vehicle speeds of greater than 50 mph
      • Roadway construction workers
      • Utility workers
      • Survey crews
      • Emergency response personnel

Always consult federal regulations for more details.

Be safe out there!

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