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Wearing A Safety Vest Is For Your Own Safety

Date Added: May 18, 2011 12:22:45 AM
It doesn’t often make the news, but each year scores of men and women are injured or killed while working on or near roadways.   Construction workers, law enforcement personnel and first responders such as fire fighters and EMS workers are all at risk of blending into their backgrounds and not being seen by motorists.  Wearing a safety vest can literally save your life.
In an effort to reduce the number of accidents, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has established standards, ANSI/ISEA 107-2004, for high visibility safety vests and other high visibility clothing. To assure that a safety vest, jacket, etc. is visible both in the bright sun as well as at night, the standard sets the amount of reflective material the garment must have. An ANSI safety vest is intended to make the wearer more visible, whether worn during the day or at night. ANSI Safety vests complying with these standards have quickly become accepted throughout industry as an effective way to protect workers by increasing their visibility. Workers who are within the right-of-way of a Federal-aid highway who are exposed to either traffic, or to construction equipment within the work area are required to wear reflective vests, and possibly additional high visibility safety apparel. Workers who would be required to wear a reflective safety vest include but are not limited to: surveyors, equipment and truck drivers, construction and maintenance crews, inspectors, flaggers.
The ANSI standard has established three classes for high visibility clothing:
CLASS 1 A safety vest in this category is for use where occupational activities: permit full and undivided attention to approaching traffic; provide ample separation between the pedestrian worker and vehicle traffic; permit optimum visibility in backgrounds that are not complex, and where; vehicle and moving equipment speeds do not exceed 25 mph.

Examples of workers who could use a Class 1
safety vest may include: workers retrieving shopping carts from parking areas; workers directing vehicle operators to parking or service locations; workers exposed to warehouse equipment traffic.

reflective vest in this category is for use where: greater visibility is desired during bad weather; there are complicated backgrounds; workers are performing tasks that draw their attention away from approaching vehicle traffic; vehicle or moving equipment speeds exceed 25 mph; work activities take place closer to vehicle traffic.

Examples of workers who could use a Class 2
reflective vest may include: roadway construction workers; utility workers; survey crews; school crossing guards; railway workers; forestry workers; parking or toll gate workers; airport baggage & ground crew.

CLASS 3   Class 3
reflective vests are for use where: workers are exposed to high vehicle speeds and/or reduced sight distances; the worker and vehicle operator have high task loads, clearly placing the worker in danger; the worker must be visible through the full range of body motions at a minimum of 390 meters (1,280 feet) and must be identifiable as a person.

Examples of workers who could use Class 3
reflective vests include: roadway construction workers; utility workers; survey crews; flagging crews.