Understanding ANSI (American National Standards Institute) standards for high-visibility clothing is key to keeping workers safe. These rules set the minimum brightness and reflectiveness of work clothes, ensuring people stand out when it matters most. 

This guide will clearly break down these categories. Bright colors catch your eye during the day, while added shiny bits reflect light at night or in low light, much like some animals warn predators with vibrant shades. To avoid accidents, ensure everyone is easy to see. 


History of ANSI Standards

ANSI's story started long ago when big groups that made, tested, and knew about engineering got together. They wanted one team in the U.S. to make rules that everyone would agree on so things could work better together. In 1918, they set up what we now call ANSI.

It was their dream to stop all the confusion over different standards being used simultaneously. They also brought in individuals from government—like the Departments of War and Commerce—because it was important to them as well. At first, there wasn't much going on except plans.

But by getting smart people from these areas to talk and plan together, they built a foundation that helps us even today with things like making sure our high-visibility clothing keeps workers safe according to clear guidelines everybody understands. This effort has made everything simpler across many jobs around this country since then.


Elevating Industry Standards with Performance Classes

When looking at ANSI class clothing, it's key to understand how workers stand out. Bright colors like red, orange, and yellow warn of danger. They're just as vital in our clothes for safety on the job.

Knowing the performance class of safety vests is key when choosing them. Class 1 vests are for low-speed areas, providing minimal visibility. For those on or near roads, Class 2 vests increase your chances of being seen with higher visibility.

In zones where vehicles move fast, Class 3 is best as it offers the highest level of visibility needed to stay safe. Vests must meet ANSI/ISEA standards in color and design to ensure they stand out during day and night work times. They add layers of safety by effectively reflecting light back to its source.

Design Criteria: Background and Reflection

When picking the right high-visibility clothing, understanding "Type" and "Class" is key. Type O marks gear for those not on roadways but near moving vehicles, like in warehouses. They face less risk and need Class 1 level protection—minimal reflective material.

For roadside work, Type R. Depending on traffic speed or weather conditions, you might need Class 2 or 3 – more fabric to stand out better where risks are higher. This setup ensures safety without unnecessary cost or discomfort from extra coverage not needed for lower-risk jobs.


Introduction to Enhanced Visibility: Understanding Class E

In this segment, we dive into Class E of the ANSI standards for high visibility clothing. Specifically designed to boost lower body visibility, Class E items include pants and shorts that can be worn with other high-visibility classes like 1, 2 or 3 gear. When combined with either a Class 2 or Class 3 top piece, the outfit reaches Level 3 protection—the highest safety level—making it perfect for those at greatest risk in low-light conditions.

Remember, your safety on site matters most; picking these carefully assessed pieces ensures you're seen and safe.


Selecting the Right Safety Equipment

When selecting the right safety equipment, understanding Class 2 is vital. For work near traffic at speeds of 25 to 50 mph, ANSI Class 2 vests are ideal. They provide added visibility with more reflective material and background color than Class 1, crucial for spots close to roadways or temporary traffic zones.

These include sleeveless vests in fluorescent yellow-green or orange-red for clear contrast against most backgrounds. With a minimum requirement of 755 square inches of background fabric and over 201 square inches of reflective tape, these vests ensure worker visibility day or night.

Safety isn't just about meeting standards; it's also about choosing gear that stands out against your working environment, ensuring you're seen when it matters most.

June 20, 2024 — Alex Barreras