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I Can't Believe I Didn't See Him

I’m sure all of us have muttered those words at least once in our lives. Sometimes we were more surprised and startled by the discovery than our potential victims. At times it can be quite comical, but conversely there are times when it can lead to an injury or worse it can be fatal.

I often see walkers and bike riders wearing what appears to be industrial or public agency3m-reflective-mesh-vest high visibility safety vests, or tees. OK, so it’s not very fashionable, but what a great idea! My wife and I are both walkers and cyclers, and are taking the plunge into the fashion world of Hi-Vis safety.

So how do we as safety advocates know when it’s appropriate to advise on the use of or type of Hi-Vis clothing? The ANSI/SEA 107-2010 Standard is the place to find your answers. According to ISEA (International Safety Equipment Association) "High-Visibility Safety Apparel and Headwear is an industry consensus standard that specifies requirements for apparel and headwear that is capable of visually signaling the user's presence.” The standard also specifies the types, classes and colors of high-visibility safety garments required based on wearer’s activities and nearby vehicle and equipment speeds. For more information regarding the regulation please visit their website.

Garments are the same. There are performance classes either 1,2, or 3 and they are defined by the total area of visible background and retro reflective material. These classes are directly proportional to the environment and hazard the wearer is going to be exposed to. So, a hazard analysis should be performed by a competent person as defined by OSHA, and in accordance with the “General Duty Clause”. The higher the class number, the greater the hazard or risk associated with the garment worn.

For example:

Class 3, the highest risk, your worker needs to be visible through a full range of body motions from a minimum distance of 1280 feet. These workers include EMTs, utility works, flaggers, etc.

Class 2 Hi-Vis Safety Garments are worn by those workers exposed to traffic moving in excess of 25mph, or if the environmental background is more diverse. These workers include roadway construction, crossing guards, first responders and utility crews.

While a Class 1 garment is for use where equipment speeds do not exceed 25mph like parking lot attendants, or warehouse ops.

As for myself and my wife I think we’ll opt for class 2. Now if we can just get the designer version. Make sure to check out our assortment of Safety Gear and from everyone at SafetyInstruction.com, make it a Safe Day!

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