No matter what industry you work in, safety is of the utmost importance. Construction workers and public safety workers, especially, must pay extra attention to safety because they work around traffic and heavy machinery. Visibility is key.
When it comes to workplace safety, proper equipment maintenance is extremely important, as is safe handling of hazardous materials. Unfortunately, safety precautions are often overlooked.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), there are over 1.5 million lift operators in the United States and, each year, OSHA issues more than 3,000 citations for safety violations. Forklifts are the second leading cause of machine-related death in the workplace, causing over 100 deaths and nearly 100,000 injuries. The use of mirrors, motion-sensing triggers, and separate doors for equipment operators help with safety, but one thing is more important than all of it – visibility.
Whether working indoors or outdoors, visibility is essential.
According to American National Standards Institute (ANSI), there are three components that make a garment hi-vis:
Garments constructed from fluorescent-background fabric are most visible during the day and in lit conditions.
At night, retro-reflective striping is the best way to increase visibility. Retroreflection occurs when a surface returns a portion of directed light back to the source, such as headlights from a car.
Bio-motion is simply movement to which the human eye is naturally drawn. As humans, we are also innately programmed to recognize the human form, so the positioning of reflective components on arms and legs should be used in such a way as to make the human form more recognizable in low-light conditions to separate a person from their background.
As needed, ANSI updates their standards for visibility gear. In 2018, the following updates were released:
To review each of these updates in greater detail, keep reading:
1. The combined ANSI 107-2010 and ANSI 207-2011 standard covers Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) workers and requires all workers to wear Class 2 or Class 3 HVSA garments when working on roads open to public travel. These standards have now been combined to create a single high-visibility safety apparel standard, as well as more clearly defined applications for off-roadway work.
2. Prior to these latest ANSI updates, manufacturers were prevented from offering true small-sized garments. The 2015 edition of ANSI/ISEA 107 includes a reduction in the minimum requirement for background fabric but only in the smallest garment size offered by a manufacturer. This update means that small-sized garments will now be available to workers who were previously forced to wear garments that were too large for the sake of being compliant with ANSI standards. Proper fit is important to reduce the chance of injury from catch hazards.
3. Three garment “types” have been defined for different workers. Type O (ANSI Class 1) is the newest type, providing daytime and nighttime visual enhancement for workers in occupational environments that pose struck-by hazards. Type R (ANSI Class 2 and 3) includes workers previously covered by ANSI/ISEA 107-201 Class 2 and 3, including occupational environments with exposure to traffic (both public-access and work vehicles). Type P (ANSI Class 2 and 3) covers workers in occupational environments but provides additional options for emergency responders and law enforcement.
4. New label requirements have been established for safety garments. The purpose of this change is to make it easier to select FR high-visibility apparel and for commercial laundries to identify and launder these garments properly. According to these new standards, labels must meet the following requirements:
No matter what field you work in, your safety is always the top priority. The American National Standards Institute exists to ensure workplace safety is standardized and uniformly enforced. These standards are frequently updated, as is reflected in the summary above.