Understanding the Standard for High-Visibility Clothing

High-visibility (abbreviated as hi-vis) clothing was designed to make you easier to spot when you are at a work site, out for a walk where vehicles are present or any other time you want to make sure that you are seen. All hi-vis clothing, however, is not created equal. There are different classes, different levels and different types.

The purpose of this paper is to help you navigate these differences to make sure that you have the best protection as well as being compliant.

The ANSI/ISEA 107-2015 standard was designed by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) along with the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) in order to determine which hi-vis vest, jacket, raingear, etc… needs to be worn in which situation in order to make sure that employees are visible enough to maintain a safe working environment.

Hi-vis garments are available in raingear, sweatshirts, T-shirts, pants, vests, fall protection vests, hats and incident command vests


There are only three colors that meet the standard. These colors are fluorescent yellow-green,

fluorescent orange-red and fluorescent red. Any other color does not meet the standard. Be aware of this as there are many different color vests available. Only these three colors meet the standard.

Class 1, 2, 3 and E

There are three classes of hi-vis clothing, each for a specific job application

Class 1 – Designed for areas that are removed from traffic or where the traffic that is present never exceeds 25 MPH.

A Class 1 vest or jacket must have a minimum of 6.46 linear feet of 2″ reflective tape or 9.39 linear feet of 1 3.8″ reflective tape and at least 217 in2 of high-visibility background material.

Class 2 – Designed for areas where the traffic does not exceed 50 MPH. As a general rule this includes most roadways but excludes highways.

A Class 2 garment must have a minimum of 8.375 linear feet of 2″ reflective tape or 12.2 linear feet of 1 3.8″ reflective tape and at least 775 in2 of high-visibility background material

Class 3 – Designed for highways and roadways where speeds will exceed 50 MPH.

A Class 3 garment must have a minimum of 12.92 linear feet of 2″ reflective tape and at least 1240 in2 of high-visibility background material.

Class E – Designed for pants. A Class E pair of pants adds additional background material and reflective tape so that, when combined with a class 2 vest, coat or jacket, we end up with a Class 3 assemble.

Level 1 and 2

In addition to having a “class” rating, you will often see a hi-vis garment with a “level” rating. The level rating actually applies to the reflective tape on the garment. Level 1 retro reflective tape must exceed 65cd/(lx • m2) at observation angle 12° and entrance angle 5° cd/(lx/m2) and a level 2 must exceed 330cd/(lx • m2) at observation angle 12° and entrance angle 5°.

Type “O’, “P” and “R”

Finally, there is also a “type” classification for hi-vis garment designed to reflect the environment in which they are used.

Type O – The “O” stands for “Off-road”.

Type R – The “R” stands for “Roadway”

Type P – The “P” stands for “Public Safety”

Additional considerations

Many hi-vis garments are now also available in a flame resistant material for work in environments where flammability is an issue. Look for the “FR” on the label.

Counterfeits and Fakes

There are plenty of hi-vis garments out there that are made with inferior materials that do not meet the standard. These garments may or may not have fake labels in them that say that they are ANSI approved when, in fact, they are not. Only purchase garment made by trusted manufacturers like M. L. Kishigo, PIP, Radians, Tingley, Majestic, Ergodyne, Blaklader and Occunomix.


Download the “Understanding the Standard for High-Visibility Clothing” whitepaper

What’s Your Fall or Confined Space Rescue Plan?

You have a fall protection program. You have a confined space procedure, That’s all great and good but even the best laid plans of mice and men, as they say… So what’s your rescue plan? What’s going to happen when, despite all the training and preparations, something goes wrong?

All too often, as we call on customers we hear them answer that question with “We’ll call 911!”

Maybe it’s time to reexamine that rescue plan for a number of reasons:

  1. Are 911 emergency personnel going to be able to able to make it there in time? In a great many cases, unless you’re right next door the fire department response times are going to be high; to high to save the life or lives.
  2. Are 911 personnel trained in the kind of rescue that is necessary? Confined Space rescue and rescues after a fall aren’t normally among the training that 911 emergency personnel get. They might not be able to do a proper rescue.
  3. Do emergency personnel have the right equipment? Rescues from falls and confined space require specialized equipment. Don’t assume that your fire department or 911 emergency response team has this gear, especially in smaller towns where there isn’t a lot of funds.

OSHA requires you to have an emergency rescue procedure and plan in place. If you haven’t checked with your local 911 team to see if they can meet the above criteria, you’ll be held responsible, not them.

Start with proper training like the training available through convergence training but don’t stop there. Run through the scenario and have emergency drills. Mainly, make sure that you are equipped and prepared because once you’re in the middle of an emergency it’s too late to find out that your local 911 response team can’t handle the job.

Infants Dying in Car Seats

Are you leaving your infant in their car seat because they are asleep and you’ve arrived at your location? If they are still properly strapped in, that’s okay but if you’re in the habit of unbuckling them they are in danger of death by positional asphyxiation.


Positional asphyxiation occurs in infants who don’t have the neck strength to lift their head. If they aren’t properly trapped in they can slump forward and their head can fall on their chest and, because they don’t have strength in their neck muscles they can’t lift their head enough to open up their airways in order to breathe.

Read about one such death and the efforts of Shepard Dodd’s parents to spread the word in order to save the lives of other infants. Better yet, spread the word. In simply talking about this post here at work several women admitted that they have let their infant who wasn’t strapped in sleep in a car seat in the past. My guess is that most parents have no idea.

Driving Distraction Away (Free Guide)

I have a 1 hour commute each way to work for 4 days each week (I work from home on Fridays) which means 8 hours on the road each week. I use that time to listen to books on tape and read at least 2 books a month that way.

What I did not realize is that it constitutes distracted driving. Check out the graphic below:


Granted, it looks as if it’s rated only higher than plain driving or driving with the radio on (How do you just “drive”? Doesn’t your mind wander? Don’t you start to get frustrated at other drivers?).

Be that what it may, you can download a free “Driving Distraction Away” from safestart.com.


Three Steps to Build Character in Safety

Today’s post is a post from a guest Ken Oswald

Every wrong choice is preceded by a series of unwise choices.” – Andy Stanley, from his book, The Best Question Ever

You can measure safety character by observing how people make decisions. Every decision to take unnecessary risk is preceded by a series of ill-advised choices. Let me tell you a story to explain what I mean.

When I was 14 years old, I lived in a small town in Colorado. The town was positioned just a bike ride from a nice fishing spot, you had to travel over a bridge spanning a large lake. The bridge had a unique appeal. It towered above the lake, representing a perfect opportunity for a group of bored teenagers to test the laws of gravity.

One day my friends and I decided to pull to the side of the road so we could see the drop from the top of the bridge to the lake. The view ignited our sense of adventure. We found a path from the road leading under the bridge where we discovered a fence restricting access to a catwalk under the main structure of the bridge. The fence was posted with “Danger – Keep Out” signs, sending a clear message that our safety was in jeopardy. But the temptation was too great. We scaled the safety barrier and accessed the restricted catwalk.

Once we journeyed onto the catwalk, our sense of adventure extended beyond the safety of the catwalk. We crawled over the guardrails and onto the beams supporting the bridge. We did not need fall protection or guardrails, because each move took us one step closer to the ideal place to JUMP!

The older I get, the higher the bridge becomes, but I remember feeling like we were on the edge of the upper deck of mile high stadium for a Denver Broncos game wondering how long it would take to drop to the water from way up high. We were contemplating an HUGE act of STUPIDITY. We had no idea how deep the water was or what may be drifting under the surface. We did not consider how far we would have to swim back to the shore. We did not think about what we may hit on the way down. We considered retreating to safety, but the momentum of the moment drove us closer to the edge.

We progressed to a point of no return, and we abandoned the security of the edge. Once we took that final step, the laws of gravity took over, and I can remember questioning my sanity as my descent accelerated. You could only brace yourself for a painful impact.

Jumping from the bridge was the WRONG decision, but the decision was preceded by unwise choices. We were safe sitting in the car driving over the bridge but our curiosity took us one step too far. The journey began from the safety of the road and advanced to the insecurity of the catwalk. We ignored safety warnings and bypassed barriers. From the security of the catwalk, we approached the edge of the support beams and concrete pillars. Despite the warning signs along the way, we reached a rapid conclusion when we took the final step.

You can imagine the potential for disaster in my bridge-jumping experience. How many ways could you get hurt? Luckily, no one was injured, and I look back on those days asking myself, “What the heck was I thinking?” Safety wisdom and experience should be used to help train your employees of each and every task they face. Relate to them with personal and real experiences that have impact on what’s in it for them, “SAFETY”

Where should I have made the right choice? You can ask yourself the same question about specific behaviors at work.

1.) Stay on the road – We have a desire to achieve our goals and sometimes we want to “push the edge” to reach our milestones. Our initiative can lead to unwise choices, increasing our risk for injuries. Work within the established safety guidelines and enjoy the security of a safe work environment. Safety rules and guidelines exist for a purpose. Don’t let the pressures and demands of your work take your actions “off the road” to the edge of safety compromise.

2.) Pay attention to the signs – There will be times when your curiosity gets the best of you, but there are signs to remind you to retreat to safety. The initial path that drifts beyond the established safety boundaries may appear harmless. You do not experience consequences, but each step of compromise draws you closer to the possibility of being injured. The “gray” areas lead to unnecessary risk and danger. Train yourself to recognize signs that prompt you to act with prudence and develop the courage to turn back to safety. Speak up, DO NOT STAY SILENT, SILENCE CAN KILL!

3.) Don’t jump! – Fear and hesitation can protect you. It is natural, it is our survival instincts that are trying to protect us from doing foolish and dangerous things. Unwise choices lead you to wrong decisions, but you still can turn back when you recognize you are on the edge. Don’t allow the momentum of the moment to influence your final choice. Once you make the wrong choice, you do not have a chance to change your mind. You prepare for impact. The accident pyramid will catch up with you if you allow pressures and demands to pave the path to unsafe behavior. Are you prepared for the consequences of being injured or even worse DEATH?

Add safety character to your safety program by eliminating the unwise choices. If I had never looked over the edge of that bridge, I wouldn’t have been tempted to jump. You can make the same comment about your work. Every step has the potential to create momentum. Safety character is all about stopping the unsafe momentum before it starts.


Ken Oswald is safety/Environmental/DOT/Risk Manager for Hughes Brothers Construction, Welding and Equipment LLC

He has 26 Years of USAF experience, managed Cannon AFB Wing Safety Program for 5 years prior to Air Force retirement. He has worked for 8 years in the telecommunications and construction areas for safety management and is now working with unique and agriculture safety programs for dairy feed and agricultural use equipment, construction of dairies/feedlots and work around dairies/feedlots  of eastern New Mexico and western Texas panhandle.  He is also an OSHA Outreach (GI/Construction)instructor for OSHA 10/30 hour course and teach NSC CPR, First Aid and the Defensive Driving 6/8 hours courses.