Get the Right Reflexive Tape

You purchased your hi-vis rainwear, safety vest, T-shirt or sweatshirt and you believe that you are now highly visible (that is, after all, what hi-vis means, right?). You may be surprised, however to discover that you aren’t as visible as you think. Why? Because not all reflective tape is created equal.

There are primarily two types of reflective tape:

  1. Glass Bead Reflective Material


    Glass Bead reflective tape is made up of thousands of microscopic glass beads (hence the name) “glued” to the tape material. When light is aimed at the tape the tiny glass beads reflect the light back making the wearer “light up”.
    The nature of the glass bead tape makes it highly flexible and lightweight.
    a. The big problem with glass bead tape is that it loses it’s reflective quality when it gets wet. Many people who are wearing a reflective garment with glass bead tape do not realize how much of their reflectivity is lost when the garment is wet, putting them at risk when working outside in the rain at night.
    b. Glass bead tape does not resist abrasion well.

  2. Prismatic Reflective Material


    Prismatic reflective material is made up of thousands of “micro-prisms” that are covered with a transparent film.
    a. The prismatic material is waterproof and does not lose it’s reflective quality when wet.
    b. It is much more abrasion resistant than glass bead material
    Prismatic reflective material is not as flexible or lightweight as glass bead material making it feel somewhat restrictive at times.

Additional note:
Although glass bead material is more flexible (able to bend easily with the garment) it is not stretchable (neither is prismatic material) and because of that it can break. In order to address that problem manufacturers are now able to lay the reflective glass bead tape in strips, allowing the garment to stretch without tearing the reflective tape (see image below).


If you are purchasing a T-shirt, a sweatshirt or any other garment that stretches, consider purchasing one with this type of reflective tape.

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

Why you can’t find Hi-Vis Clothing in Cotton

You don’t particularly like polyester but for some reason you can’t seem to find hi-vis clothing in cotton. Ever wonder why that is? Here’s the answer from M. L. Kishigo

Our fabric vendors have not yet been able to supply ML Kishigo with ANSI testing data to support 100% cotton in high visibility lime and/or orange. The continuing reason they have not been able to supply us with this documentation is cotton has not yet been able to pass the ANSI Colorfastness Performance Test. Cotton is a natural fiber that does not hold color as well as say a synthetic fiber like polyester. The ANSI Standard tests in accordance with AATCC 16.3-2012, Colorfastness to Light Xenon Arc. This test exposes the material for 40 hours AFU (accelerated fading units) . 100% Cotton due to its natural fibers not being able to hold color, after 40 hours of AFU fails for colorfastness (fading) according to the ANSI Standard.

Need to purchase hi-vis clothing?

2016 Work Zone Awareness Week is April 11-15


It’s Work Zone Awareness Week and it couldn’t come at a better time. A new study out claims that drivers are distracted more than half the time they are on the road, which doubles their risk of a car crash. There’s no doubt about it: this week is an important one to encourage safe driving through highway work zones. While awareness is critical, workers unfortunately aren’t in control of whether a driver picks up that call and takes their eyes off the road for a split second.

To help improve worker visibility (and safety), ANSI/ISEA recently updated their 107 standard. Download and read our hi-vis “bright paper” to learn more struck-by stats, how the revised guidelines of the ANSI/ISEA 107-2015 Standard helps improve worker visibility on roadways and other jobsites, and workplace best practices to keep you and your crew safe.

This week – but really every week – make a seen.


OSHA 1910.269 Compliance Date Approaching

Enforcement on the OSHA 1910.269  regulations on flame resistant clothing, arc flash hazard analysis and arc rated protective clothing was originally supposed to be set for the first of this year. The date was originally pushed back and the new date is right around the corner.

OSHA officials have said that they won’t be issuing citations before April 1st 2015 but with April less than 3 weeks away it’s important for employers to think about making sure that they have done the hazard analysis and are providing the right clothing and PPE for their employees.

The bottom line is that OSHA 1910.269 says that employers need to know what arc flash and potential flame hazards workers might be exposed to in the course of their job and make sure that their employees have the adequate protection.

For more information on OSHA 1910.269 click here.

To shop for Arc Flash and flame resistant clothing click here.

Protective Clothing for Ebola

From our friends at Dupont…

ChemMax® 1

Lakeland Product Information and Suggestions

Lakeland’s ChemMax1 with sealed seams is well suited for protection in situations where exposure may occur.  Lakeland’s ChemMax1 fabric passes both ASTM F16701 and ASTM F16712 test methods for protection from blood penetration and blood borne pathogens.  ChemMax1 also goes above and beyond the ASTM tests by performing at the highest possible levels in the more comprehensive European Norms (EN) and ISO testing standards related to infectious agents.  The performance of ChemMax1 in testing protocols from around the world, combined with sealed seams for increased protection against fluid penetration; makes it easy to see why many humanitarian groups are trusting Lakeland’s ChemMax1 for protection.

Product Suggestions:

ChemMax 1 C70130

ChemMax 1 C70150


1ASTM F1670 – 08 Standard Test Method for Resistance of Materials Used in Protective Clothing to Penetration by Synthetic Blood:  This test determines the ability of a material to resist the penetration of synthetic blood under constant contact. The test sample is mounted on a cell separating the synthetic blood challenge liquid and a viewing port. The time and pressure protocol specifies atmospheric pressure for 5 minutes, 2.0 psi for 1 minute and atmospheric pressure fo 54 minutes. The test is terminated if visible liquid penetration occurs before or at 60 minutes.

2ASTM F 1671  – 13 Standard Test Method for Resistance of Materials Used in Protective Clothing to Penetration by Blood-Borne Pathogens Using Phi- X174 Bacteriophage Penetration as a Test System: This test determines the ability of a material to resist the penetration of a microorganism under constant contact using a method which has been specifically designed for modeling penetration of HBV, HCV, and HIV. Because these organisms are difficult to use, the test uses a bacteriophage, Phi-X174, one of the smallest known viruses, at 0.027 microns (μ) in diameter, similar in size and shape to Hepatitis C Virus (HCV), the smallest known bloodborne viral pathogen. A bacteriophage is a virus that attacks bacteria.



FR garment comfort factors increase user compliance

I have no idea who wrote this whitepaper as they didn’t sign it or put any information about themselves or the company they work for but it’s one of the best papers out there for anyone trying to figure out which OSHA Standard applies to them as it relates to FR garments.

It’s on the website and it’s entitled “FR garment comfort factors increase user compliance

The 6 page document is a must read for anyone dealing with FR garments.

Thermo-man Videos

Yesterday, June 26th, we burned up a lot of clothing in an effort to show what various materials do when exposed to fire. We exposed untreated cotton, treated cotton, Nomex, Nomex with an FR undercoat, a Tychem chemical protection suit and a Dupont ThermalPro chemical suit to 1,700 degrees of flames for 4 seconds. The results were pretty impressive.

Rather than tell you all about it, however, I’m going to let you view the results for yourself.

Here is the list along with the link to the Youtube video that we uploaded last night after all the burning was done:

· Untreated cotton shirt and jeans

· Treated cotton

· Nomex

· Nomex with Under Armour

· Tychem Chemical Suit

· Tychem ThermoPro Protective Suit

Now the question you’ve got to ask yourself is “If I was going to send my 18-year old daughter/son off to work in a refinery what garment would I want them to be wearing?”

Understanding the different types of heat

Not all heat is created equal. Understanding which type of heat you are trying to protect against is going to make all the difference between proper protection and burns.

From the Stanco catalog page 38, we get the following classifications

What kind of heat is it?

It is important to understand the types of heat in order to select the proper gloves and clothing for protection.

Radiant: Generated by a heat source. An example would be a fireplace or the sun. The materials being struck absorb the heat’s rays (it’s hotter standing in the sun than in the shade).

Ambient: The surrounding atmospheric temperature in a particular environment. Example 72 degrees Farenheit in your home; 92 degrees Farenheit on the golf course in July; 1,800 degrees Farenheit in a flaming building.

Conductive: Direct contact with hot surfaces. Example: Touching a hot piece of metal at 800 degrees Farenheit or leaning against a heat treating oven at 1,000 degrees Farenheit.