Varying seasonal weather patterns can expose outdoor workers to several weather conditions in a single shift, and the accompanying changing visibility levels can increase their risk of not being seen by vehicle and equipment operators in work zones.
Companies can ensure that these workers remain visible on the job site throughout all conditions by following the appropriate ANSI/ISEA 107 standards for the work environment and providing them with the appropriate high visibility safety clothing. Only garments certified and labeled as ANSI/ISEA 107 are the accepted standards in the industry.
There are three types of high visibility garment, along with three performance classes. Types are defined by the work environment, while classes are defined in terms of the amount of background and retro-reflective material required and the design attributes that are incorporated into the finished garment.
It is every company’s responsibility to perform a hazard assessment of the work environment, taking into consideration work activities, competing hazards, and other key factors. Once the assessment is complete, companies should inform their workers which type and class of high visibility apparel they should wear.
High visibility clothes usually come in yellow, light yellowish green, orange or red, which are easily discernible. They also have reflective tape. Insignia or letters printed on or attached to them. Some of them have a light beacon or LED light attached to them, and some others also glow in the dark.
High visibility vests are worn instead of jackets in warmer weather. EN ISO 20471:2013 specifies detailed requirements for high visibility clothing such as design, requirements for background and combined-performance retro-reflective materials, photometric and physical performance requirements for retro-reflective materials and care labeling. EN 471:2003 is the European standard for high visibility clothing specifications.
Employees should check with a safety manager and company protocol to help determine which safety clothes should be worn and when. Following ANSI/ISEA 107 standards and wearing the proper high visibility safety apparel can prevent injuries and fatalities.
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