Compliance And The Use Of High Visibility Safety Apparel

The large influx of what fluorescent work clothing into all types of stores may appear to be the same thing in a slightly different style. In reality, there is a lot of difference between high visibility safety apparel which meets compliancy and those garments you see offered at discount stores. This distinction is important due to the large number of fatalities and injuries that occur in work zones each year. One of the most surprising statistics relate to work zone fatalities is that between 85 and 90 percent occur to motorists and/or their passengers. Of the remaining 10 to 15 percent, workers only make up part of the number with pedestrians, bicyclists and other non-motorized vehicles sharing the remainder. Who Wears High Visibility Safety Apparel?

Most of us recognize high visibility clothing as something that is worn by construction workers. It is also an important part of safety for other types of workers including:

•    Airline Workers

•    Law Enforcement

•    Parking Attendants

•    Warehouse Workers

•    Surveyors

These and many other professions rely on the high visibility of reflective vests, pants and other clothing items to make the individual stand out from the environment. In addition to those that are required to wear highly visible clothing, there are also circumstances that can be much safer by wearing it voluntarily, such as riding a motorcycle.

What is Compliance?

Standards that apply to safety clothing are determined by the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) with OSHA in concurrence with these standards in regards to high-visibility clothing. There are four different classes of workers including Classes 1, 2, 3 and E. These ratings are given according to the speed of traffic, weather conditions encountered and the degree of visibility needed. Class E is given to those who wear pants that are high-visibility but they do not wear any other of the safety garments.

There are three major elements that determine compliancy to ANSI/ISEA standards for high visibility safety apparel:

1.    Background Material – The color must be yellow-green, red-orange, or red.

2.    Retroreflective Material – Made from reflective material or marked with reflective tape that reflects light.

3.    Garment Design – The configuration of each piece of high visibility safety apparel is specific, resulting in a garment that resembles the human form.

Meeting the Goal

In some instances, wearing safety apparel that is highly visible is the law. In others, it is an option that is up to the employees, participants or employers. Whether wearing high visibility safety apparel is a law or it is elective, enforcing the practice is the only way to reduce the high number of injuries and fatalities that occur each year. While there are different standards that apply to different situations, the more visible the safety clothing is under any circumstances, the easier it will be for workers who are exposed to traffic to be noticed and avoided by drivers in the area. The primary goal of wearing reflective clothing is to get the attention of drivers who might not otherwise be as aware of their environments as is necessary to avoid an accident.

Sources:

1. http://www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/wz/docs/nwzaw2014factsheet/nwzaw2014factsheet.pdf

2. http://workingperson.me/2012/05/compliance-requirements-for-high-visibility-clothing/					

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