ANSI-ISEA 107-1999: Primer on high visibility standards

Can you be seen when it matters most? Working outdoors is especially dangerous, and even the most
conscientious and attentive drivers and equipment operators can find it difficult to see people and
workers underfoot. Making sure you have proper high-visibility apparel can mean the difference between
going home safely at the end of the day and getting squashed like a pancake.

OSHA recognizes the importantance of high-visibility personal gear and clothing, requiring employers to ensure
that all workers are outfitted appropriately. The US Department of Transportation likewise takes worker visibility
seriously and specifies high-visibility clothing for flaggers, law enforcement officers, and really anyone
working with managing traffic in work and construction sites.

The American National Standard Institute (ANSI) approved the American National Standard for High-Visibility
Safety Apparel (ANSI/ISEA 107-1999) in June 1999, in an effort to provide consistent,
authoritative guidelines for the selection and use of high-visibility apparel in the United States.

ANSI/ISEA 107-1999 is a voluntary standard that offers performance specifications for reflective materials,
including minimum amounts, placement, background material, test methods and care labeling.

The classes of ANSI/ISEA 107-1999 garments

ANSI/ISEA 107-1999 specifies three classes of garments based on work environment:

Class I

These garments are for workers who have ample separation from vehicular traffic not exceeding 25 mph.
Class I garments are typically safety vests and are recommended for parking lot attendants,
workers in warehouses with equipment traffic, individuals fetching shopping carts in parking lots,
sidewalk maintenance workers, roadside “right of way” workers,
and delivery vehicle drivers.

Class II

Class II Garments should be used where greater visibility is required such as in poor weather conditions
and where activities occur near roadways where traffic speeds exceed 25 mph.
This class of garment is suitable for forestry operations, railway workers, school crossing guards,
parking and toll gate personnel, ship cargo loading, surveyors and crews,
airport ground crews and law enforcement personnel directing traffic.

Class III

Class III garments provide the highest level of visibility to all workers in high-risk environments that
involve extreme task loads, a wide range of weather conditions and traffic exceeding 50 mph.
These garments provide coverage to the arms and/or legs as well as the torso include
pants, jackets, coveralls or rain wear.
Class III apparel is suggested for all roadway construction personnel and vehicle operators, utility workers, survey crews, emergency responders, railway workers and accident site investigators.

Voluntary or not?

While the ANSI/ISEA 107-1999 is a voluntary industry consensus standard, OSHA refers to ANSI/ISEA 107-1999 as
a means to comply with regulartion 29 CFR 1926.651(d) which states, “employees exposed to public vehicular
traffic shall be provided with, and shall wear, warning vests or other suitable garments marked with
or made of reflectorized or high-visibility material.”

So the ANSI/ISEA 107-1999 is technically voluntary, but OSHA mandates reflective visibility garments. And nobody
likes to make OSHA mad!

If you have any more questions just let us know and we will expand this section further.

You might also be interested in