The weather forecast is bringing dark days with heavy rain. You’re managing a project with a great team, and it’s essential you have hi-vis rain gear available for them. Annually, one in five worker deaths is in construction, often due to lack of visibility. And while regulations have tightened, employees must wear hi-vis gear during bad weather.
In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of hi-vis rain gear in winter conditions and more.
What Is High-Visibility Clothing?
First, high-visibility clothing is an article of safety clothing made from retro-reflective materials. The aim is that the person is visible in low daylight or in the dark when illuminated by a vehicle’s headlights. Hi-vis equipment has a high contrast to the background so you can quickly see the wearer.
Hi-Vis Clothing Standards Today
Many employees know about Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in the workplace, from safety glasses to gloves. Yet not everyone knows about the US Federal regulations for high-visibility attire. In 2008, the US government passed the first hi-vis regulation. This developed into the High Visibility Safety Apparel and Accessories (ANSI/ISEA 107-2015) law. These regulations set standards and guidelines for choosing high visibility safety clothing. Hi-vis shirts, vests, jackets, pants, headwear, and outerwear all fall under this.
The ANSI/ISEA 107-2015 ensures:
- Clothing design is functional, durable, and comfortable
- High-visibility clothing meets requirements for background and combined-performance retro-reflective materials
- There’s proper labeling for types and classes of safety clothing
- Clothing meets photometric and physical performance requirements for high-visibility clothing
What Does This Mean for Employers?
As an employer, high-visibility clothing must have ANSI-compliant fluorescent material. They must also have specific amounts of retro-reflective material to meet ANSI regulations.
Importance of Colors
Garments must be attention-grabbing, such as fluorescent yellow-green, red, and orange-red. The garments must also have strips of reflective material in silver so workers are easier to spot in construction zones. Note that the location and configuration of the reflective materials tell people which way the wearer is facing, thanks to the hi-vis’s 360-degree visibility.
Brightness and Reflectivity
This depends on the time of day. For example, daylight areas use bright colors (e.g. fluorescent green) over dull colors. Dark areas use phosphorescence, retro-reflective material, and bright colors.
High-visibility vests must be lightweight so workers can easily maneuver. They’re often made from the web or net-like mesh material, as it doesn’t weigh the wearer down and dries quickly.
Note that regulations require the garments to have a balanced design. This means when you lay a vest flat, you can see 40% of the minimum amount of reflective material on both sides. This is so you can see employees from both front and back.
Must Be Well-Fitted
Regardless of the garment, they must be well-fitted. Otherwise, the improper fit could result in an injury. So ensure the hi-vis clothes fit over bulky clothing and check no other clothing is blocking the high-visibility garments.
The Different Types of High-Visibility Vests
High-visibility safety vests fall in three different categories:
This is a class one type of vest, which means it’s in a low-impact area where traffic cannot exceed 25 miles per hour. Employees who wear Type O vests are those working in an off-road area but may come into contact with moving vehicles or equipment. You’d wear Type O safety clothing if you were a parking assistant, warehouse worker, or a delivery driver.
Type R falls into a Class Two and Class Three types of garment, making Type R cover a majority of high-visibility garments. You’ll notice they have more fluorescent background material and retro-reflective stripes. Employees wearing this type of clothing come in contact with heavy traffic and work in an area of low visibility. This includes roadway construction workers.
This high-visibility class falls into Class Two and Class Three types of garments. Similar to Type R, these employees work in areas with heavy traffic and low visibility. People who wear this are emergency workers and law enforcement personnel like police, fire, and emergency medical services personnel.
As you’re delegating high-visibility garments, remember the higher the Class, the more background and retroreflective material is needed.
What to Wear in the Rain
Rainy weather is chaotic for both employees and pedestrians, so it’s essential your workers stand out to prevent accidents. Dreary weather also makes it difficult for coworkers to see one another, which makes it an unsafe environment. Because rain reduces visibility, invest in ANSI Class rain jackets, long raincoats, and hi-vis pants. The most effective are in yellow, lime, or orange, with silver reflective striping to ensure your crew is safe. Further, regular rain gear can be heavy and make your employees uncomfortable working in the rain. But investing in high-visibility rain gear ensures your team stays dry and keeps working efficiently.
Always Play It Safe
Whether it’s in the rain or a sunny day on the road, safety is a top priority. Make sure all precautions are taken to ensure your employees are wearing the right class of high visibility clothing to prevent any injuries.
And That’s Why Hi-Vis Rain Gear Is Essential
The only way to protect your workers in a downpour is by investing in hi-vis rain gear. Ensure they’re equipped with hi-vis raincoats and pants so they’re covered head to toe and visible. If you’re unsure what class the high visibility clothes should be, double-check with the three classes. Type O is the least extreme, whereas Type P is when workers are less visible and could be more at risk.
Is your crew in need of high-visibility garments? Great, we’d love to hear from you. Contact us here for more details.