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High-Visibility Safety Vests

What Does a Hi Vis Vest Do?

Hi Vis vests are designed to make the wearer more visible to others, especially in low-light conditions and where there are numerous distractions. These vests are made from bright, fluorescent materials with reflective strips that catch and bounce back light to the viewer, making the wearer stand out against any background.

Are Black Safety Vests OSHA Approved?

Black safety vests are generally not OSHA approved for most work environments because they do not meet the visibility requirements set forth by OSHA. For a safety vest to be compliant, it must be fluorescent and have reflective properties, which black material does not provide. OSHA requires vests to be bright like orange, yellow, or lime, with reflective strips to enhance visibility during the day and at night.

When Are Hi Vis Vests Required?

Hi Vis vests are required in any work environment where workers are exposed to traffic, moving machinery, or are at risk of not being seen by others. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Roadway construction sites.
  • Areas near traffic moving more than 25 miles per hour.
  • Workplaces with low light or poor visibility conditions.
  • Any environment where workers must be distinguishable from their surroundings for safety.

Understanding the Differences: Nonrated, Class 2, and Class 3 Safety Vests

Nonrated Safety Vests:

  • Not intended for use in environments with high-speed traffic or poor visibility conditions.
  • Often used in controlled environments where there is a minimal risk of accidents.

Class 2 Safety Vests:

  • Required for workers who are on or near roadways where traffic speeds are between 25 and 50 miles per hour.
  • Must have a minimum of 775 square inches of background material and 201 square inches of reflective material.
  • Commonly used by crossing guards, survey crews, and airport ground crews.

Class 3 Safety Vests:

  • Provide the highest level of visibility.
  • Required for workers in high-risk environments, such as high-speed roadways above 50 miles per hour or in extremely poor visibility conditions.
  • Must have a minimum of 1240 square inches of background material and 310 square inches of reflective material.
  • Typically worn by emergency responders and highway workers.