High Visibility: Terms to Know

High Visibility Work Clothing by Red Kap

High Visibility Workwear Terms

Whether you know exactly what you need for high visibility workwear, or you are just starting to look into it, knowledge of the terms used can be helpful. High visibility workwear has to meet the standards set forth in the American National Standard for High-Visibility Safety Apparel and Headwear (ANSI/ISEA 107-2010). This standard, established by American National Standards Institute, is designed to protect workers who are routinely exposed to low visibility while on the job. This would include construction, utility, emergency responders, to name just a few. It can be helpful to understand the terms that are generally used in the standard, so keep reading for a quick look at a few.

  • Class. Class is a term that you will definitely need to understand, and it technically refers to the amount of reflective trim on the garment. High visibility garments are classified as Class 1, 2, 3, or E. Depending on the requirements for your job, you will need to meet one of those standards. Class 1 is the high visibility requirement for workers in areas where traffic does not exceed 25 mph, class 2 is the requirement for workers in areas where traffic exceeds 25 mph, and class 3 sets the standard for workers in areas where traffic exceeds 50 mph. Class E refers to garments like bib overalls, shorts, and pants, that meet the background and retro-reflective material standard, but do not fit within class 1, 2, or 3. Class E garments can be worn with garments that meet one class 2 or 3, and the resulting uniform will be considered class 3.

  • Background Material. The background material refers to the colored fluorescent material on workwear that is highly conspicuous, but does not meet the requirements for ANSI 107 standard for retro reflective material. This fabric is what you see for most high visibility uniforms, but surprisingly, this fluorescent material is not what makes it high visibility.

  • Retro-reflective Material. Retro-reflective material is a material that should reflect light back toward the direction from which it came. This material is extremely important for meeting the standards, the amount of light that it reflects back should be a high proportion. This material is the one that makes a difference, actually making a garment high visibility.

  • Compliance. Compliance refers to how well the item meets the standard. The garments should be manufactured with the proper background material and amount of retro-reflective materials to comply with the standard. Manufacturers must be able to provide proof of how the garment was made to meet the standard.

  • Certify. This last term refers to how the company can certify that it meets the standards. The garment should certified by an independent third party accredited laboratory, or it can be self-certified through the use of Apparel and Headwear Compliance Certificate.

When you’re looking for high visibility workwear, check out the options available through Automotive Workwear. Our garments are manufactured by Red Kap, and meet the standards for different classes. If you can’t find what you’re looking for on our website, call a customer service representative to find exactly what you need to provide safe workwear for your employees.

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