What Does High-Visibility Winter Workwear Mean?
High-visibility winter workwear describes cold-weather clothing that increases the visibility of the wearer, such as gloves, jackets, and snow pants. It is used in cold-weather situations where workers face a risk of being struck by vehicles due to insufficient worker visibility.
High-visibility apparel increases worker visibility through the use of brightly colored material and retroreflective stripes, and it is required by occupational safety authorities in situations where workers are operating in proximity to moving vehicles. For regulatory and standards purposes, high-visibility winter workwear must meet the same requirements as non-winter high-visibility apparel that are described by the voluntary consensus standard ANSI/ISEA 107-2015.
Safeopedia Explains High-Visibility Winter Workwear
Winter workwear is classified within the same performance classes (1, 2, 3, E) and types (O, R, P) that other high-visibility workwear is classified within. High-visibility winter workwear is often sold as Class 3 apparel—which provides the highest increase in visibility—due to the fact that snowy weather and related conditions have the potential to dramatically reduce driving visibility. The additional reduction in visibility created by snowy environments requires the higher level of risk-reduction provided by Class 3 apparel.
ANSI 107-certified winter wear may also include winter accessories such as high-visibility winter hats and gloves, as well as Class E Supplemental apparel such as winter pants. These options allow workers to mitigate the fact that traditional winter wear, such as balaclavas, may decrease worker visibility if worn. High-visibility winter workwear thus combines cold protection with visibility protection into a single garment.
Minimum visibility and cold protection requirements are part of OSHA’s regulations for worker safety in environments where vehicular hazards and cold are a risk to employee safety. OSHA and the Federal Highway Safety Administration (FHSA) recognize the use of winter workwear that complies with ANSI 107 as providing the level of visual enhancement necessary for an employer to meet the obligation to ensure worker safety.