What Does High-Visibility Rainwear Mean?
High-visibility rainwear refers to a type of rainwear that provides the wearer with increased visibility within his or her environment. The use of high-visibility rainwear is intended to reduce the risk of roadside or off-road workers being struck by a vehicle through the use of visibility-enhancing material that makes it easier for the driver to spot them at a distance.
High-visibility rainwear must provide increased worker conspicuity in both day and nighttime work environments, and it is required for use in specific occupational safety settings by regulations such as the U.S. Federal Highway Safety Administration’s Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD).
Safeopedia Explains High-Visibility Rainwear
Rainfall conditions often greatly reduce visibility for drivers and can further complicate the visual environment due to the reflective nature of wet surfaces. The use of high-visibility rainwear is thus often a necessity for the safety of workers operating in proximity to moving vehicles.
The safety requirements that high-visibility apparel must meet are described by ANSI/ISEA standard 107-2015. This standard describes criteria for a number of different categories of high-visibility apparel.
High-visibility rainwear is often classified as Class 3 high-visibility rainwear (the highest level of visibility) or as Supplemental Class E high-visibility rainwear that is designed to be part of a Class 3 ensemble. The use of additional high-visibility rainwear, such as rain hats, is also common; however, these accessories are not considered as part of the calculations used to determine whether a worker is compliant with ANSI 107 visibility standards.
The use of Class 3 rainwear is often required because rainy and wet conditions can significantly reduce the visibility of workers within the environment. This means that employers who typically provide employees with Performance Class 2 high-visibility apparel may need to assess whether they need to rely on Class 3-rated rain gear to reduce employee risk to an acceptable level. High-visibility rainwear is made with large amounts of bright fluorescent material, as well as strips of retroreflective material placed in accordance with the ANSI standard.
OSHA and the Federal Highway Safety Administration (FHSA) view appropriate compliance with ANSI 107 as part of an employer’s duty to ensure worker safety.