What Does Class 3 High-Visibility Apparel Mean?
Class 3 high-visibility apparel refers to apparel that falls within a category of safety clothing that provides increased visibility for the wearer in both daytime and nighttime environments. This increase in visibility is achieved through the use of background material that has bright, high-visibility coloring (e.g. fluorescent yellow, green, or orange fabric), as well as through the use of retroreflective strips. Class 3 apparel includes items such as jackets or high-visibility clothing ensembles, such as a Class 2 vest combined with Class E pants.
Apparel classified as Class 3 must meet specific design standards to provide workers with enough increased visibility to allow them to work safely on roadways. Workers who make use of Class 3 apparel include but are not limited to roadway construction workers and crossing guards. When used correctly, Class 3 apparel is recognized by OSHA and the Federal Highway Safety Administration (FHSA) as a way for employers and employees to meet the minimum worker visibility obligations necessary to comply with relevant safe workplace regulations.
Safeopedia Explains Class 3 High-Visibility Apparel
The visibility criteria that Class 3 high-visibility apparel must meet are governed by ANSI/ISEA standard 107-2015, which describes a number of criteria for different types of high-visibility apparel. The two other primary apparel performance classes are Class 1 and Class 2. Class 3 apparel provides a higher level of visibility than Class 1 and Class 2, and it is necessary for use in roadway situations that are high-hazard or where danger is increased due to particularly low visibility (e.g. due to rainfall).
Under the ANSI/ISEA standard, Class 3 apparel may be classified as either Type R or Type P apparel. Type R apparel is suitable for workers doing routine work in roadway situations. Type P apparel is used by public safety workers such as emergency responders, firefighters, and other acute incident response personnel whose duties may make it practical for them to wear apparel that cannot fit within the Type R classification. A Class 3 rating for apparel may also be achieved by combining Class 2 apparel (e.g. a Class 2 vest) with supplemental Class E apparel (e.g. high-visibility pants).
The ANSI standard distinguishes Type R and Type P Class 3 apparel based on the amount of background material required to offset the visibility-increasing material (e.g. the reflective material). Type R apparel must have 1,240 square inches of background fabric, while Type P apparel only requires 775 square inches of background fabric.