Be Seen, Stay Safe

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Construction Safety Association of Ontario

Summary Statement

Description of ANSI standard for high-visibility clothing, including classes of garments and how to reduce risks

ANSI sets the standard for high-visibility clothing

Construction crews along roads and highways are sometimes exposed to the hazards of not being seen by motorists and others. This "low visibility" is dangerous and can be potentially fatal.

Until recently, there were no authoritative guidelines in either Canada or the United States for the design, manufacture, and use of high-visibility clothing. But the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has issued a standard that helps ensure that workers routinely exposed to the hazards of low visibility on the job are more easily seen.

ANSI Standard 107-1999 spells out material performance specifications and provisions for the design and use of high-visibility apparel.

"We are encouraged to see this sort of standard passed," says Brenda Ackerman of 3M's Personal Safety Products Division. "Too many accidents occur on the job because of low visibility."

This is especially true for construction crews working along roads and highways.

The standard defines three classes of garments. It also provides guidelines as to when a garment may be worn according to traffic speeds.

  • Class 3 garments provide the highest level of visibility for workers with high task loads in a wide range of weather conditions where traffic exceeds 50 mph. The standard recommends Class 3 garments for all roadway construction personnel.
  • Class 2 garments are intended for users who need greater visibility in inclement weather conditions and whose activities occur near roadways where traffic speeds exceed 25 mph.
  • Class 1 garments are for users who have ample separation from vehicular traffic that does not exceed 25 mph and where the background is not complex.
When selecting and purchasing clothing, make sure that the manufacturer

  • uses certified materials
  • meets the design guidelines for a particular garment class
  • labels garment according to ANSI Standard 107-1999.
For a copy of the new ANSI standard contact the Safety Equipment Association at 703-525-1695 or

Reduce risks in construction zones
  • Roadway construction crews are a 24-hour part of our motorized landscape.
  • These crews put themselves at risk of personal injury every day and night.
  • Crews working during low-light hours are about 2.5 times more likely to be struck by a motor vehicle than those working during the day.
  • Making crews more visible reduces the risk of accident and enhances safety.
  • Roadway construction crews can increase their visibility by wearing garments made of fabric such as 3M™ Scotchlite™ Reflective Material.