Enhanced Visibility Options for FRC Clothing
United States law requires all personnel working on a federally funded highway to wear high visibility clothing. Two states, Minnesota and Wisconsin, have gone above and beyond the federal mandate and have adopted ANSI 107 into state law (1).
Industries that operate during the day or at night, in good and bad weather, will benefit from high visibility garment options. Such limited or low visibility situations create hazards for some FR apparel wearers. Due to the rate of vehicular-related injuries, an increasing number of companies are offering enhanced visibility options for FRC.
1. ANSI 107 compliant high visibility shirts and coveralls as an alternative to vests for roadside work.
New trends in high visibility work wear include shirts and coveralls as an alternative to vests for roadside work. However, the garment must be worn properly meaning if the item has a front closure (zipper), it must be worn zipped up or closed. High visibility clothing must be the outermost layer of clothing, but this does not necessarily mean a vest. New options in high visibility apparel can help reduce the risks associated to the job – a high visibility shirt and bib will bring more attention to the wearer than just a vest.
ANSI 107 standards are limited to only three colors: fluorescent orange, fluorescent yellow/green and fluorescent red. The point is to pick an ANSI color that differentiates the wearer from his or her surroundings. However, fluorescent yellow/green is by far the most common high visibility option for FR clothing. An important requirement to note is that any high visibility garment classified as FR must either be tested according to flash fire or arc flash standards.
A survey of low visibility workplace hazards should be conducted after the standard is examined by a company. Typically, the greater the risk for being struck by moving vehicles at high speeds, the higher the class of high visibility apparel is needed. This allows companies to adopt different types of high visibility garments (shirts, bibs, rainwear, etc.) that match up to the class of protection identified.
2. Retroreflective tape added to standard garment designs – either in production or by the service providers.
Retroreflection uses a surface designed to direct light back toward the source. Brightness is a helpful measure of the quality of a retroreflective surface. Retroreflective materials appear bright to observers located near the light source (2).
Some service providers, like Tyndale, have the ability to add retroreflective tape to a finished garment. This is a particularly viable option for workers in the oil and gas industry because work in these industries is frequently performed away from federally-funded highways. Since much of this work is performed on drilling sites, in refineries or chemical plants with persistent vehicle traffic, many employers require the enhanced visibility of retroreflective tape on standard uniform items. These items do not meet the ANSI 107 visibility standard and are not required to do so.
Under industry best practices, organizations that utilize reflective striping for outdoor workers must ensure that the striping is also flame resistant. Unfortunately, enhanced visibility often comes at a high price; the cost of tape and the cost to attach it are often as high as making the garment itself.
3. Die-cut heat transfers providing enhanced brand image and enhanced visibility.
A die is a specialized tool used in manufacturing industries to cut or shape materials using a press, something similar to a cookie cutter. One advantage of a die cut is that, in most cases, the heat transfer is easier to apply.
Heat transfer printing is also a cost effective printing method with outstanding durability. Heat transfers are a good way to enhance brand image and visibility outside of logo embroidery or patches. Additionally, heat transfer can be an affordable option for companies looking to add enhanced visibility requirements to their company’s uniform or work wear policy.
References for this post were accessed December 2013: