In January, 2006, the Federal Highway Administration published the most recent Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (The MUJTCD.) This MUJTCD revision accepted and coded into law for the first time the ANSI 107-1999 High Visibility Apparel Standard. The acceptance of the ANSI 107-2004 Standard (current revision) was a distinct advancement for highway workers.
For Public Safety Workers such as Fire, Police, State Patrol, Emergency Personnel, and other First Responders, however, the circumstances and use of High Visibility Apparel on the job was unclear. Many Public Safety workers were exempted from using high visibility apparel, and were only partially covered by the ANSI 107 standard and the MUTCD. In 2006, the FHWA announced that effective in 2006, ALL workers working on a highway that received federal funds must wear high visibility ANSI apparel. The new rule now included Public Safety personnel, such as those named above, as they are a part of directing traffic, investigating crashes, handling lane closures, clearing obstructed roadways, and all other disasters within the right of way of federal highways. All First Responders working on any highway that received federal funds were being advised to use ANSI High Visibility Apparel. The vests must be Class 2 or Class 3.
There was the concern by Public Safety Workers that completing hazardous work such as heat/flame exposure, use of weapons and fire/chemical/electrical exposure, are all part of the risks of on-the-job traffic accidents and required judgment in the use of High Visibility apparel, and flexibility of design for these workers.
The ISEA, working in conjunction with select law enforcement, fire, rescue, EMS, and other city and state First Responder organizations began work on a new consensus standard specifically for Public Service Safety Vests. The result was the publication of the ANSI 207 Public Safety Vest standard, approved by canvas method and published in late 2006, and it is hoped that the regulation will soon be amended, as the 207 is not intended to be interchangeable or replace the 107. The ANSI 207-2006 accepted as “Best Practices” much of this standard as defined by the already published ANSI 107-2004 for workers. In regard to definitions of fluorescent fabrics, retro-reflective tapes, 3rd party testing care labels, marking, and other requirements, the same standards for high visibility public safety are nearly identical. The required amount of retro-reflective material is the same (201 square inches).
Our next segment will explain the details of the 207-2006 vests that Public Safety Workers felt would better meet their needs. Stay tuned…………………