A very important component of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is the safety vest, or surveyors vest.  Just about anywhere you go, you will see all types of workers wearing safety vests.  These vests play an important role to ensure that workers are more visible, especially in traffic areas.  There are several things to consider when purchasing safety vests. 

In your search for traffic safety vests, it’s likely you have come across products called A.N.S.I. Surveyor Vests.  ANSI stands for the American National Standards Institute.  ANSI, founded in 1918, is the voice of U.S. Standards and conformity assessment system.  The official U.S. representative to the International Standard Organization, the main mission of ANSI is to help along operational and business standards that allow the United States to become competitive in the global market.  OSHA identifies rules and regulations for all types of workplace vests, including fire safety vests, traffic vests, and vests worn by law enforcement.  It should be noted that ANSI does not directly set standards, but OSHA normally uses ANSI data, after both institutions have fully done their own testing.  OSHA also analyzes volumes of data regarding workplace safety and PPE.  In the protective equipment area, however, OSHA most often takes ANSI standards and uses them as their own.  Because ANSI safety vests are approved with a high standard that meets both reflective and observed visibility minimums, OSHA will also recommend that ANSI approved vests promote worksite safety and accident avoidance. 

Colors and Materials of Vests

 Non-ANSI approved traffic safety vests are used in Class 1, for low traffic areas (such as parking lot attendants.)  Most popular colors are orange, yellow, and lime green.  Class 2 (ANSI approved) traffic safety vests are used by workers where traffic speeds are usually 25 mph or less.  These vests are orange, yellow, or lime green.  Class 3 (ANSI approved) traffic safety (speeds in excess of 50 mph) vests must be the same colors for Class 2 and 3 ANSI safety vests, using highly reflective material, which can also be worn for nigh work.  Night work greatly increases potential hazards, meaning their vests should have reflective strips for high visibility.  There is also another, the LED safety vest, that lights up while working at night. 

Typical safety and surveyors vests are made up of mesh and solid materials.  Mesh furnishes a cooler vest in warm weather.  Some vests are made of mirror-like material that shines at night when exposed to a light source.  The vests also have different types of stripes on them, which adds to their visibility. 

Surveyors vests contain many more pockets than safety vests.  There are pockets both inside and outside the vests, as surveyors have to carry many small instruments, measuring tape, and other small tools, so the pockets are a necessary part of the vest.  Another type of vest is the Incident Command Vest.  These are different colors, such as navy, red, or black, and are used by law enforcement, EMS, and firemen.  These vests have a place for an identifying badge, or can be imprinted with professional identification. 

These days, people are staying out longer during the days and evenings, such as those who enjoy riding bicycles, jogging or running.  Safety vests are an ideal way for them to be seen, as well.  Safety products for work for athletes because they are sleek and not bulky, and are intended to keep citizens safe, too, as well as those who wear them to work each day.  Another good idea is to purchase some reflective strips for your children’s bikes, to help them be more visible to drivers.

Source: Life Tips, (Texas America Safety Company), OSHA


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