Reflective clothing, also known as high visibility or hi-vis workwear, has become an important piece of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for workers in a variety of industries. OSHA (The Occupational Safety and Health Administration) requires many companies to outfit their employees with hi-vis workwear, but many other occupations promote, encourage, or supply their staff with hi-vis reflective gear, even though it’s not formally regulated or required. Why? Because “living dangerously” isn’t the best motto for a manufacturing facility or warehouses to adopt. On- or off-site, many of our customers err on the side of safety with high visibility uniforms from Gallagher Uniform.
Who is Required to Use Hi-Vis Workwear?
Hundreds of jobs require some form of high visibility safety apparel. Jobs performed in or near oncoming traffic or heavy, moving equipment are particularly susceptible to injury and require safety garments to help avoid personal injury.
The Federal Highway Worker Visibility Rule was the first step in the creation of the U.S. comprehensive worker high visibility regulation and applied to anyone on or near Federal-aid highways. This regulation now applies to workers on all public access roadways and is enforceable by OSHA inspectors. This standard provides a standardized, authoritative guide for the design, performance specifications, and use of high visibility and reflective apparel, including shirts, vests, jackets, coveralls, pants and more.
These are the top 20 occupations that require hi-vis safety uniforms and apparel.
Road construction site workers
Heavy equipment operators
Tow truck drivers
Toll booth operators
Shipyard dock workers
Airport ground crews
Tree service workers (roadside)
Warehouse employees Policemen
Event security (particularly when near traffic)
Garbage and Refuse Workers
Shopping cart retrievers
Who Isn’t Required, But Still Uses Hi-Vis Workwear?
Aside from regulatory standards, high visibility clothing has become increasingly prevalent in industries where OSHA doesn’t require its use. The interiors of warehouses, processing plants, and factories are prime examples of where today’s reflective gear is readily accepted. Many of these industries have brought in high visibility personal protective equipment because they want to take a preventative stance towards workplace safety. The benefits far outweigh the costs of acquiring this voluntary safety wear and help ensure the security and safety of your employees.
Beyond hi-vis workwear, some companies voluntarily elect to provide their employees with enhanced visibility uniforms instead. The term enhanced visibility can be used for any garment of any color that has retro-reflective striping added to it, or those bright fluorescent orange or yellow garments we’ve all seen – they’re tough to miss, which is kind of the point. These garments are not usually related to a particular standard and are for workers in lower risk environments. These workers can still benefit from heightened visibility, particularly in dimly lit warehouses where forklift operators, maintenance equipment, and sweepers are moving quickly.
What about FRC Uniforms?
FRC, or Flame-Resistant Clothing, refers to the ability of a material to self-extinguish upon the removal of an ignition source. This type of clothing is often worn by employees who work in hazardous environments, including (but not limited to):
- Electric Arc – electricians, utility lineman, and workers
- Flash Fire – oil or gas refinery, pharmaceutical workers and those who work with chemicals
- Combustible Dust Explosion – paper mills, paint, and even food processors are just a few examples
- Foundries, casting and welding facilities
- Anyone who comes in contact with functional and live electrical equipment
When evaluating whether your place of business should be using hi-vis, enhanced visibility, or flame-resistant clothing, explore the comprehensive list of examples above and ask yourself the following questions.
- Is it required by law?
- Is there moving equipment?
- Are there situations with potential for poor lighting, unmarked pathways, or worker inattention?
- Is there potential for your employees to encounter any type of flame on the job?
If you answered yes to any of the above and aren’t already utilizing Hi-Vis, Enhanced-Vis or FR uniforms on your job site, it’s time to consider it. Gallagher Uniform has an array of specialty reflective and flame resistant uniform products that will help you achieve your company’s safety goals or requirements while not compromising the comfort needs of your workforce. Whether you’re looking to purchase or rent safety uniforms, our extensive inventory and top-notch customer service team are here to help guide you through the process.
If you’re interested in learning more about the specific safety standards required for your facility, we recommend checking out resources available from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).