The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) provides the standards and requirements for high visibility safety apparel. We’re here to break it all down for you into one easy glossary that will make sense with our Winter Work Wear Safety Clothing and all Hi-Vis Apparel all year ‘round.
Let’s talk first about the different types of Types of Hi-Vis Apparel and what they really mean to you.
Type O – Occupational Hi-Vis Apparel for Non-Roadway Use. Think “Off-Road” apparel. This will still provide enhanced visibility for you in environments which pose hazards from moving vehicles, equipment and machinery, but not with exposure to traffic on public access roadways.
Type R – Occupational Hi-Vis Apparel for Roadway Use. Think “Roadway” Gear. Gear fitting in to Type R provides visibility where there is exposure to traffic in public access roadways and work & construction vehicles in Temporary Traffic Control Zones. The Portwest® UH440Y Class 3 Hi-Vis Yellow Waterproof Rain Jacket, Drawcord Hood is a great example of Type R Hi-Vis Apparel.
Type P – Occupational Hi-Vis Apparel for Emergency and Incident Responders and Law Enforcement Personnel. Think “Public Safety”. This provides visual conspicuity enhancement in the environments in Type R with additional options for emergency and incident responders and law enforcement who have competing hazards or require access to special equipment.
Class 1 (Type O)– Class 1 provides the minimum amount of hi-vis materials required. Typically used in environments where struck-by hazards are not approaching at roadway speeds and identification distances can be shorted without compromising the safety of the wearer.
Class 2 (Type R or P)) – Class 2 will provide additional amounts of hi-vis materials with design opportunities to define the human form more effectively. Apparel in this class is meant to provide longer detection and identification distances than Class 1. Apparel will use at least one horizontal band of reflective material around the torso and should include at least the minimum amount of reflective material in the shoulder area if bands are not present on the sleeves. We carry a large selection of ANSI Class 2 Hi-Visibility Safety Vests.
Class 3 (Type R or P)) – Items in Class 3 offer excellent visibility in environments with complex backgrounds with combined performance material on sleeves and pant legs (if present). Regardless of the area of materials used, sleeveless garments or vests alone will never be considered Class 3. Apparel will utilize one or more horizontal band of reflective material around the torso and one or more encircling bands on the sleeves. Our most popular Class 3 Bomber Jacket, Portwest® US365 Class 3 Hi-Vis Yellow/Black Premium 3-IN-1 Bomber Jacket is back in stock and ready to ship.
Class E (Supplemental)) – Class E garments typically consist of high visibility pants, bib overalls, shorts and gaiters. Worn alone, they do not meets hi-vis apparel PPE requirements. Worn with a Class 2 or Class 3 item, the overall classification increases to Class 3. We added the PIP® 318-1780-LY Class E Ripstop Insulated Hi-Vis Two-Tone Yellow Bib Overalls to our line of Hi-Vis Pants.
This is just touching the surface of ANSI's requirements. We’re here to answer any questions you have! We have over 30 years of experience working with Hi-Vis Gear and have personally compared fit and comfort levels of many of the items on our site. Our Critical Mission is to get you home in one piece every day. Take care and stay safe! Don't forget to follow us on Twitter!