High-Visibility Safety Apparel Standard Updated to Help Ensure Workers are Seen and Protected
ANSI/ISEA 107-2020 Addresses Design, Performance and Materials for HVSA PPE
By: Cristine Z. Fargo, Contributor
As America’s roads and highways age and infrastructure is enhanced and rebuilt, we can expect to see more construction along the roadside in the coming years.
In 2018, the public sector spent about $92.5 billion U.S. dollars on highway construction. By 2022, highway and road construction put in place in the United States is projected to grow to about $103 billion.
With roadside work comes great risk for those workers. According to the Bureau of Labor, from 2011 – 2017, transportation events accounted for 76% of roadway work zone fatal occupational injuries during the 7-year period. In 60% of these transportation events, the worker was struck by a vehicle in the work zone.
So that workers are seen, they are required to wear high- visibility safety apparel (HVSA) that meets the ANSI/ISEA 107 standard – American National Standard for High-Visibility Safety Apparel. First published in 1999, the 2020 version is now available and should be reviewed by all who manufacture, distribute, sell and wear HVSA.
ANSI/ISEA 107-2020 is the authoritative document for the design, performance or materials for HVSA personal protective equipment (PPE) in the United States, having been codified into U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) regulations in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) and incorporated by reference into other relevant worker protection standards.
The fifth edition of this voluntary industry consensus standard has been updated to emphasize configurations and design requirements, include specific criteria for single-use disposable coveralls and introduce measurements of nighttime luminance.
“One of the easiest ways to help workers be safe is to make them more visible, especially when working alongside traffic, with heavy machinery or at night,” said Tim Gardner, Chairman of the ISEA High-Visibility Products Group and Regulatory Affairs Manager at 3M Company. “This revised and enhanced HVSA standard serves to meet end-user needs, taking into considering all occupational tasks, hazards and environments.”
From waste management to emergency first response to painting roads, worker visibility is often imperative in environments that can soil garments. To address these scenarios, the 2020 version includes specific criteria for a single-use disposable coverall. In addition to meeting requisite minimum material amounts and color requirements imposed on all compliant HVSA, conforming coveralls are evaluated to relevant material integrity tests and have unique labeling requirements.
Night work poses additional visibility challenges and safety risks. The 2020 edition of the standard introduces the concept of measuring the overall distribution of nighttime luminance of a garment, Evaluation is optional and the data it generates throughout the next revision cycle will allow wearers to more easily compare the all-angle nighttime performance of HVSA and empower manufacturers with an additional tool to improve design and performance.
“Workers on the night shift are especially vulnerable to visibility issues,” said Sandra Hanna, Vice Chair of the ISEA High-Visibility Products Group and Vice President of Marketing and Product Development at Kishigo. “It’s vital luminance of safety apparel be measurable in all environments to ensure workers are protected.”
ANSI/ISEA 107-2020 was developed by ISEA’s High-Visibility Products Group and approved by key stakeholders representing utility workers, safety professionals, transportation safety experts, testing laboratories and government agencies.
The standard, which is available in English and Spanish, can be purchased from ISEA at safetyequipment.org. WMHS
For more information about this and other safety equipment standards, contact Cristine Z. Fargo, ISEA Vice President, Operations and Technical Services, cfargo@safety
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