Buyer’s Guide to High-Visibility Apparel: What You Need To Know

Buyer’s Guide to High-Visibility Apparel: What You Need To Know
  • Opening Intro -

    Many workplaces require high-visibility apparel to protect workers in a variety of situations.

    And because being struck by a moving vehicle on the job is one of the most common causes of construction site injury and death, wearing the proper safety gear is critical.


This article will be your buyer’s guide to high-visibility apparel.

Consider Your Needs and Performance Class

The American National Standard for High-Visibility Safety Apparel and Accessories (ANSI) has broken down hi-vis apparel into three performance classes based on the safety requirements for different situations.

Performance class 1 apparel needs to be highly visible but does not need to be retroreflective or cover a large percentage of the body.

Performance class 2 apparel is the minimum level of visibility required to work on public safety projects such as roadwork and must cover a large portion of the body.

Performance class 3 apparel is for high-risk environments and must have retroreflective material and cover the arms and legs.

Know the Application of Your Apparel

The ANSI has also broken hi-vis garments into three categories based on application. However, it is essential to keep performance class in mind and how it meets the safety needs of each application.

For example, performance class 1 apparel can only be used for employees working in off-road environments or projects. Other public projects need to meet either class 2 or 3. The application categories are broken down into off-road (O), roadway (R), or public safety (P).

Typically, O apparel is used by workers who retrieve shopping carts or work in warehouses with high equipment traffic. R apparel is used by roadway workers but is also used by airport ground crew and even school crossing guards. P apparel is for law enforcement, firefighters, and other emergency personnel.

You’ll also want to consider the different hi-vis apparel colors and which projects they apply to.

Choose the Right Material

Different materials also suit various projects and applications better. The primary fabrics that hi-vis apparel comes in are bird’s eye knit, cotton polyester blend, and moisture-wicking polyester.

Moisture-wicking polyester is suitable for wet environments but also great for projects out in the sun during the hottest hours of the day. You’ll be much more comfortable working outside, while the moisture-wicking fabric allows sweat to evaporate and cool you off.

Cotton polyester is ideal for situations where you also want to be comfortable and won’t have much movement during the day; toll booth workers often wear this material. This is because cotton doesn’t dye as vibrantly and doesn’t always meet safety standards.

Lastly, the bird’s eye knit is polyester woven in a honeycomb pattern and is also great for warm weather because it is moisture-wicking and highly breathable.

With this buyer’s guide to high visual apparel, you’re now better informed to buy the right products that your workers need to be safe and do the job.

Image Credit: Adobe stock image credit FILE #: 310711629

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