When looking for high-visibility clothing, it’s crucial to know which standards you should consider. North America has two main standards governing high-visibility apparel: the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).
This guide will compare the CSA and ANSI hi-vis standards side-by-side, allowing you to decide which one is right for you.
CSA Hi-Vis Standards
The Canadian Standards Association governs the CSA standards, which includes three classes of high-visibility clothing.
Class 1 is for workers with a low risk of being struck by vehicles, such as construction workers on foot. Class 2 is for workers with a moderate risk of being hit by cars, such as utility workers and school crossing guards. Class 3 is for workers with a high risk of being struck by vehicles, such as highway construction workers.
ANSI Hi-Vis Standards
There are three classes of ANSI hi-vis clothing: Class 1, Class 2, and Class 3.
Class 1 is the lowest level of protection and is for workers not exposed to hazards. This type of clothing is made up of lightweight materials like polyester or cotton and usually features bright colors and reflective stripes.
Class 2 provides a higher level of protection than Class 1, designed for workers regularly exposed to hazards. Consisting of background fabric that is either completely fluorescent or has a minimum of 50 percent coverage, as well as retro-reflective stripes, Class 2 apparel offers daytime and nighttime conspicuity.
Class 3 provides the highest level of protection and is designed for workers regularly exposed to hazardous conditions. Like Class 2, Class 3 apparel uses background fabric that is completely fluorescent or has a minimum of 50 percent coverage. In addition, it must feature retro-reflective stripes. Class 3 garments offer the most visibility and are for use in low-light or nighttime conditions.
The Differences Between CSA and ANSI Hi-Vis Standards
One key difference between CSA and ANSI high-visibility clothing standards is the requirement for a reflective X on the back. The ANSI standard does not have this requirement, while the CSA standard states that a reflective X must be on the back. The X is an extra level of safety that allows any bystanders to determine whether the worker is facing them.
Also, when comparing the CSA and ANSI hi-vis standards, another difference is the amount of fluorescent and retro-reflective material required for each class level.
ANSI requires background fabric to be predominantly fluorescent and feature reflective stripes, while CSA only requires that the background fabric is fluorescent.
ANSI requires background fabric to have a minimum of 50 percent coverage, while CSA only requires that the background fabric is fluorescent.
ANSI requires background fabric to be predominantly fluorescent and feature reflective stripes, while CSA requires that the background fabric is completely fluorescent.
Which Standard Should You Choose?
The answer to this question depends on various factors, including the type of work you do and the conditions where you work.
If you work in an occupation with low-speed vehicular traffic, such as a parking lot attendant or school crossing guard, CSA Class 1 apparel is likely sufficient.
On the other hand, if you work in an occupation with high-speed vehicular traffic or near hazardous conditions, you will need CSA Class 2 or 3 or ANSI Class 2 or 3 apparel.
It is also important to consider the conditions you work in when choosing hi-vis clothing. If you work in low-light or nighttime conditions, you will need apparel with reflective material that offers maximum visibility. In this case, ANSI Class 3 garments are the best option.
Ultimately, the best way to determine which standard and level of protection is right for you is to consult your employer or safety manager. They will be able to assess the risks associated with your job and recommend the appropriate level of hi-vis clothing.
Workplaces regulated by the Canadian government must follow the CSA standards, while workplaces regulated by the United States government must follow the ANSI standards. However, many employers follow both sets of measures to ensure the safety of their workers.
Jobs That Need Hi-Vis Apparel
Many different occupations require workers to wear hi-vis apparel. Some of these occupations include:
- Construction workers
- Utility workers
- Roadway maintenance workers
- Tow truck drivers
- Warehouse workers
- Emergency responders
- Railroad workers
- Sanitation workers
Hi-vis apparel is necessary for any job that requires working in low-light or nighttime conditions, near moving vehicles, or in other hazardous environments.
Types of Hi-Vis Apparel
Many types of hi-vis apparel are available for men and women, including shirts, jackets, vests, and pants.
Some hi-vis garments are specifically designed for certain occupations. For example, there are hi-vis shirts with pockets that have been created for construction workers. Other hi-vis apparel, such as vests and jackets, can be worn by workers in various occupations.
Choosing the right type of hi-vis apparel depends on your job and work conditions. Choosing comfortable clothing that allows you to move freely while working is extremely important.
Hi-vis apparel is available in various sizes to ensure a good fit. Additionally, choosing the appropriate hi-vis clothing for certain weather conditions is essential. For example, if you work in hot weather conditions, you must choose hi-vis clothing made from breathable materials.
How To Care for Hi-Vis Apparel
It is important to care for your hi-vis apparel properly to ensure it lasts and continues to provide the level of protection you need.
Follow the instructions on the care label to wash your hi-vis clothing—hi-vis apparel can usually be machine-washed, but it may need to hang dry.
Do not use bleach or fabric softener when washing hi-vis clothing. These products can damage the reflective material on the clothing and reduce its visibility, rendering the garment ineffective.
If your hi-vis clothing starts to fade or the reflective material becomes damaged, it is time to replace it.
These are just a few things to remember when choosing and caring for hi-vis apparel. Wearing the right type of hi-vis clothing is important for keeping yourself safe while working.
Please consult your employer or safety manager to ensure you wear the appropriate hi-vis clothing for your occupation. The last thing you want is to get hurt on the job because you were not properly visible.
Hi Vis Safety can help you find the right hi-vis apparel for your job. We offer a wide selection of hi-vis clothing that meets the CSA and ANSI standards. Our clothing is also available in various sizes and styles to suit your needs.