Choosing the best safety vest for your workers can feel unnecessarily complicated. There are many components to high-visibility vests that can influence your decision; coverage, color, style, and class may have an influence on your needs, just to name a few details. If you’re struggling with how to choose a safety vest, consider this complete guide.
What Is a High-Vis Safety Vest?
A high-vis safety vest is a piece of bright, reflective clothing that allows workers in hazardous areas to be seen. High-vis safety vests are typically worn around the torso with the bulk of the material covering the full torso area, chest, and shoulders with the arms left uncovered.
High vests are typically worn for protection during the night when there is no light source available. When a car passes by a worker wearing a high-vis vest, the worker will be illuminated due to the reflective material, allowing them to be seen by the driver.
Why Is a High-Vis Safety Vest Necessary?
A high-vis safety vest, or ANSI safety vest, is a necessary and required piece of safety gear that allows workers to remain visible in low visibility situations. They are also necessary for workers who must divert their attention from traffic to perform work. This is important because it helps prevent accidents and injury by allowing the worker to remain accounted for and easily identified on the job.
High-vis vests are especially helpful for low visibility and harsh weather conditions, like rain or snow, and are necessary for workers and their protection.
Consider the Color of the Vest
The color of the vest is important because certain colors are better suited for various work environments. Bright vest colors are essential and better suited for outdoor areas, while dark high-vis vests are appropriate for indoor areas such as warehouses where the lighting is more consistent.
Consider the Classification of the Vest
You should consider the classification of the vest before choosing one for your employees. Vests are rated and approved by the American National Standards Institute and classified into three major categories: Class 1, Class 2, or Class 3. Each class has its own distinctions.
Consider the classifications below:
Class 1 Safety Vests
Class 1 safety vests are ideal for workers who are located in low-traffic areas or areas with a speed limit at or below 25 MPH. Class 1 vests are ideal for parking attendants and roadside repair to name a few low-impact environment roles.
Class 1 vests are characterized by yellow or orange vest colors with a minimum of 155 square inches of reflective tape. These reflective strips are required to go around the middle of the torso area and over the shoulders.
Class 2 Safety Vests
Class 2 safety vests are used for environments that are higher risk. These vests are to be worn by workers in areas where traffic is at or below 50 MPH. Class 2 vests are larger in design for more coverage and visibility and require a minimum of 775 square inches of yellow or orange fabric with 201 square inches of reflective strips.
Consider the Fabric of the Vest
There are a couple of fabric options you can consider providing your workers with for different wear or comfortability options. There are cotton fabrics or polyester which both provide a different feel and experience. The different fabrics also provide various benefits, like flame or water resistance. Consider the field of work to decide which vest fabric better suits your workers’ needs.
Consider the Season for Wearing the Vest
The season is important to consider before purchasing the vest. It’s ideal to choose a safety vest for warmer weather conditions like summer, spring, and early fall. These seasons are ideal for workers to maintain comfort during days with intense heat or even enjoyable weather like windy spring days.
Consider the Features
Different vests have different features that you may find useful for your workers. For example, you can consider a safety vest that includes pockets for pens, cellphones, or other essential items.
You may also find features such as Velcro or zippers to be convenient and useful for workers to increase versatility and comfort. Zipper and velcro designs are not only aesthetically pleasing, but they offer a practical solution to easily putting on and taking off this safety wear.
Consider the Alternative Vest Options
There are various ways to wear a vest or high-vis wear. For example, instead of a vest made of fabric with full torso coverage, you can opt for a safety sash that provides the same reflective aspect that your workers need to stay safe while allowing them to wear whatever practical and appropriate clothing they want underneath. You can find sashes of different class levels which provide various amounts of coverage depending on their classification. You can even add reflective wrist and ankle bands for added coverage.
Consider the Different Design Preferences
There are plenty of designs for you to choose from to suit your needs and appeal to the eye. For example, there are camo high-vis vests that are ideal for workers who are in outdoor environments and need an extra layer of safety. There are multicolored (orange on top, black on bottom) that meet classification standards while offering an alternative style.
Consider Who Will Be Wearing the Vest
At times, the safety vests may not be ideal for all body types. Women may find themselves feeling swallowed by the gear and not adequately shaped in the gear. You can consider a women’s hi-vis safety vest for the women on your team who desire to cinch their vests to avoid a baggy and shapeless appearance. These vests are adjustable and add a customizable factor to the vest which is ideal for comfortability.
There are many factors that go into buying a high-vis vest. Consider your workers and their needs. What season will they be wearing the vests in? Do you have any design or fabric preferences? What special features do you feel your workers may appreciate or need? These factors are all essential when choosing a safety vest. Be sure to consult this guide when making your decision. Click here to purchase ANSI safety vests and don’t hesitate to reach out to HiVisSafety for all your high-vis needs.