ANSI & Updates
FRA HI-Vis Safety Requirements for Railroad Workers
Are hi vis vests or other reflective clothing items required by the FRA (Federal Railroad Administration)?
Section 214.39 “requires audible warning from locomotives before trains approach roadway workers on or about the track. The implementation of this requirement will necessitate railroad rules regarding notification to trains that roadway workers are on or about the track. This notification could take the form of portable whistle posts, train movement authorities, or highly visible clothing (e.g., high visibility safety vests, high visibility hard hats, etc.) to identify roadway workers and increase their visibility.”
See Roadway Worker Protection Final Rule (49 CFR 214), page 65972.
This section, coupled with the MUTCD rulings has led the railroad industry to utilize high visibility vests and other gear for their employees.
Do railroad workers need to have an “X” back on their vests and apparel?
The FRA does not specify an X on any item. Historically, the railroad industry has used the X back as an option to distinguish at night between a worker facing an operator (and thus being able to take evasive action) and a worker facing away from an operator (and thus requiring an audible warning of the approaching train). An X on the back of the apparel is used for many USA and Mexican rail operators as an option, and can be added to American National Standards Association garments (ANSI II and ANSI III).
In Canada, the X back is mandatory to meet the requirements of CSA (Canadian Standards Association).
I am a railroad contractor. How do I know what to wear for PPE and safety vests with the different railroads?
The Federal Register, Volume 61, No 242 reports “contractors should not devise their own complete programs in most instances, but would be expected to comply with programs established by the railroads on which they are working (61 FR 10531)/ Contractors would be responsible for ensuring that their employees complied with the appropriate railroad’s programs.
Each railroad has incorporated their own policy regarding color (orange, lime), level of compliance (ANSI II, ANSI III, CSA), back options (X back, traditional back) etc. Additionally, may railroads demand breakaway features for worker safety (5 point breakaway vests, detachable hoods, non-locking zippers). As these preferences are dynamic, please let us know which railroad you will be supporting, and we can guide you in selecting approved safety garments that is railway specific.
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American National Standard for High-Visibility Safety Apparel and Headwear http://www.safetyequipment.org/c/std107-2010.cfm
ISEA published the first American National Standard for high-visibility safety apparel in 1999. Garments complying with ANSI/ISEA 107-1999 quickly became widely accepted as the best way to protect workers against hazards of low visibility, and to enhance the visibility of workers who are exposed to struck-by hazards. A revision to the standard in 2004 added criteria for headwear, and introduced test report forms. Garments complying with the standard are now required by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) for anyone working in a right-of-way or highway work zone.
In January 2010, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) approved a revised edition of the standard, ANSI/ISEA 107-2010. This is the culmination of several years of work by the ISEA High Visibility Products Group, in cooperation with employers and workers, test labs and material suppliers, safety professionals, and federal, state and local authorities.
This standard provides a uniform, authoritative guide for the design, performance specifications, and use of high-visibility and reflective apparel including vests, jackets, bib/jumpsuit coveralls, trousers and harnesses. Garments that meet this standard can be worn 24 hours a day to provide users with a high level of conspicuity through the use of combined fluorescent and retroreflective materials.
Though the 2010 revision does not change the long-standing requirements for compliant garments with respect to classification and color, it does address important issues for the wearer related to flame-resistance and use during rainfall.
“In the past decade, the acceptance and use of high-visibility garments have become commonplace in working environments where any kind of vehicular movement is present,” said Jim Teigen, chairman of the ISEA High-Visibility Products Group and business manager of OK-1 Manufacturing. “Due to this widespread use, garments have evolved to address other needs of workers, such as flame resistant properties. The inclusion of flame-resistance criteria as an optional feature is included in direct response to end-user requests.”
Additionally, the update calls attention to the service-life guidelines for high-visibility garments that have been established by the Federal Highway Administration. “It is important that the end-user be aware of a high-visibility garment’s capability to offer continued protection,” Teigen noted. “For this reason, users are encouraged to follow guidelines put forth by the FHWA and manufacturers to ensure that they are being seen at all times, in all situations.”
ANSI/ISEA 107 was developed by ISEA in response to concerns that American workers who are exposed to low visibility hazards are not wearing appropriate visibility-enhancing apparel. "There's been a lot of progress since the standard first appeared," says ISEA manager of membership and standards services Cristine Fargo. "People driving through highway work zones can immediately see the advances in product design - the workers are more visible."
The standard establishes three Performance Classes for high-visibility safety apparel based on the wearer's activities, and determined by the total area of background and reflective materials used.
To comply with ANSI/ISEA 107-2010, a garment's background material, and retroreflective or combined-performance material, must be tested and certified by an independent, accredited third-party laboratory. The manufacturer of the finished item then verifies that the garment or headwear meets all the requirements of the standard, and provides a certificate of compliance for for each model. Forms for recording and reporting test results are included in the standard, as is a format for the compliance certificate. These forms are also available online.
Occupational scenarios in an appendix to the standard provide guidance for users, emphasizing that garment selection should be based on the color and complexity of the work environment. the task load of the worker, separation of the worker from moving equipment and vehicles, and other work environment variables.
Note: On May 20, 2010, the Federal Highway Administration issued an official interpretation that garments labeled as meeting ANSI/ISEA 107-2010 are in compliance with sections of the 2009 Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) covering workers, flaggers and adult crossing guards. The language in the MUTCD makes reference to the 2004 edition of the standard.Back to Top
American National Standard for High Visibility Public Safety Vests http://www.safetyequipment.org/c/std207-2006.cfm
An American National Standard from ISEA helps protect emergency responders by providing increased visibility. ANSI/ISEA 207-2006, the American National Standard for High-Visibility Public Safety Vests, establishes design, performance specifications, and use criteria for highly visible vests that are used by public safety industries.
“Vests that meet this standard give users enhanced visibility in all lighting conditions, through the combined use of fluorescent and retro-reflective materials,” said ISEA Technical Director Janice Comer Bradley.
The standard includes basic requirements such as vest dimensions, color and materials performance, but also incorporates criteria for special features for users in fire, emergency medical and law enforcement services. The vest design criteria reflect the specific needs of public safety workers such as the need to access belt mounted equipment (gun, CPR barrier) and the ability for vests to tear away from the body.
The standard recognizes the need for some public safety entities to identify with a specific color. The standard includes the means to identify public safety entities through the use of specific color markings.
Forms included in the standard to report testing for background material, combined-performance material and retroreflective material, as well as a compliance certificate format, are available online.
Use of public safety vests is now permitted to meet the visibility requirements of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD).
On December 16, 2009, the FHWA approved the revised 2009 MUTCD. The revision mandates that all workers in a highway right-of-way or work zone, including law enforcement personnel, firefighters and emergency responders, wear high-visibility safety apparel. Garments complying with ANSI/ISEA 207-2006 will be acceptable as an option to ANSI/ISEA 107-2004 for law enforcement and emergency responders. The revision is effective January 15, 2010 and workers on non-federal highways must be in compliance by December 31, 2009.Back to Top
OSHA Trade News Release
U.S. Department of Labor
Osha, Office of Communications
Oct. 20, 2009
Contact: Office of Communications
OSHA's new letter of interpretation requires that construction workers wear high-visibility warning garments.
WASHINGTON - High-visibility warning garments are required safety attire for highway and road construction workers according to a new letter of interpretation recently released by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
"Highway construction workers should not suffer serious or fatal injuries simply because they could not be seen," said acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Jordan Barab. "Requiring the use of reflective vests is essential to help prevent workers from being injured or killed."
In 2004, OSHA issued a letter of interpretation about the use of high-visibility apparel in highway construction. The letter emphasized that section 5(a)(1) of the OSH Act requires workers in highway work zones to wear high-visibility apparel.
However, the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission ruled that OSHA's letter indicated a more limited position: high-visibility garments are only required where the Federal Highway Administration's Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) mandates their use.
Therefore, OSHA is issuing a new letter stating that all highway and road construction workers must wear high-visibility apparel regardless of whether the MUTCD requires them. OSHA considers road and construction traffic a well-recognized hazard to highway/road construction workers. Bureau of Labor Statistics reinforced the need for using safety apparel when data from 2003 to 2007 showed there were 425 road construction work zone fatalities.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, OSHA's role is to assure safe and healthful working conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; and providing training, outreach and education. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
This article can be found At the United States Department of Labor Occupational Safety & Health Department Web site. Click here to view this article on their web site.Back to Top
Flexibility is Key to Success for City of Murfreesboro
Article commissioned and published by 3M® April 2008.
Solid Waste Workers Benefit From New High Visibility Work Wear Offerings
The solid waste professionals of Murfreesboro, Tennessee encounter a variety of work related hazards from the moment they begin their early morning routes to the time their day is ending. Recognizing that these employees face a multitude of risks from low visibility conditions to high traffic volume, the city began researching alternative primary apparel solutions that would not only improve worker visibility and enhance on-the-job comfort, but also increase compliance.
Assessing the Problem
The city of Murfreesboro’s solid waste sector makes it a priority to incorporate the feedback employees provide regarding safety, durability and comfort into its high visibility work wear purchasing decision. Many workers reported that their standard garments were uncomfortable and lacked flexibility. Some expressed that the reflective vests were hot or too large. Based on this feedback, the city began investigating the most up-to-date safety solutions that would help resolve these issues.
In order to find the best high visibility work wear option, the city worked with Reflective Apparel Factory, Inc. to obtain samples of t-shirts containing two different types of reflective trims. Two test groups of 20 employees were established in July 2005. Ten workers wore t-shirts that were equipped with solid reflective trim and ten wore shirts with segmented reflective trim. Halfway through the testing phase, the groups swapped shirts and when the research was completed the 20 testers unanimously reported that 3M™ Scotchlite™ Reflective Material - 5510 Segmented Home Wash Trim provided more flexibility and the material was more breathable.
“There has been an increased desire across all industries, but particularly in the Solid Waste industry, for lighter, more flexible and durable personal protection equipment, “said Rich Boven, President of Reflective Apparel Factory, Inc. “Time and time again, we are told that 3M™ Scotchlite™ Reflective Material – Series 5500 Comfort Trim is a key component in delivering these qualities, thereby increasing worker comfort and productivity. ”
In the three years since acquiring the new apparel for its 130 solid waste workers, the city of Murfreesboro has seen a significant decrease in work-related accidents and an increase in the number of workers adhering to the compliance standards.
“Solid waste employees are forced to contend with a variety of rough environmental factors throughout the year. The durability and the life-span of a reflective strip is therefore of utmost importance,” said Joey Smith, Director Solid Waste, city of Murfreesboro, TN. “Over the past few years, the Scotchlite reflective material – series 5500 comfort trim has maintained its reflectivity despite numerous washings and tough conditions.”Back to Top
What you need to know about PPE
October 09, 2008
New regulations for high visibility apparel will go into effect on November 24th of 2008. The Federal Regulation CFR 634 states that, "all workers within the right-of-way of a Federal-aid highway who are exposed either to traffic or to construction equipment within the work area SHALL wear high-visibility safety apparel." Since there are over 975,000 miles of Federal-aid highways it is extremely difficult to determine what is and isn't "Federal-aid" so many employers are opting to assume that all roads are covered under the regulation to avoid inadvertent noncompliance.
While the current version of the MUCTD recommends ANSI-compliant safety apparel in construction zones, the new standard is the first time a nationwide standard has been mandated. The new regulation specifies ANSI/ISEA 107-2004 requirements for the purpose of determining what is and is not compliant apparel and additionally requires workers to meet Class II or III of the standard. These new regulations are sure to create many questions and challenges for safety officers as well as employers concerning the size of work sites and in the variety of workers to whom the new regulation applies. Employers are required to designate a "competent" person to assess the risk and recommend the appropriate level of protection.
The regulation's definition of "workers" has been expanded beyond the construction worker, to include "people on foot whose duties place them within the right-of-way of a Federal-aid highway." Examples of these workers include survey crews, ambulance crews responding to incidents upon the roadway, law enforcement personnel when directing traffic or investigating accidents, utility crews etc. The Federal Highway Administration defines "responders to incidents" broadly and implies that tow truck drivers or other road side service vehicles operators, military personnel, media crews covering incidents and commercial drivers who are on foot after their vehicle have become disabled are considered "responders to incidents."
Due to these new regulations, large numbers of workers and business owners will have to select ANSI-compliant high-visibility apparel for the first time and will have to familiarize themselves with the standard and the scope of ANSI apparel in the marketplace. Comfort and styling of the apparel is an important component in assuring that workers will wear their high visibility clothing and actually comply with the standard. ANSI apparel is available in a wide range of styles that go well beyond the traditional vest. Manufactures now offer compliant T-Shirts, Windbreakers, Jackets, Systems Parkas, Rain Gear, Sweatshirts, Hats and more in addition to vests. It is also the duty of the employer to monitor the apparel for durability through home washes and degradation in the workplace. All ANSI apparel must be certified for a specific number of home washes, usually 25 or more although the standard calls for a minimum of 5 washes. Acid, bleach or hot tumble drying can all affect the effective life of an ANSI garment either in background fabric or it's retro-reflective material and must be checked to assure compliance. Manufactures are the best source of information on how to extend the life and compliance of the apparel that they sell.Back to Top
Federal Government Begins Mandating High-Visibility Vests for Emergency Responders
23 CFR 634: Use of High-Visibility Apparel When Working on Federal-Aid Highways
On November 24, 2008, a new federal regulation (23 CFR 634) goes into effect mandating that anyone working in the right-of-way of a federal-aid highway must be wearing high-visibility clothing that meets the requirements of ANSI / ISEA 107; 2004 edition class 2 or 3. This requirement will apply to all emergency responders with certain safety exceptions.
The Code of Federal Regulations Title 23 (Highways) Part 634 was originally published in the Federal Register Vol 71, No 226, pp 67792 - 67800. It was revised November 21, 2008 in an Interim Final Rule to address safety concerns from the firefighting community and allow certain common sense exemptions covered below in the section "Exceptions for Emergency Responders".
The Rule (634.3) in its revised form states that:
"All workers within the right-of-way of a Federal-aid highway who are exposed either to traffic (vehicles using the highway for purposes of travel) or to construction equipment within the work area shall wear high-visibility safety apparel. Firefighters or other emergency responders working within the right-of-way of a Federal-aid highway and engaged in emergency operations that directly expose them to flame, fire, heat, and/or hazardous materials may wear retroreflective turn-out gear that is specified and regulated by other organizations, such as the National Fire Protection Association. Firefighters or other emergency responders working within the right-of-way of a Federal-aid highway and engaged in any other types of operations shall wear high-visibility safety apparel."
Definitions (634.2) within Part 634 cover what is meant by "Workers" and "high-visibility safety apparel". Any exceptions for emergency responders are incorporated in the definition of "workers":
"Workers means people on foot whose duties place them within the right-of-way of a Federal-aid highway, such as highway construction and maintenance forces; survey crews; utility crews; responders to incidents within the highway right-of-way; firefighters and other emergency responders when they are not directly exposed to flame, fire, heat, and/or hazardous materials; and law enforcement personnel when obstructed roadways, and disasters directing traffic, investigating crashes, and handling lane closures, within the right-of-way of a Federal-aid highway."
"High-Visibility Safety Apparel" is defined to mean "personal protective safety clothing that is intended to provide conspicuity during both daytime and nighttime usage, and that meets the Performance Class 2 or 3 requirements of the ANSI/ISEA 107–2004".
In the background material for the Interim Final Rule the FHWA mentions a study by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute. That mention is included only as contributory information about how the FHWA concluded upon the firefighter exceptions. Since it is only background material and not a part of the actual "Rule" it shall not be taken to indicate that turnout gear may be worn instead of high-visibility garments except as specifically described in the Rule.
ANSI 207, Public Safety Vests
After 23 CFR 634 was finalized, a new standard for Public Safety Vests was published as ANSI / ISEA 207; 2006 edition. Because ANSI 207 was not published until after 23 CFR 634 was finalized, the federal regulation could only reference ANSI 107.
ANSI 107 requires that class 2 garments (vests) have at least 775 square inches of high-visibility, fluorescent background material and at least 201 square inches of reflective material. While the ANSI 207 requirement for reflective material is the same (201 in2), it requires only 450 square inches of background material. Therefore, ANSI 207 vests do not meet the requirements of ANSI 107 and therefore do not currently meet the requirements of 23 CFR 634.
The DOT Federal Highway Administration’s Associate Administrator for Operations has written a letter to the Emergency Responder Safety Institute that is being circulated in discussions about this issue. (Click here to download a copy of the letter.) The letter acknowledges that they have reviewed ANSI 207 and “found this standard compatible with the ANSI/ISEA  Class II requirements for night-time visibility.” Those affected by 23 CFR 634 should understand that the high-visibility clothing must be worn day and night, so this statement by the FHWA does not officially validate the use of ANSI 207 vests in place of ANSI 107 where legally mandated. As of the publication of the Interim Final Rule, Public Safety Vests (ANSI 207) are still not allowable where 23 CFR 634 applies.
Proposed Changes to the Rule
The DOT/FHWA has proposed a number of changes that will affect 23 CFR 634. Of the most immediate concern is that they propose allowing ANSI 207 vests for emergency responders. This change did not go into effect in time for the November 24 deadline and is not likely to go into effect until the 2nd or 3rd quarter of 2009. In a much more comprehensive change, the current proposals would incorporate 23 CFR 634 into the MUTCD (Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices). This would make high-visibility garments (under the proposal, either 107- or 207-certified) mandatory for workers on “all roads open to public travel in accordance with 23 CFR Part 655, not just Federal-aid highways.”
The proposed changes concerning 23 CFR 634 can be read by downloading a pdf document of the proposed changes for the MUTCD. The items already mentioned are:
- 362 (page 317) – incorporation into the MUTCD and extending high-visibility clothing mandate to all roads
- 375 & 376 (page 318) – allowing ANSI 207 vests for first responders and law enforcement personnel.
The proposed changes were open for public review and comment until July 31, 2008. Many individuals and groups concerned with responder safety submitted their own comments and proposals which will now be reviewed and considered for inclusion.
Exceptions for Emergency Responders
Due to "comments from State and local police, national police organizations, and State DOTs" the original publishment in the federal register includes exceptions for law enforcement officers working in potentially adversarial or confrontational roles. This includes traffic stops and searches. Officers are still required under 23 CFR 634 to wear high-visibility clothing during other times, such as "directing traffic, investigating crashes, and handling lane closures, obstructed roadways, and disasters within the right-of-way of a Federal-aid highway." (The language for this exception can be found in the 2nd column of page 67797 of the publication in the Federal Register Vol. 71, No 226 which can be downloaded using the link below).
On Friday November 21, 2008 the FHWA published an Interim Final Rule in order to codify common sense exemptions for firefighters involved in operations where a high-visibility vest would put them at greater risk. These changes mean that while emergency responders are "engaged in emergency operations that directly expose them to flame, fire, heat, and/or hazardous materials" they should wear turnout gear. However, all fire department personnel should be aware that turnout gear alone does not meet the visibility requirement of 23 CFR 634. No turnout gear currently manufactured meets the color requirement for the fluorescent background material of these high-visibility garments. Even if turnout gear could be dyed to meet the color standard when manufactured, it would likely no longer be compliant after the first exposure to fire, smoke, and soot. Therefore, turnout gear may not be substituted for high-visibility clothing in other situations where 23 CFR 634 requires it.
Complicating the issue further, the National Fire Protection Association is set to release the 2009 edition of NFPA 1901: Standard for Automotive Fire Apparatus. This edition (as written) will apply to all fire apparatus "contracted for on or after January 1, 2009" and will require "one traffic safety vest for each seating position, each vest to comply with ANSI/ISEA 207, Standard for High-Visibility Public Safety Vests, and have a five-point breakaway feature that includes two at the shoulders, two at the sides and one at the front." This requirement is included for each type of fire apparatus, for example see sections 5.8.3 (18), 6.7.3 (15), 22.214.171.124 (14), etc.
Although some vests can be purchased that are certified to meet the requirements of both ANSI 107 and 207, vests compliant only with ANSI 207 may not meet a strict legal interpretation of the 23 CFR 634 requirements which took effect November 24, 2008. This is a potentially confusing liability issue that deserves close attention by all departments in the short-term while the confounding issues are being worked out.
Part of the RKB mission is to try to keep our users informed of equipment-related issues, and we hope that this mission critical hint has accomplished that. The timing of 23 CFR 634 and ANSI / ISEA 207 was unfortunate, but the complications are being addressed by the MUTCD proposed changes. The difficulty and confusion will be in the short term, between the effective date of 23 CFR 634 on November 24th and the time the proposed changes are implemented. Every source contacted by the RKB staff has made it clear that the eventual intent is for either the ANSI 107 or 207 vests to be used. However, no one has been able to say with certainty what will happen if there is a serious injury or fatality to a responder wearing a 207-compliant vest while the unchanged 23 CFR 634 is in effect. That may be decided in court. Departments should consider getting an opinion from their counsel to assist in deciding their compliance strategy.
We hope that every department will prepare and implement procedures to address 23 CFR 634, and also plan ahead with funding and training for the later changes that will likely extend the safety-vest requirements to all public roads.Back to Top