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Incident Sign Installation Guide

High-Visibility Safety Apparel

Federal regulations require that all workers, including emergency responders, who are exposed to traffic or work vehicles and construction equipment within the road right-of-way, shall wear high-visibility safety apparel that meets the Performance Class 2 or 3 requirements of American National Standards Institute/International Safety Equipment Association (ANSI/ISEA) 107–2004 (or current edition).

This includes:

  • Firefighters engaged in roadside firefighting activities, such as installing road signs, directing traffic, and conducting tactical/logistical operations

  • Uniformed law enforcement personnel directing traffic, investigating crashes, or handling lane closures, obstructed roadways, and disasters

  • Personnel conducting flagging operations for temporary traffic control

  • Personnel maintaining road closures

The apparel background (outer) material color shall be fluorescent orange-red, fluorescent yellow-green, or a combination of the two. The retroreflective material shall be orange, yellow, white, silver, yellow-green, or a fluorescent version of these colors.

Nomex firefighting clothing does not meet these requirements.

The high-visibility safety apparel shall be visible at a minimum distance of 1,000 feet and clearly identify the wearer as a person.

Photo of a man wearing a class 2 vest.

Class 2 Garments

Class 2 garments provide a moderate level of visibility. Select when:

  • Greater visibility is desired during inclement weather conditions
  • Complex backgrounds are present
  • Speeds of traffic or moving equipment exceed 25 miles per hour
  • Workers' activities take place in closer proximity to vehicle traffic
Photo of a man wearing a class three vest.

Class 3 Garments

Class 3 garments provide the highest level of visibility. Select when workers:

  • Are exposed to significantly higher vehicle speeds and/or reduced sight distances

  • Face serious hazards and have high task loads that require attention away from their work

  • Must be conspicuous through the full range of body motions at a minimum of 1,280 feet

  • Are conducting flagging operations at night


Emergency and incident responders and law enforcement personnel may choose to wear a high-visibility public safety vest that meets the performance requirements of the "American National Standard for High-Visibility Public Safety Vests" (ANSI/ISEA 207-2006 or current edition). Public safety vests, can have a shorter body length than the ANSI/ISEA 107-204 vests, which allows easier access to equipment worn on a waist belt, such as radios and fire shelters.


Law enforcement officers engaged in adversarial or confrontational roles, such as in traffic stops and pursuit and apprehension of suspects, are not required to wear high-visibility apparel due to the additional risk that may be involved.

Firefighters or other emergency responders working within the right-of-way and engaged in emergency operations that directly expose them to flame, fire, heat, and/or hazardous materials may wear retroreflective turnout gear that is specified and regulated by other organizations, such as the National Fire Protection Association.

Job Hazard Analysis

A work supervisor should perform a documented Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) to determine the appropriate class of garment for use. The appropriate garment color should be selected based on which color will provide the greatest contrast between the worker and the work environment. If there is any doubt as to the appropriate class, the work supervisor should select the one with the higher level of protection.


High-visibility safety apparel should be replaced when it becomes faded, torn, dirty, soiled, worn, or defaced, or if it is not visible at 1,000 feet day or night. The typical useful service life of high-visibility safety apparel depends on the type of work an individual performs while wearing the apparel. Apparel that is worn on a daily basis has a service life expectancy of about 6 months, although apparel that is not worn on a daily basis may have a useful service life of up to 3 years or more.

High-visibility apparel should be stored in a cool, dry location out of direct sunlight when not in use.