Safety vests are an essential piece of modern safety equipment that makes just about every work environment safer. If you’re hunting for equipment with added visibility without inconvenience, this is it.
Safety Vests have different classifications that determine the level of visibility. They can also be flame-resistant and cooling. For the best safety vest, you will need to find an option that will work for you at your place of employment or for the particular activity you intend to do.
Safety vests are lightweight and highly breathable (most of the time) and make a great addition to the work uniform of most road workers, construction workers, airport workers, and warehouse workers – you get the idea.
In this article, we’ll review the different kinds of safety vests and identify their various uses. There is a reason why so many different variations of the safety vest have been made: pure demand. Workers in multiple industries have needed an updated version of the safety vest, so the industry has answered their call. Let’s talk about the different kinds of safety vests and the various benefits you can get from each.
Class 1, 2, and 3 Vests
Safety vests have different classifications that determine their degree of visibility. These are divided into classes 1, 2, and 3 and defined by the American National Standards Institute or ANSI. Each class determines how much reflective material each vest should have on it and where that reflective material should be located.
Class 1 safety vests need a minimum of 155 square inches of reflective tape, which needs to be placed above a worker’s shoulders and around the middle of the vest for increased visibility. Class 2 vests need even more tape – 201 square inches, to be exact. Again, this tape must be located over the shoulders and in the middle of the vest for increased visibility.
Finally, the class 3 high visibility safety vest calls for 310 square inches of reflective tape, and this tape needs to be over the shoulders, in the middle of the vest, and on the arms and legs. This makes a worker wearing a class 3 vest the most visible by far.
Workers often wear these vests on roadways and in other low-visibility environments. These environments often have large machinery and many vehicles moving around, making them much more dangerous to work in.
These heat-resistant and flame-resistant safety vests have been treated with fire-retardant material, making them near impervious to high temperatures. These types of safety vests are ideal in many industries, especially those that use power tools that can generate high temperatures. Think of arc welding torches, acetylene torches, and electrical equipment.
These types of safety vests make valuable pieces of safety equipment by keeping a flame-resistant barrier between you and any heat sources you might find yourself working with. They are essential to ensuring workers’ safety when handling dangerous equipment in various environments. Any kind of worker that risks being exposed to open flames could benefit from wearing a safety vest of this type.
Cooling Safety Vests
Another valuable kind of safety vest is the cooling type, which usually consists of highly breathable material. However, they also typically contain several ice packs that will help to cool down their wearer in hot weather. Its pockets are filled with ice packs to help workers stay cool during the warmer months.
Along with the cooling safety vest, it would be a good idea to wear clothing that is ideal for hot weather. Have a look at these articles I wrote on the best work clothing for hot weather:
- Best Work Pants For Hot Weather Reviews
- Best Work Boot Socks for Hot Weather [Perfect Boot Socks]
- Best Work Shirts For Hot Weather [For Men & Women]
These safety vests are must-haves for workers stationed on top of concrete when it’s sunny outside for any extended period. It’s well-known that high temperatures can cause dehydration, heat stroke, and other negative health conditions in workers.
A cooling safety vest will help prevent workplace injuries from occurring as a result of overexposure to heat. They are a must-have for any kind of worker working outside around asphalt, concrete, pavement, metal, glass, and other materials that absorb heat from sunlight. These materials can increase air temperatures, resulting in all kinds of issues for workers.
How to Determine Quality
Now that we’ve identified some of the most common types of safety vests you’re likely to encounter, we can talk a bit about determining whether a vest is good quality or not. Some things to pay attention to are material, breathability, weight, durability, and overall visibility.
No matter what kind of vest you end up with, you will want to have one that is highly reflective and easily viewable in as many environments as possible. That means the vest you end up with should be plastered with reflective tape and various identity markers.
You should also look at safety accessories and whether your high visibility vest comes with any of them. These might include pockets, pen holders, zippers, a whistle or compass, and more. Safety vests can serve many useful functions, and accessories can help make certain functions easier for you.
In other words, don’t back away from finding a vest decked out with absolutely everything you might be looking for. Pay attention to material type to determine how your vest might hold up in different kinds of weather.
Generally speaking, you’re going to want a cotton vest, as this highly-breathable material will keep you cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Additionally, cotton is very strong and versatile, making it ideal in various environments.
Make sure the safety vest you choose has 3M reflective material as not all high visibility work wear meets ANSI 107 Level 2 Brightness Compliance as can be seen in the below YouTube Video:
Finding the Ideal Safety Vest for Your Job
Now that you know a bit more about different kinds of safety vests and how they work in different environments, you’re much more equipped to find an option that will work for you at your place of employment.
You may also need more information on the Advantages of Vented Hard Hats for Hot and Humid Work Environments to go along with your ideal safety vest which can be found in this article I wrote.
It can be tough to locate the perfect piece of safety equipment with all of the options, but we’re confident that you have all the information you could need to identify a safety vest that will work for you.