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ANSI stands for the American National Standards Institute, and they administer the standards for safety vests and other safety apparel. There are many factors that go into the ANSI ratings, such as the amount and placement reflective material, the style of vest, and the background material. The ANSI specifies three different classes of safety vests, based on the environment you work in.
ANSI Class 2 Safety These vests are for workers who need greater visibility in poor weather conditions, people who work near heavy machinery, and those whose activities occur near roadways where the speed limit is higher than 25 miles per hour. These are sleeveless vests with 775 square inches of background material and 201 square inches of reflective material. Here are a few examples of workers who need to wear Class 2 vests:
ANSI Class 3 Safety Vests: These vests are for workers in high risk environments, as they provide the highest level of visibility. They are required for workers who work in traffic exceeding 50 miles per hour and are good for a wide range of weather conditions. These vests have sleeves, and have 1240 square inches of background material and 310 square inches of reflective material. Here are a few examples of workers who need to wear Class 3 vests:
There are also non-ANSI vests available for workers who have sufficient distance from traffic that is slower than 25 miles per hour and are doing activities that still allow them to pay attention to oncoming traffic. These are sleeveless vests that have little or no reflective tape and can come in colors other than high visibility lime and orange. Here are a few examples of workers who can wear non-ANSI vests: