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  • What is HVSA?

    HVSA is shorthand for “High-­Visibility Safety Apparel,” which includes garments such as vests, jackets, pants, shirts, rainwear and coveralls that are designed and constructed to increase visibility to people working in hazardous situations under all light conditions. HVSA provides daytime and nighttime visibility enhancement for workers in occupational environments where they are exposed or struck by hazards from moving vehicles, equipment and machinery, or wherever a risk assessment indicates a need to be seen. In the context of this discussion, HVSA refers to apparel and accessories that conform to the requirements of ANSI/ISEA 107­ 2020.

  • What's included in the standard?

    ANSI/ISEA 107-­‐2020 details the performance requirements for materials used in the construction of HVSA, specifically fluorescent background material and retroreflective or combined-­‐performance material. The standard specifies the amount of material required for various types and classes of HVSA and test procedures for determining performance of the material. The standard also includes requirements for garment configuration and construction, labeling and use instruction, along with suggested use scenarios and examples of garment design.

  • What are fluorescent, retroreflective and combined-performance materials?

    Fluorescent materials are the fabrics used to make HVSA. These fabrics use special pigments to appear brighter than other colors, and enhance daytime visibility, especially in low light such as cloud cover, dusk, dawn, etc. ANSI/ISEA 107 specifies minimum performance characteristics for fluorescent yellow-­‐ green, orange-­‐red and red background materials.

    Retroreflective materials are added to HVSA in specific patterns, to provide visibility in low light, especially at night. These materials are designed to return light in the direction of the light’s source, so that they will appear bright to a driver or machine operator when illuminated by a vehicle’s headlights or other source of light.

    ANSI/ISEA 107 also allows the use of combined-­‐performance material, which has both fluorescent and retroreflective properties.

  • What are the HVSA Types and Performance Classes?

    Like the previous editions of ANSI/ISEA 107, the standard classifies HVSA as Performance Class 1, 2 or 3, depending on the amount of visible background and retroreflective material. These Performance Classes give users a way to specify HVSA that is appropriate for the work environment and hazards:

     Performance Class 1 provides the minimum amount of required material to differentiate the wearer visually from non-­‐complex work environments.

     Performance Class 2 includes additional amounts of high-­‐visibility materials to allow design opportunities to define the human form more effectively.

     Performance Class 3 offers greater visibility to the wearer in both complex backgrounds and through a full range of body movements.

    The 2015 edition also establishes three types of garments:

     Type O (off-­‐road), for non-­‐roadway use, where workers are not exposed to highway traffic or temporary traffic control zones. 

        Type O HVSA is Performance Class 1.

     Type R (roadway), for use where workers are exposed to traffic from public access highway rights-­‐of-­‐way or roadway temporary traffic control zones. 

        Type R HVSA may be Performance Class 2 or 3.

     Performance Class 3 offers greater visibility to the wearer in both complex backgrounds and through a full range of body movements.

  • How does the ANSI-107 standard accommodate smaller workers?

    Recognizing that wearing oversized garments may compromise safety, the standard allows a reduced area of visible background material for the smallest size garment offered in Type R, Performance Class 2 or 3. For example, the smallest Performance Class 2 HVSA may use a minimum of 540 sq. in. of background material, while the requirement for all other sizes is 775 sq. in. Type P garments have a smaller minimum material requirement, but they are designed for use by public safety workers.

  • Are there design requirements for HVSA?

    Yes. HVSA must be designed to provide 360-­‐degree visibility for workers. While the standard allows some flexibility in design, there are minimum requirements for the dimension and placement of fluorescent background, retroreflective or combined-­‐performance material around the torso, in the shoulder area or around the sleeves or pant legs. The ANSI 107-2020 standard also mandates balance of design, so that the front and back of a garment each has no less than 40% of the minimum required area of visible background and retroreflective or combined-­‐performance materials. The standard includes examples of a number of garment design options.

  • Does HVSA have to match the designs shown in the standard?

    No. The designs shown in the standard are examples, but other configurations will meet the minimum performance requirements of the standard.

  • Can accessories and garments be combined to meet the Performance Class Requirements?

    Class E pants or gaitors items cannot be worn alone to satisfy HVSA PPE requirements, but when worn with a Performance Class 2 or 3 garment, the ensemble classification is Performance Class 3. No other combination of HVSA changes a classification. A Type O Performance Class 1 harness worn over a shirt made of fluorescent material cannot be classified Performance Class 2. Similarly, optional accessories such as gloves, arm or leg bands or headwear that meet minimum visible material content specified in the standard cannot be counted in the minimum area of visible material of the HVSA.

  • Can a garment have a logo or identification panel?

    Logos and title panels are frequently used to identify workers wearing HVSA. ANSI/ISEA 107-­‐2020 allows the use of logos and panels, but has strict requirements for their placement so that worker identification can be accomplished without compromising the visibility requirements of the HVSA.

  • What makes ANSI/ISEA 107 HVSA flame resistant? How can I tell?

    Manufacturers have the option to have HVSA evaluated for flame resistance and labeled accordingly. The standard cites four ASTM and two NFPA standards or test methods as suitable for verifying flame resistance. To label the garment "FR" the garment must be comply to one of the 6 methods listed in the ANSI 107-2020 Standard.The ANSI/ISEA 107 label include a statement regarding the garment’s flame resistance. Garments tested using NFPA 1977 or 2112 require a separate label indicating certification to the NFPA standard. Neither ASTM D6413 as a standalone test nor NFPA 701 are recognized by ANSI/ISEA 107 as flame resistance standards for HVSA.

  • Is this standard the same as other industry standards for HVSA?

    When the ANSI/ISEA 107 standard was first developed in 1999, it incorporated many features of the European standard for high-­‐visibility apparel (EN 471), recognizing the reasoning and science behind that standard’s performance criteria. In turn, the ANSI/ISEA 107 was later used as a basis for the Canadian high-­‐visibility apparel standard (CSA Z96). While these standards are similar in performance requirements and test methods, there are differences in detail. For this reason, ISEA cannot state that HVSA meeting the ANSI/ISEA 107-2020 standard conforms to any other high-visibility apparel standard.

  • Does ANSI/ISEA 107-2020 require that HVSA be third-party certified?

    The standard requires that the applicable tests for background and retroreflective or combined performance material be conducted in a laboratory that is accredited to ISO 17025. Manufacturers verify that the garments satisfy all the requirements of the standard and complete a Declaration of Conformity. Neither third-party certification (by an ISO 17065 accredited body) nor independent laboratory testing is required in ANSI/ISEA 107-2015.

  • How can I tell if a garment meets the standard?

    HVSA that conforms to the standard must have a label that shows the type and performance class, as well as other information about the garment. In addition, manufacturers are required to complete a Declaration of Conformity for each model of garment, showing that the materials have been tested in accordance with the standard, and that the design and construction meets the standard’s requirements.

    If you have questions about whether HVSA conforms to the standard, ask for the Declaration of Conformity.

  • What are the regulatory requirements for HVSA?

    The Federal Highway Administration, in the 2009 edition of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), requires that all workers within the right-­‐of-­‐way who are exposed either to traffic or to work vehicles and construction equipment within a temporary traffic control zone must wear garments that conform to ANSI/ISEA 107, Performance Class 2 or 3 (Type R in ANSI/ISEA 107-­‐2015). This applies to emergency and incident responders and law enforcement personnel as well, although they are permitted to wear ANSI/ISEA 207-­‐compliant vests (Type P in the 2015 standard).

    Although the 2009 MUTCD referenced ANSI/ISEA 107-­‐2004, the FHWA published an official interpretation in 2010 recognizing the equivalence of ANSI/ISEA 107-­‐2010. ISEA will seek similar recognition for the 2015 edition of the standard.

    The 2009 MUTCD section on worker safety planning requires that a safety plan be in accordance with the OSHA General Duty Clause. It also requires a risk assessment to be performed by a qualified safety professional for each job site and job classification. This risk assessment should be used to determine whether Performance Class 2 or 3 HVSA is appropriate.

    In 2009, OSHA issued a letter of interpretation that it will use the General Duty Clause to require high-­‐ visibility apparel for flaggers, workers exposed to vehicle traffic near excavations, and other workers in highway/construction zones who are exposed to traffic. The letter cited the MUTCD as the authority for its enforcement.

  • What happened to ANSA/ISEA 207?

    The American National Standard for High-­‐Visibility Public Safety Vests, ANSI/ISEA 207, was developed in response to requests from the public safety sector for a standard for HVSA used by emergency and incident responders and law enforcement personnel. The standard’s requirements differed somewhat from ANSI/ISEA 107 to accommodate tactical and identification needs, recognizing that these garments were not intended for general occupational use. The requirements of that standard have been incorporated into ANSI/ISEA 107Standard as Type P, with a new Performance Class 3 to expand the types of public safety HVSA available.

    ISEA, the International Safety Equipment Association, is the trade association for personal protective equipment and technologies. Its members are leading manufacturers, suppliers, test labs and distributors, dedicated to protecting the health and safety of all workers through the development of equipment standards and the education of users on safe work practices and exposure prevention. ISEA is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) as a standards developing organization. In this role, ISEA prepares the content of the standard, manages the consensus and public review process leading to its approval, publishes approved versions, and is responsible for technical interpretations. While the standard and its revisions are drafted by ISEA member company representatives, its approval comes through a consensus vote of stakeholders representing a variety of interests including users, government agencies, test laboratories, industry experts and producers.

  • Flame resistant vs. Fire retardant - What is the difference between flame resistant clothing and fire retardant clothing?

    Flame resistant materials and clothing will not melt or drip when exposed directly to flames or extreme heat. In order to be classified as flame resistant a fabric must self-extinguish in 2 seconds or less after exposure to direct flame. The official test method to determine whether a fabric is flame resistant or not is ASTM D6413, aka the vertical flame test. Flame resistant fabrics gain their self-extinguishing properties either from the use of inherently flame resistant fibers or flame resistant treatments.

    Flame retardant materials stop or slow the process of catching fire or reduce its intensity. These fabrics or clothing can be made from any material but must be treated with a special chemical to qualify as flame retardant. Fabrics used to make this clothing are not made with non-flammable fibers.

  • What makes FR clothing flame resistant?

    Flame resistant refers to the article of FR clothing that is made to self-extinguish when the flame source is removed from the article of clothing.

    FR clothing is manufactured with fabrics that have unique properties that stop the clothing from igniting, melting or dripping when exposed to an open flame, which reduces burn injuries to its wearers.

  • How to wash FR clothing?

     Machine wash at the recommended temperature

     Dry at the recommended temperature setting

     Determine if detergent can be used when washing FR clothing

     If detergent is recommended to wash FR clothing, check what type

     Determine if your article of FR clothing can be dry cleaned

     Refer to see if your FR clothing can be ironed

     Check tag to see which colors FR clothing can be washed with

     Determine if FR clothing can or should be dried in sunlight

     Do NOT use chlorine bleach or detergents containing bleach

     Do NOT use hydrogen peroxide

     Do NOT use fabric softeners

     Tumble dry on low or hang dry when possible

     Always read tag for specific instructions before washing FR clothing or PPE

    Thumbs-Up Safety manufactures flame resistant clothing from several different types of fabrics. Each brand and fabric has specific instructions for how to care for FR clothing.

    If you have further questions on washing your flame resistant clothing, you can always ask a tech at THUMBS-UP, or reach out to a customer service representative, or a regional sales manager.

  • How do I wash my FR rain gear?

     Wash warm at a max temperature of 120F/50C

     Wash using mild detergent

     Wash separately from other garments

     Remove oil based stains using Dawn Dish Liquid (Hyrdrolite FR & Targo FR only)

     Wash using warm, soapy water and rinse with plain water (Arc H20 FR gear)

     Rinse 4 times to remove all soil and detergent residue

     Completely rinse before drying

     Always read the label and launder per instructions on the garment label

     Do NOT use bleach or chlorine

     Do NOT use hydrogen peroxide

     Do NOT use fabric softeners

  • How to dry your FR gain gear

     Do NOT dry clean

     Turn garment inside out before drying

     Tumble dry on permanent press – medium heat (Hydrolite & Targo only)

     Arc H20 – Air dry ONLY

    All of those properties are important to protect when washing your FR rain gear and following these laundering care guidelines will help you wash your FR rainwear at home safely.

    If you have further questions on washing your FR rain gear, you can always ask a tech at Thumbs-Up Safety, or reach out to a customer service representative or a regional sales manager.

  • What is arc flash PPE?

    Arc rated personal protective equipment is designed to protect wearers from burn injuries that may be caused by an arc flash. Arc flash PPE and arc-rated clothing is tested by being exposed to an arc flash and is assigned an arc-rated, or its ATPV (article thermal performance value) based on this test. Arc flash PPE is then sorted into four CAT Levels per NFPA 70E (2018), 1-through-4 with two and four being the most common. Arc flash PPE can include anything from a shirt to jackets, coveralls, and hoods.

    Arc flash PPE is meant to protect against burns caused by arc flashes. Arc rated gear won’t ignite, melt or drip and won’t contribute to additional injuries caused by the arc blast. All arc rated PPE is flame resistant, but not all FR clothing is arc-rated, which is why arc flash PPE is required to be worn when there is a risk of an arc flash and not just flame resistant clothing.

  • What is an arc flash suit?

    An arc flash suit is the last line of defense for full body protection in an arc flash incident. Full arc flash suits and kits usually include a full coat and bib overalls, an arc flash hood or faceshield as well as voltage rated gloves. Arc flash suits can vary in arc thermal performance value (ATPV), which measures the incident energy that results in a 50% probability of a 2nd degree burn. Arc rated clothing, including suits, are given ratings based on the incident energy it can protect against, which is measured in calories/cm2 or cal/cm2.

    Once arc flash suits are tested to meet standards such as NFPA 70E and CSA Z462, they are given an arc rating and sorted into PPE CAT levels from 1-to-4 based on incident energy analysis. CAT level 2 and 4 are the most common.

  • What is NFPA 70E?

    NFPA 70E is a standard created by the National Fire Protection Association that covers electrical safety requirements in the work place as safeguards to job functions that expose workers to electrical risks. Those risks include arc flash hazards, electrical shock and high-voltage hazards. NFPA 70E covers procedures to accurately assess shock protection, arc flash incident energy ratings, lockout-tagout procedures and personal protective equipment standards.

    NFPA 70E requirements for safe work practices to protect personnel by reducing exposure to major electrical hazards. Originally developed at OSHA's request, NFPA 70E helps companies and employees avoid workplace injuries and fatalities due to shock, electrocution, arc flash, and arc blast, and assists in complying with OSHA 1910 Subpart S and OSHA 1926 Subpart K.

    Thumbs-Up Safety manufactures arc flash PPE that is NFPA 70E compliant that receives arc ratings by tests specific to the type of garment: ASTM F1506 (clothing), ASTM F1891 (rainwear), ASTM F2187 (hoods) and ASTM F2672 (arc flash blankets).

  • How to wash arc flash clothing

    Arc flash clothing such as arc flash coats and bibs or coveralls should be machine washed in warm water. The temperature washed in will vary by type of garment. You should only use mild detergent when washing arc flash clothing. Always check the label of your arc flash clothing for proper laundering instructions.

     When washing arc flash clothing, you should NEVER use:

     Chlorine bleach or detergent containing bleach

     Hydrogen peroxide

     Fabric softeners or starch

     Do not line-dry in sunlight

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