Choosing a Reflective Safety Vest

When choosing a reflective safety vest for your fire department or police force, you’ll ideally abide by the OSHA or ANSI guidelines to ensure that you are choosing what has been deemed appropriate from these institutions, which have been gathering data for decades in order to make the very best recommendations in safety.


That said, however, local details may play a factor as well. Once you’ve selected a brand or model that you feel confident about, there will likely be some choices to make in regard to color, pockets, and other details that do not necessarily impact the level of safety inherent in the garment, but may make a significant difference in action. According to the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, there are other factors to consider for your reflective safety vest decisions.


First, first responders, such as fire, police, and medics, will want to get the ANSI/ISEA 207-2006 models which have been vetted for additional performance and functionality criteria suitable for this type of personnel.


Second, you’ll have to choose a color. Even though you know that the reflective safety vest should be a fluorescent color with the appropriate strips, you should also consider distinguishing personnel from other scene-related items, such as cones, traffic barrels, vehicles, and more. For instance, if your cones are orange and the vehicles are yellow, you may want people in green.


Additionally, consider the environment. Green, as indicated in the above example, will work well in an urban setting with a lot of orange devices, while an orange reflective safety vest may be the best choice for more rural or wooded settings. Weather is another factor; perhaps having pants or jackets on hand for seasonal use in the same colors will be essential, depending on your location. You’ll want to be prepared for anything—wind, rain, snow, fog, and any other environmental distractions that may come into play.


Choosing the right reflective safety vest is vital to the protection of our public safety workers and visualizing all possible scenarios is a critical part of the selection process. More information can be found through local transportation departments and on the OSHA and ANSI websites.