The Complete Guide: Difference Between Class 1, 2 And 3 Safety Vest

When working on or near a roadway, it is important to wear the proper safety gear to ensure you are visible to drivers. One piece of safety gear that is often required is a safety vest. There are three different classifications of safety vests, each with its requirements. We are a professional manufacturer of custom reflective vests, so we know it very well. In this blog, we will talk about three different classes of reflective vests and clarify their differences.
Difference Between Class 1, 2, 3 Vest

Three Types Of Safety Vest

A safety vest is essential safety equipment that can protect you from serious injury. There are three classes of safety vests, each with its level of protection.

Class 1 Safety Vest

Class 1 safety vests, also known as public safety vests, meet federal requirements for high-visibility apparel. They are meant to be worn in low-risk vehicular traffic environments, such as construction zones and road maintenance.

These vests have retro-reflective material that makes them visible from a distance, usually at least 900 feet. In addition, they often have pockets for storing tools and reflective strips for added visibility in dim lighting.

Suitable for workers in class 1 safety vest

  • Parking lot booth attendants
  • Mineworkers
  • Oil, gas, extraction, and refinery workers
  • Warehouse workers
  • Individuals retrieving shopping carts in parking lots

Class 2 Safety Vest

Class 2 safety vests are a specific type of vest that meets the standards set forth by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). These vests must have background material and retro-reflective stripes that cover at least 775 inches of the vest.

Class 2 vests are typically used in environments where workers may be exposed to traffic traveling over 25 miles per hour. In addition to its high visibility features, a Class 2 safety vest may also have pockets for storing small equipment or reflective tape for added visibility.

Whether on a construction site or standing along the side of a busy road, wearing a Class 2 safety vest can help ensure your safety and the safety of those around you.

Suitable for workers in class 1 safety vest

  • School crossing guards
  • Public transit workers/railway workers
  • Toll operators
  • Road construction under 50mph
  • Airport tarmac workers
  • Surveyors

Class 3 Safety Vest

Class 3 safety vests are high-visibility clothing designed for workers in environments with high vehicle traffic.

These vests must meet specific ANSI standards, including having at least 310 square inches of reflective material and meeting certain requirements for visibility from particular distances.

Class 3 vests are often used by crossing guards, construction workers, and survey crews. In addition to protecting workers from vehicles, they also have features such as pockets for tools or radios and can even have flame-resistant properties.

While class 2 vests may be sufficient in some situations, class 3 vests provide the highest level of visibility. They should be used in any setting where increased attention to safety is necessary.

Suitable for workers in class 1 safety vest

  • Tow truck operators
  • Incident site investigators
  • Road construction workers (50mph+)
  • Roadside assistance
  • Utility workers

Difference Between Class 1, 2, And 3 Safety Vest

Class 1 vs. class 2 vs. class 3 safety Vest

Traffic Intensity

Each type is designed for a different level of traffic intensity.

Class 1 vests have the least amount of reflectivity and are suitable for low-traffic areas such as pedestrian walkways or bicycle paths.

Class 2 vests have more reflectivity and are intended for medium-traffic areas such as construction zones or airport runways.

And finally, class 3 vests have the highest level of reflectivity and are meant for high-intensity traffic areas like highways or busy intersections.

So if you’re working in a busy road construction zone, it’s important to wear a class 2 or class 3 vest to ensure maximum visibility to passing vehicles.

Width Of Reflective Tapes

Class 1 should have at least 155 square inches of the reflective strip.

And class 2 should have less than 201 square inches of reflective (reflective or integrated performance material) stripes.

Class 3 has at least 310 square inches of reflective stripes.

Placement And Color Of Reflective Tapes

The class 1 vest’s reflective stripe should be in the middle of the 360 stripes and above each shoulder.

The class 2 vest, these vests come in bright yellow or orange. Also, its reflective stripes should be located in the shoulder and middle, with one or two 360 horizontal stripes.

For the class 3 vest, in many cases, these vests have sleeves. And the highest requirements for this kind of reflective vest. It needs to have a full profile. Headlights approaching a worker should make plain that this is a person.

So, that means that the reflective material on its arms and legs far exceeds the standard of level 1 and level 2 safety vests.

How To Choose The Right Safety Vest?

For this issue, we have already described in detail in the previous article how to choose the right reflective vest.

There are a few things to consider when choosing a safety vest. The first is the type of activity you will be doing while wearing the vest.

You will need a reflective vest if you work in low-light conditions or at night. For daytime activities, you can choose a not reflective vest but still brightly colored.

Another thing to consider is the climate. If you live in a very hot area, you will want to choose a safety vest made from breathable fabric.

Conclusion: The Importance Of Wearing The Right Safety Vest

In conclusion, class 1, 2, and 3 safety vests provide different levels of protection. Class 1 vests are the least visible and offer the least protection, while class 3 vests are the most visible and offer the most protection.

When deciding which type of vest to wear, you should consider the risks involved in your work environment.

Hopefully, this article will help you to have a deeper understanding of different levels of reflective vests. If you need a custom reflective vest or workwear, please contact us.


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