June 16, 2015
Q: My employees occasionally work along public highways and want to wear T-shirts this summer when the weather is hot. Do blue T-shirts with green retroreflective stripes meet Oregon OSHA's requirements for high-visibility apparel?
A: As you know, workers exposed to traffic on streets and highways and in construction zones must wear highly visible upper-body garments. Oregon OSHA rules require that the color of the garment must contrast with other colors in the area sufficiently to make the worker stand out. Colors equivalent to strong red, strong orange, strong yellow, strong yellow-green or fluorescent versions of these colors are examples. Blue T-shirts with green retroreflective stripes that have a surface area of at least 217 square inches would also be acceptable under many conditions; depending on the time of year and the work environment, blue may actually be more visible than strong orange. High-visibility apparel must also reflect from all sides for 1,000 feet, during hours of darkness.
Clarification: This article does not apply to flaggers, to other workers who are required to control traffic, or to workers who are doing road work under contract with the Oregon Department of Transportation. Those workers must follow the requirements in The American National Standard for High-Visibility Safety Apparel and Headwear, (ANSI/ISEA 107-2010). For more information, see Oregon OSHA's fact sheet, High-visibility safety apparel - unraveled.
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