Fun, funky, fashionable … not words we normally associate with highway construction and maintenance. Come Nov. 24, though, anyone who works along the 975,000 miles of federally funded roads and rights-of-way will be decked out in colors we're more accustomed to seeing on the teenage models in Old Navy ads: lime green and bright orange.
On that date, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) will begin requiring anyone who works within the roads' rights-of-way to wear high-visibility reflective clothing in one of those two colors. The gear must comply with the ANSI/ISEA 107-2004 standard for protective apparel.
That standard specifies not only color but also the type of material, the size and placement of reflective markings, and how and when the protective gear must be used. Many industries and jobs will be subject to the high-visibility apparel rule for the first time, cautions Melissa Johnson, category manager for personal protective apparel at Carhartt Inc., an industrial clothing manufacturer. These include commercial truck drivers stopped at the side of a road, tow truck operators, emergency responders, and Adopt-a-Highway volunteers, to name just a few.
"Employers need to start educating themselves and their workers now to make sure that they're ready come November when this regulation goes into effect," Johnson said in a press release. "There's much more to this than just buying everybody in the company a green vest with reflective taping."