Safety Apparel: What Performance Class Types Are There?

a professional man

a professional man

Workers in dark or dim work environments and those handling various machines are at a heightened risk of facing injuries. Visibility apparel is an essential part of these work environments to alert other people of a worker’s presence and minimise injuries in your workplace. High-visibility garments primarily comprise three materials, including the background, combined-performance and retro-reflective materials.

The background material of the apparel you get from safety clothing manufacturers is a coloured fluorescent base material. The retro-reflective material is a band that reflects light while the combined-performance materials are a combination of the fluorescent and retro-reflective materials. The height depends on the set minimum requirements in relation to your background material.

High-visibility garments are grouped into the following performance classes.

Performance Class 1

Garments grouped as performance class 1 offer the minimum visibility amount. They differentiate wearers in non-complex work environments. They have a background material of a minimum 217 inches. The combined retro-reflective and background material size is 155 inches while the combined-performance material size is 310 inches. Performance class 1 safety clothing is used by workers in off-road environments.

Performance Class 2

Garments in this class offer more visibility for wearers compared to those in performance class 1 since they have more torso coverage. They have a 755-inch background material height and a combined-performance and retro-reflective material size of 201 inches. Workers in TTC zones and low-speed roadways and those working between physical barriers and traffic use performance class 2 garments.

Performance Class 3

Apparel in this class also includes trousers and sleeves other than a visibility vest. The background material in performance class 3 garments is 1,240 inches while the combined-performance and retro-reflective materials measure 310 inches. Performance class 3 garments are used in urban areas, high-speed roadways and high-crash areas, and when there is no physical traffic barrier.

Performance Class E

Garments in performance class E take the form of shorts or waistband trousers and can only be used with garments in performance classes 2 or 3. When worn along with performance class 3 or 2 garments, the ensemble is considered a class 3 safety ensemble. The background material for performance class E garments is 465 inches, and the combined-performance and retro-reflective materials measure 108 inches.

a policeman

Public Safety Apparel

This class of safety clothing is used by law enforcement, emergency medical service and fire service personnel who work near roads. Safety clothing in this class feature access to belt-mounted appliances and can tear away from a wearer’s shoulders in case the person is stuck. It also features panels, pockets and public safety official identification tags along with different colours. Red is designed for fire service personnel, green for EMS and blue for those in law enforcement.

Other than picking the right performance class for your employees from the above, you should ensure you get the right colour. Your choice apparel colour should contrast with your work environment to ensure the wearer stands out. You should also consider changing weather patterns and ensure the colour remains visible in rainy and clear weather conditions.