Two construction workers in HiVis lime jackets and orange helmets working on the construction of a house. One man directs the other, who’s driving a forklift.


A jobsite is one place you’ll want to stand out from the crowd to stay safe and avoid accidents. But if this is your first time buying HiVis, you might wonder why high-visibility is important and how to decide what HiVis gear you need when there are so many options.

Here are the three things you need to know before buying HiVis workwear:

1. High-Visibility Workwear Protects You from Vehicle Traffic

Generally, you need HiVis clothing anytime you’re working around vehicle traffic. That can mean cars on a highway, forklifts and pallet jacks in a warehouse, or airplanes and baggage trains on a runway. The actual OSHA requirements on HiVis clothing are different depending on where, when and how you’re working.

2. High-Visibility Gear Isn’t Just for Construction

According to OSHA standards, all road construction workers need to wear green, yellow or red HiVis clothing. Which class of HiVis clothing they need depends on which specific job they’re doing and how exposed they are to traffic.

If you’re not doing road construction, HiVis vests might not be legally required. But that doesn’t mean they’re not a good idea! Lots of other industries can benefit from HiVis vests to reduce accidents and promote safety:

  • Residential and commercial construction workers
  • Airport runway workers like baggage handlers and flaggers
  • Warehouse workers and forklift drivers
  • Utility workers
  • Land survey crews
  • Tow truck operators and other roadside assistance workers
  • Arborists and other forestry workers
  • Emergency workers who might need to be visible in a smoke-filled environment

3. There Are 3 Main Classes of HiVis Gear

There are three main ANSI classes of high-visibility gear to choose from. They’re classified based on how much visibility they give to the workers wearing them. Many emergency workers also wear special “Class E” clothing that’s designed to be visible in smoke or other disaster conditions. For less dangerous environments, there’s also “Enhanced Visibility” clothing that’s not ANSI rated but gives you some extra visibility.


Offers a bit of extra visibility in situations where vehicles don’t go over 25 mph. Class 1 gear is used by non-highway workers like parking attendants and warehouse workers.


Offers significant extra visibility for highway workers who are separated from traffic (like mowers, sign installers and surveyors). You’ll also find Class 2 HiVis gear on crossing guards and airport baggage handlers.


Offers maximum extra visibility for road crews who work directly next to traffic moving over 50 mph, particularly ones who work at night, as well as railroad workers and accident investigators. Class 3 garments must be long-sleeved and have the strictest manufacturing standards.

Make sure you check a garment’s ANSI level before you buy to make sure you’re getting what you need for your job.

A man working in construction wearing a HiVis lime jacket, HiVis orange gloves and a safety helmet stands on scaffolding and looks into the distance.

HiVis gear may be optional at your job, but staying safe and getting home to your family is required. When you need to stand out to stay safe, there’s no substitute for HiVis workwear from RefrigiWear®.