Do Black Hi-Vis Vests Meet ANSI Safety Standards?

ANSI compliant, Hi Vis -

Do Black Hi-Vis Vests Meet ANSI Safety Standards?

If you’re a construction worker or work in other areas where your surroundings can pose a risk to your physical health, high-visibility gear is crucial. These include vests and other types of clothing that have reflective material that enable people to see you more easily.

Employers must also ensure that their crew members wear appropriate reflective gear to prevent injury at the work site. If you run a construction company or any company that requires such gear, you must comply with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) guidelines. With that said, employers may be concerned if black hi-vis vests comply with ANSI requirements.

Failure to abide by the ANSI’s rules could result in severe penalties. This article explains whether a black high-visibility vest meets the standards set by the ANSI. Read on and learn more.

Black Hi-Vis Vests – What You Need to Know

High visibility clothing can come in various colors. While orange, yellow, and fluorescent red are among the most common, they can also include black. Some vests include sections of black, or the entire vest can be black fabric, with strips of retro-reflective tape on the vest. The reflective tape shines brightly whenever light shines upon it, allowing people to see that there is a person present, even in dark areas.

In some cases, black high-visibility vests can also have mostly black fabric in the front and fluorescent material at the back. This way, they meet ANSI standards for the required reflective surface area.

Why People Use Black Hi-Vis Vests

There are a few reasons why black hi-vis vests are considered over brighter colored ones. Here are some of them.

They Offer Subtle Design

One of the primary benefits that black vests have over other high-visibility ones is that they are more subtle. They can be worn in various areas and still be visible to others. For example, they can be great for ushers at a formal party. So, they still offer great functionality without the flared-up appearance of other brighter-colored hi-vis clothing. The Black Bottom Architect Series Safety Reflective Vest, for example, offers a great balance between form and functionality.

They Do Not Get Dirty As Easily

Another reason why black hi-vis vests are considered is that they do not get dirty easily. So, dark colors and even camouflage patterns can make it harder for dirt and dust to be visible on the vest. This characteristic can be useful for workers who work in management positions on construction sites, as they may have to go to dusty areas every now and then.

One such hi-vis camo vest is the Mossy Oak/ High-Visibility Safety Vest. It’s great for going hunting as you can be visible to other parties and not worry about dirtying your safety gear too much after wandering through the brush.

They Can Offer Great Opportunities for Branding

As an employer/business owner, you can also use your team’s safety vests as an opportunity for branding. Black hi-vis vests offer the best background for printing your company’s name and logo onto it. The neutral background ensures the logo is clearly visible. This form of marketing is great as it can help improve brand awareness whenever your team members interact with people outside of the company.

Black Hi-Vis Vests and ANSI

A black high-vis vest can meet ANSI standards. However, there must be certain attributes that allow it to be qualified as ANSI high visibility work clothing. A black hi-vis vest can be ANSI approved if the black material includes some background material in fluorescent red, fluorescent orange-red, or fluorescent yellow-green.

Different ANSI Classes and Their Respective Requirements

There are different classes of the ANSI. Each has requirements for the amount of fluorescent material on the vest. So, it helps to know which class your line of work must comply with before you purchase safety, high-visibility gear for yourself or your team.

Here are the classes and their respective requirements.

  • ANSI Class 1 requires the least amount of fluorescent material. Therefore, any type of hi-vis gear in this class must have at least 217 square inches of fluorescent material
  • ANSI Class 2 requires a moderate amount of fluorescent material. Therefore, any type of hi-vis gear in this class must have at least 775 square inches of fluorescent material
  • ANSI Class 3 requires the most amount of fluorescent material. Therefore, any type of hi-vis gear in this class must have at least 1240 square inches of fluorescent material

The respective surface areas of fluorescent materials allow people to see those wearing black hi-vis vests from great distances. Of course, the amount of square inches for Class 1 is the least while the amount for Class 3 is the greatest.

Can You Use Black Materials in Hi-Vis Vests?

As explained above, you can add black materials or fabrics of other dark colors as long as there is an adequate amount of fluorescent material on it. If your black high-vis vest has some fluorescent material but is not at least enough to make Class 1, it will not comply with ANSI. 

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