By the end of 2008, all workers within rights-of-way of federal-aid highways who are exposed to traffic or construction equipment in the work area will have to wear high-visibility safety apparel, according to a new rule published by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).
The FHWA published the final rule — 23 CFR Part 634 Worker Visibility — on Nov. 24, 2006, commencing a two-year phase-in period.
“The FHWA identifies high-visibility safety apparel as personal protective apparel intended to provide conspicuity during both day and night, in all lighting conditions and that meets Performance Class 2 or 3 of the ANSI/ISEA 107-2004 American National Standard for High-Visibility Safety Apparel and Headwear,” said Janice Comer Bradley, technical director of the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA), which publishes the standard. “FHWA chose Class 2 as a minimum, but encourages states to use Class 3 garments in higher risk situations.”
The final rule defines workers as “people on foot whose duties place them within the right-of-way of a Federal-aid highway, such as highway construction and maintenance forces, survey crews, utility crews, responders to incidents within the highway right-of-way, and law enforcement personnel when directing traffic, investigating crashes, and handling lane closures, obstructed roadways, and disasters within the right-of-way of a Federal-aid highway.”
In issuing the final rule, the FHWA emphasized that the requirement applies to all workers, whether paid or volunteer. For example, Adopt-A-Highway volunteers are exposed to traffic while doing cleanup duties within the right-of-way and should be afforded the same measure of safety as other workers, according to the FHWA. In addition, the FHWA noted that the rule applies to all rights-of-way on federal-aid highways, not just work zones.
For more information, call 703/525-1695 or visit www.safetyequipment.org.