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Canadian and US High Visibility Clothing Standards : Key Similarities and Differences

CSA Z96: High-visibility safety apparel

ANSI 107: American National Standard for High-Visibility Safety Apparel and Accessories

ANSI 107 and CSA Z96 are the two standards for high visibility clothing that are used in North America. ANSI 107 is used in the United States, and CSA Z96 is the Canadian high visibility standard used across the country and included in several provincial regulations. Both are typically regarded as best practice for worker safety in their respective countries.

There is substantial overlap between the two standards, and both serve the same purpose: to make workers more visible against often complex backgrounds so they can be more easily seen, particularly by vehicle operators, thereby reducing the risk of injury.

For performance requirements of retroreflective/combined-performance trim and background materials, the CSA and ANSI standards have nearly-identical requirements.

The major differences between the two standards are how they identify their classes and types, and the tape configurations required for compliant garments.

ANSI 107 designates three basic types of use: off-road (Type O), roadway (Type R), and public safety (Type P). These types of use also fall into performance classes:

  • Performance Class 1 is for Type O garments only, and covers non-complex work environments with slow-moving vehicles.
  • Performance Class 2 can apply to Type R or P clothing. It is the minimum requirement for roadway and traffic control work, and offers flexibility on placement of reflective trim.
  • Performance Class 3 also applies to Type R or P clothing. It offers the most visibility and is recommended for use in complex backgrounds. It includes mandatory placement of reflective trim and does not include sleeveless garments.
  • Class E is a supplemental class of high visibility clothing that can be used to supplement Class 2 & 3 garments. This class includes items such as pants, bib overalls, shorts and gaiters, which cannot be worn on their own as high visibility garments.

In the CSA standard, apparel classes are defined by the amount of body coverage. Class 1 is the lowest amount of coverage, requiring only the CSA harness configuration; Class 2 is a medium amount of coverage, essentially the equivalent of a vest, and Class 3 is the highest amount of coverage, which is the same as Class 2, plus the addition of retroreflective or combined-performance arm and leg bands.

For the Canadian standard, Types are based on the measured performance of the retroreflective or combined-performance trim. Level FR allows for a narrower-width trim and the lowest required retroreflectivity, and also requires that the trim be flame-resistant. Level 1 and 2 require retroreflective trim to be at least 2” wide; Level 2 has higher performance requirements than Level 1.

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