30 Aug 16

Why Nighttime Road Construction Workers Need to Take a Shine to Hi-Vis Apparel

Hi-Vis at Night

As urban areas become increasingly crowded and congested, more road construction projects are being done at night to minimize the disruption to traffic and give workers a break from summer’s oppressive heat.

But despite the decreased traffic, nighttime road construction carries arguably more hazards and danger than daytime work. Besides the obvious darkness, drivers are more likely to be tired and/or impaired at night. Add in workers who may be less attentive due to fatigue and sleeplessness, and you have a serious hazard at hand.

The facts speak for themselves:

  • The Federal Highway Administration recorded 579 fatalities in work zone crashes in 2013 – a rate of one workzone fatality every 15 hours!
  • The National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse reported 669 motor vehicle crash fatalities in U.S. roadway work zones in 2014.
  • Multi-year studies by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and the Bureau of Labor Statistics between 1995 and 2013, found that approximately 60 percent of road construction fatalities “were the result of workers being struck by vehicles or mobile equipment.”

That’s why it’s so important for workers and anyone else who does their job near passing cars to wear bright, clean, and compliant hi-vis apparel at all times. Workers doing highway road construction are required to have either Class 2 or Class 3 high visibility protection, depending on their specific job application. This can include ANSI-compliant vests, jackets, t-shirts, pants, and more.

These different classes come with their own set of background and retroreflective material requirements for the garments to be compliant. At night, the reflective material that outlines the human form is the most important part of a hi-vis garment. A light source must be present to reflect the light off the reflective material and back to that source. In nighttime workzones, this light source is typically automobile headlights. The reflected light alerts drivers to the presence of a worker.

For more information on how workers can stay safe and compliant during nighttime road work, read our white paper on the revised hi-vis standard.