Occupational Health & Safety/Wearing of Vest


Reflective Vest
Reflective Vest  
In the refinery industry we have Qualified Safety Monitors, Fire wacth or Fire Monitors to wacth confined spaces and welding and cutting operations. A question was asks, where in the 1910 or 1926 CFR can tell us those employees was must wear reflective vest?

Hi Norman,

This is a rather tricky one since OSHA pretty much incorporates by reference the standards on wearing high visibility vests. The 1926 standards on construction require the use of personal protective equipment according to 1926.28(a). However, OSHA specifically elaborates on their position a bit further in an interpretation letter to Mr. Dennis Bradshaw on 7-23-1984 where OSHA references the National Safety Council's "Accident Prevention Manual" and the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD).

Professionally speaking, though, high visibility (high-vis) vests are used to help drivers and equipment operators locate and avoid striking nearby workers. I wouldn't require them for a fire watch or confined space attendants or entrants unless they were working nearby a street or moving equipment, but my direction is always towards safety and practicality. Please keep in mind that an employer may exceed the OSHA regulations if they elect to do so...even when it doesn't always make sense.

A Recap...Where does it say to wear high-vis vests in the 1926 or 1910?

It's incorporated by reference in the MUTCD, generally speaking, for on and nearby road and street construction. The 1910 standards, to my knowledge, do not really address high-vis vests for fire watches, confined spaces, or hot work like welding or cutting, except where the 1926 standards would apply.

Here are some references for you:

Letter of Interpretation I mentioned:  https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=INTERPRETATIONS&p_id=19205

The 1926.28(a) citations I mentioned:  https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=10614

More information on the MUTCD:  http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/

I hope this helps.

Warmest regards,

Markus Wesaw, M.A., CSP

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