OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at https://www.osha.gov.

March 11, 2002

Mr. Stanley Moore
C-3, Competent Person for Deleading
  of Industrial Structures
339 South Fourth St., APT. 1A
Brooklyn, New York 11211

Re: Reflective safety vests; 1926.201

Dear Mr. Moore:

This is in response to your August 8, 2001 memorandum addressed to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Office of Construction Standards and Compliance Assistance. We apologize for the delay in responding to your request.

You ask for guidance regarding flaggers using reflective safety vests. We have paraphrased your questions as follows: 1) what type of vest is required; 2) must it be either red or orange; 3) does the reflective strip need to be placed a certain way; and 4) what type of vest fasteners are required?


OSHA construction standard Subpart G, 29 CFR 1926.201, titled Signaling, states:

Flagmen shall be provided with and shall wear a red or orange warning garment while flagging. Warning garments worn at night shall be of reflectorized material.

This standard is based on a 1971 industry consensus standard -- the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) D6.1-1-1971. Although the OSHA standard has not yet been updated, the ANSI consensus standard has been updated. The most recent version is the "Millennium Edition" of the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) (it can be viewed on the Department of Transportation's website at: http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/. In that version, employers have the choice of using a variety of reflectorized colors for these vests. Section 6E-3 (High Visibility Clothing) states in part:

For daytime work, the flagger's vest, shirt, or jacket shall be orange, yellow, strong yellow green or fluorescent versions of these colors. For nighttime work, similar outside garments shall be retro reflective. The retro reflective material shall be orange, yellow, white, silver, strong yellow-green, or a fluorescent version of one of these colors and shall be visible at a minimum distance of 1,000 feet.



Employers who comply with the Millennium Edition (or any of the other updated versions of the 1971 standard) will be considered to be in compliance with the OSHA requirement until such time that OSHA formally updates §1926.201.1

Other requirements

The OSHA standard does not specify that the garment must be a vest, the type of reflective strip or fasteners that should be used.

Lastly, you ask if job site visitors must wear a reflective vest and a hardhat. The answer would depend on whether the visitors were employees engaged in construction. We would need more information on why the visitors were on the site in order to answer this question.

If you need additional information, please do not hesitate to contact us by fax at: U.S. Department of Labor, OSHA, Directorate of Construction, [Office of Construction Standards and Guidance], fax # 202-693-1689. You can also contact us by mail at the above office, Room N3468, 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20210, although there will be a delay in our receiving correspondence by mail.


Russell B. Swanson, Director
Directorate of Construction



1[On September 12, 2002 OSHA published the revised standard in the Federal Register at 67:57722-57736.] [back to text]