Does Black High Visibility Gear Meet ANSI Safety Standards?

Choosing the right high visibility safety gear for your workers is essential. Hi-vis vests, jackets and other safety clothing help improve the visibility of your workers so that they are seen and noticed, which keeps them safe on your work site. This is especially important when work is taking place near busy roadways or moving traffic. The standard set by ANSI specifies that high visibility clothing needs to be made of a background safety yellow or safety orange or fluorescent red color. But, can black high visibility clothing be ANSI compliant as well? The following factors can determine whether black high visibility gear is ANSI compliant.

Black High Visibility Vests


As well as safety yellow, safety orange, and fluorescent red, high visibility vests can come in a range of different colors. Black high visibility vests consist of a vest made of black material, covered with retro reflective tape for high visibility when the light is shined on the vest. Black high visibility vests provide a more muted and stylish option that doesn\’t include the flare of bright fluorescent materials. However, if a hi vis vest has background material that is completely black, without the inclusion of any fluorescent material, it does not meet the standard for ANSI compliance.

ANSI Compliant Background Material Guidelines

For a high visibility vest to meet the ANSI standard it must include a background material in either fluorescent yellow-green, fluorescent orange-red, or fluorescent red. Depending on the class of ANSI compliance, the high visibility vest needs to be made up of a certain surface area of this high visibility fluorescent material. For ANSI class 1, the safety gear must include at least 217 in.² of fluorescent material. For ANSI class 2 the garment must include 775 in.² of fluorescent background material, and for ANSI class 3 the garment must incorporate 1240 in.² of fluorescent background material. Because black is not a fluorescent color that retains high visibility at long distances, it cannot make the requirements needed of background material for ANSI compliant high visibility vests.

What If I Want To Include Black As A Color In My High Visibility Vest?

Black material can certainly be one of the components used to make an ANSI compliant vest. Black High Visibility Gear can be compliant as long as the vest includes a sufficient surface area of the required fluorescent background material, the rest of the vest can be composed of black material if desired. The black material can be a great background for a screen printed custom company logo on the sleeves or lower half of your ANSI compliant vest.

Another option that is popular with policemen, firefighters, security personnel, and other first responders, is the option to have a reversible hi visibility vest or jacket. Depending on the situation, the high visibility ANSI compliant side that includes the fluorescent material can be worn, or the jacket/vest can be reversed to reveal a regular black jacket that\’s more appropriate for indoor and low-risk areas.

With creativity and innovative design, you can get an ANSI compliant high visibility vest or jacket that incorporates black material to meet the unique needs of your workplace.

Keep Reading:

Scroll to Top
Scroll to Top Skip to content