Yes, 2009 was a memorable year. Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States, the Pittsburg Steelers won their sixth Super Bowl (sorry Dallas fans), and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) released the 2009 edition of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). Wait…..what?? Yes, you remember the latest MUTCD, right? So why would it be important to bring up this 2009 document today you might ask. You’ll find out in just a few moments. For those whose daily lives might involve wearing high visibility clothing, or making sure that others are protected by wearing the appropriate PPE, this is the perfect time to reflect on these guidelines, specifically as it relates to section 6D.03 “Worker Safety Considerations”.
When the 2009 MUTCD went into effect it became the primary regulatory document mandating the use of high-visibility apparel in the United States. So then, according to the MUTCD who should wear high visibility apparel? Section 6D.03 page 564 states that “All workers, including emergency responders, within the right-of-way who are exposed either to traffic (vehicles using the highway for purposes of travel) or to work vehicles and construction equipment within the TTC zone shall wear high-visibility safety apparel that meets the Performance Class 2 of 3 requirements of the ANSI/ISEA 107-2004 publication entitled “American National Standard for High-Visibility apparel and headwear” or equivalent revisions, and labeled as meeting the ANSI 107-2004 standard performance Class 2 or 3 risk exposure”. Wow, that was a mouthful. Basically, any worker working in the right of way of roads open to public travel. This language greatly expanded the mandatory high visibility PPE usage areas beyond just federal aid highways.
You might now ask, what is the FHWA’s definition of a worker? Glad you asked. A worker is defined on page 23, section 256 as “a person on foot whose duties place him of her within the right-of-way of a street, highway, or pathway, such as street, highway, or pathway construction and maintenance forces, survey crews, utility crews, responders to incidents within the streets, highway, or pathway right-of-way, and law enforcement personnel when directing traffic, investigating crashes, and handling lane closures, obstructed roadways, and disasters within the right-of-way of a street, highway, or pathway”. Wow, here again with all the words! At least it is made clear this time around.
Now this next statement is really what I would like for you to take note of. The FHWA has given us a compliance date of December 31st, 2011, just a few short months away. Make certain your workers are compliant, or your customers are informed. MCR Safety stocks many different Class 2 and Class 3 high-visibility garments that can ship same day. Check out our selection of high visibility apparel at www.mcrsafety.com or call your customer service representative today at 800-955-6887. If you have questions or need clarification on any section of the 2009 MUTCD, please visit the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices Home Page for contact information.