Any roadway worker with half a brain knows to don high-visibility safety clothing before setting foot onto the jobsite. Now, with a new federal rule in place, use of neon-bright vests and the like will increase.

The federal rule's text states that “All workers within the right of way of a federal-aid highway who are exposed to traffic...or to construction equipment within the work area shall wear high-visibility safety apparel.” It defines workers as “people on foot whose duties place them within the right of way of a federal-aid highway, such as highway construction and maintenance forces, survey crews, utility crews, responders to incidents within the highway 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 federal-aid highway.” In other words, just about any employee walking around a highway jobsite.

No matter what your staffers are doing on the road, safety gear is a must. In addition to the usual suspects (road construction crews, law enforcement personnel, utility workers, and the like), the rule also applies to volunteers in roadside trash pickup events like those in Adopt-A-Highway programs.

The bottom line: consider investing in more high-visibility vests, so that whoever's working on your federally funded roads, you're covered.

Safety vests

Keeta Class 2 safety vests, designed for temporary workers and high-dirt environments, are made of polyester, non-woven fabric. Each comes with large armholes and adjustable sides to accommodate the wearer's size and allow for outerwear, and each can be washed up to five times. Choose from lime and orange colors. Lakeland Industries Inc.

High-visibility rain suit

This polyurethane rain suit—compliant with Class III and ANSI 1007-2004 standards—consists of a jacket and pants in high-visibility yellow, with navy and 3M silver reflective tape trim. The waterproof, windproof outfit is thermally insulated, lightweight, and has a removable hood. OccuNomix International.

High-comfort hardhat

The company has enhanced its Classic line of hardhats with greater weather protection and user comfort. The new suspension with easy-lock snaps makes it easy to wear, and the improved ratchet design provides easy grip and access for adjusting height without needing to remove the suspension. Also, the replaceable brow pad is wider and longer for added wearer comfort. E.D. Bullard Co.

Hydration backpack

Drink hydration packs can hold enough water for three hours of work, enabling onsite laborers to avoid heat stress. Plus, the Guardian pack comes in high-visibility colors, including 3M Scotchlite reflective stripes for night work. The heavy-duty reservoir is constructed of anti-microbial material to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and fungus. Other features include a bite valve cover that protects the contents from contamination and breakaway shoulder straps. When filled, each pack weighs 7 lbs. True North LLC.

Puncture-resistant gloves

X-Factor 734WP work gloves are made of abrasion- and puncture-resistant Keprotec and Kevlar materials. The gloves have synthetic leather on the fingers, thumb, and palm. Other features include a breathable, waterproof liner; padded knuckles; PVC fingertip grips; and palm padding. Sizes range from small to 2XL. Ergodyne.

NFL eyewear

The company offers a line of safety glasses that feature logos of National Football League teams on the earpiece. The glasses are made with anti-fog, scratch-resistant lenses (either clear or gray), and they meet or exceed ANSI Z87.1 requirements. MSA–Mine Safety Appliances.