A Human without skin would be vulnerable to infection and injury, safety vests are a construction crew’s second skin. These dayglow orange habiliments are a weapon against a road construction crew’s worst enemy: invisibility. Invisibility may be an incredible superpower, but it’s a road construction crew’s arch-nemesis, like Superman and Kryptonite.

Construction crews often apply their trade along busy highways, in the cloak of darkness. This shift towards working overnight was implemented to ease congestion along well-traversed thoroughfares. Although this is frowned upon by several safety organizations such as the Federal Highway Administration (FWHA), currently, it’s the work environment construction crews are subjected to.

Due to working in the cloak of darkness, safety vests are essential for the wellbeing of construction crews and motorists alike. A recent study noted that a road construction zone accident occurs every 5.4 minutes – there would be many more of these accidents if crew members didn’t wear hi vis safety vests. Safety vests utilize a technology called retroflection. Retroflection, unlike a mirror which reflects light in all directions, returns light emitted from a car’s headlights directly back to the driver, allowing the crew member to glow like Uranium.

Construction crews must wear High Visibility Personal Protection Equipment (HV-PPE) while on site. Not merely because The Manual on Knifed Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) and The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) strongly suggest it, but because HV-PPE allows for visibility. Moreover, there’s an ongoing battle between the FHWA, MUTCD, OSHA and the court system on whether or not citations may be issued for those who don’t don HV-PPE, it’s a battle of semantics and hinges on words such as “shall” and “must,” however, those who don’t don HV-PPE are at a greater risk of fatal injury.

Regardless whether it’s written as law or not, wearing safety vests saves lives. Those who refuse to wear one while on-site are at risk of fatal injury.