California Professional Firefighters

High Visibility Apparel Exemption

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has issued an Interim Final Rule to address safety concerns raised by the firefighting community regarding high-visibility safety apparel.

The Interim Final Rule:

• Revises the definition of "worker" to exclude firefighters when they are exposed to flame, fire, high heat or hazardous materials

• Exempts firefighters from the requirement to use high-visibility safety apparel, when the use of such apparel may increase the risk of injury to firefighter personnel

The rule is effective as of November 24, 2008. This amends the Worker Visibility rule (23CFR 634), which was designed to improve the safety of workers by providing increased visibility to approaching motorists and construction traffic.

"Firefighters across the country spoke out and were heard," said Lou Paulson, President of California Professional Firefighters. "The firefighter's job is dangerous enough without adding the risks that these high-visibility garments pose. Common sense has prevailed."

Click here to read this Interim Final Rule.