An ANSI/ISEA 107-2010-compliant garment includes a body defining two armholes and having a placket that further defines a neckhole. Male and female snap elements are arrayed in opposed relationship on the placket so as to function as fasteners holding opposing portions of the placket together when the male and female elements are joined. The body includes a front tail and a rear tail. The rear tail is cut to be longer than the front tail to lend greater rain and wind protection to the wearer. The body includes two breast pockets being first patch pockets and having first flap covers, as well as two hand warming pockets. The hand warming pockets are patch pockets oriented to receive hands with wrists aligned at an angle comfortable to the wearer and a second patch pocket has a second flap cover and overlays the hand warming pocket.

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ISEA published the first American National Standard for high-visibility safety apparel in 1999. Garments complying with ANSI/ISEA 107-1999 quickly became widely accepted as the best way to protect workers against hazards of low visibility, and to enhance the visibility of workers who are exposed to struck-by hazards. Garments complying with the standard are now required by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) for anyone working in a right-of-way or highway work zone. In Apr. 27, 2010, Sections 6D.03, 6E.02, and 7D.04 of the 2009 Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) were interpreted to require high visibility safety apparel that meets the requirements of ANSI/ISEA 107-1999 as amended. Thus, for all workers, including emergency responders, within the right-of-way who are exposed either to traffic or to work vehicles and construction equipment within a Temporary Traffic Control zone, from surveyors to adult crossing guards (collectively “workers”), must wear garments meeting the standard set out in a revised edition of the standard, ANSI/ISEA 107-2010. The failure to do so may result in the denial of funds to the contractor because of state and federal regulations based upon the standard.

Unfortunately, for the most part, the safety apparel industry has not been able to produce compliant garments that have been much more than vests that a worker might pull over the worker's regular apparel for seasonal comfort such as jackets or t-shirts. Sadly, the retro-reflective qualities of such apparel cause the fabric of the vest to be rigid and to ride over seasonal apparel in a manner to chafe at openings for the worker's neck and arms and tend to be cut to impede normal use of the underlying apparel, for example, blocking access to pockets in the seasonal apparel that underlies the vest. Because of the lack of comfort and the ability of the covering vest to ride over seasonal apparel, workers tend to shed the vest in favor of noncompliant but comfortable seasonal wear. Naturally, the lack of reflectivity the vest provides potentially has tragic results.

What is needed in the art is an ANSI/ISEA 107-2010-compliant vest which provides pockets and a tailored cut sufficiently comfortable to encourage workers to wear and thus to comply with the standard designed to impart visibility. Workers have an intense need for a garment that is both ANSI/ISEA 107-2010 compliant and sufficiently useful and comfortable that workers reach for it on their own accord. Additionally, the garment must comprise fabrics that both breath and flex while providing a suitable substrate for retro-reflective strips, such that to the extent necessary to assure worker comfort, the garment provides a multi-season sheltering shell for layered wear that works with the underlying layers in a manner that allows free movement and adequate pockets configured for optimum utility for such workers as would be exposed to traffic.


Preferred and alternative examples of the present invention are described in detail below with reference to the following drawings:

FIG. 1 is a front view photo of an inventive retro-reflective vest;

FIG. 2 is a rear view photo of the vest;

FIG. 3 is a detail photo of a breast pocket;

FIG. 4 is a detail photo of an interior pocket and a communicating grommet;

FIG. 5 is a detail photo of a shoulder pad;

FIG. 6 is a detail photo of a radio loop;

FIG. 7 is a detail photo of a double entry pocket with flannel lining (not shown);

FIG. 8 is a detail photo of a lower portion of a meshed, zippered vent in the vest;

FIG. 9 is a detail photo of an upper portion of a meshed, zippered vent in the vest;

FIG. 10 is a detail photo of double coat hook loop with a grommet to provide further redundancy for hanging the vest; and

FIG. 11 is a detail photo of a zipper connecting a yoke and a sleeve to the vest allowing rapid attachment and removal of sleeves.


FIGS. 1-11 display a retro-reflective vest 10 that is configured to be compliant with safety regulations while at the same time is versatile and multiply pocketed with specific pockets to provide worker utility. Throughout this application, the words “vest” and “garment” are used interchangeably. The vest 10 comprises a body 12 bearing retro-reflective tape 11 affixed thereto to provide ANSI/ISEA 107 compliance. This ANSI/ISEA 107 standard provides a uniform, authoritative guide for the design, performance specifications, and use of high-visibility and reflective apparel including vests, jackets, bib/jumpsuit coveralls, trousers and harnesses. Garments that meet this standard can be worn 24 hours a day to provide users with a high level of conspicuity through the use of combined fluorescent and retroreflective materials.

The body 12 is configured as a vest, having a placket 14 that defines a neckhole. The placket extends up one edge of the vest and around the neckhole extending down the other edge of the vest. Male and female snap elements are arrayed in opposed relationship so as to function as fasteners holding opposing portions of the placket 14 together when the male and female elements are joined

Storage is the number one function lacking in conventional reflective vests and yet this because any form of work requiring retro-reflectivity is often a gear-intensive labor. Big dump pockets 23 are configured behind hand warming pockets such that they can hold any of a number of hand or electronic tools such box of fasteners, a pocketknife, a flashlight, even food, rope or any other types of regularly used tools.

Inside pockets 37 are provided to protect and keep electronics warm and dry, such as a GPS or walkie-talkie. Also, as configured the diagonal slit pockets in front of the dump pockets 23 are flannel lined on the outer surface to prevent convective heat loss to the ambient when a worker inserts his hands to keep them warm and ready to handle tools. Not shown is a large trough pocket extending from in the rear from one side vent 33 to the other side vent 33 that is configured to hold such material and tools that cannot be readily carried in the dump pocket for transport such as a light tripod for a GPS/laser mapping unit.

Notable in the construction is the unique arrangement of the front tails 21 and back tails 19 relative to each other. Unlike as in most retro-reflective vests, the tails are not equally long. While the rear tail 19 is longer to provide shelter from rain or snow for the seat area of pants the worker may be wearing, the front tails 19 are intentionally shortened relative to the rear tails 19 to allow for easy access to front pants pockets and, when necessary, a front fly zipper.

Also, mesh fabric 17 lines the vest to provide a layer of insulation and to allow breathability by separating any under-worn garments from the outer skin of the vest. Mesh allows the vest to slide over other clothing and to provide ventilation within the vest for assured worker comfort. This feature is also especially useful given the current use of fleece jackets and vests. By introducing an intermediate layer of mesh, the fleece is allowed to suitably wick moisture to the interior of the vest to be dissipated by vents cut into the vest 10 shell. With the mesh interspaces presented to the fleece surface, the fleece can give up moisture in a manner that would not be possible when against an uninterrupted sheet of polyester material.

Optionally, the interior is also zippered to provide a mating surface for a zip-in fleece liner which by zippered engagement is assured to move with the vest on the worker's body and prevents possible chafing by likewise preventing the vest from running over the vest at neck or arm holes. Advantageously, fleece liners have gained great acceptance in the worker community as they can be worn during a colder part of the day, such as mornings and then zipped out as the sun warms the worksite and by doing so, the workers can regulate the insulation the vest provides for optimum comfort.

In FIG. 2, the retro-reflective tape 11 is likewise fastened to comply with the regulation. Also notable, is the coat hook loop 31, which is actually one of two coat-hook loops to allow for redundancy, as discussed below. Also visible is a meshed vent to prevent entry of precipitation while still allowing for ventilation and evaporation of sweat assuring maximum comfort. One of two side vents 33 is also visible as will be discussed below.

The breast pockets shown in FIG. 3 are notably placketed and the plackets are pierced with communicating grommets 15 to allow placement within the breast pockets of such devices as, for example, a radio with an earphone which cord can be threaded through the grommet 15 to allow the radio, roofed by the placket covering the pocket to remain dry as the earphones service the worker. Also notable in the configuration of the breast pocket is such that elastic borders the top of the pocket 35 creating the characteristic puckering of the fabric. The purpose of the elastic is to acknowledge that workers are often in some position other than perfectly erect. When bending over, the worker does not worry about any equipment sliding out of the pocket 25. Additionally, a second layer of cordura fabric is sewn to the inside to form pockets in cooperation with the breast pocket outer surface shaped to receive a pen or flashlight in taut engagement.

FIG. 4 displays an interior pocket 37 immediately behind the breast pocket 25 but on the interior of the vest. Immediately above the interior pocket is another communicating grommet to likewise allow communicating cords. Notably, the communicating grommet is affixed to the outer skin with a secondary patch to provide a more secure engagement when the grommet is pressed together in forming. In this manner, the communicating grommet is secure and engages the fabric without inherently weakening it at the grommet. Generally, electronic devices such as GPSs and two-way radios are kept in an interior pocket simply to assure that the equipment remains dry even when a worker is accessing the exterior breast pockets 25.

Also unique to the vest is the padded shoulder arrangement shown in detail in FIG. 5. Unlike padded shoulders in fashion wear such as suits and jackets, the shoulder padding 39 on the shoulders is configured to form a hooking ridge on each shoulder to allow for the transportation of equipment with shoulder slings and to do so securely without danger of the sling sliding from the shoulder inadvertently. Riding on the outer extremity of the collarbone and perpendicular to it, the shoulder pad 39 forms a ridge to stop the sling and support it along its length.

FIG. 6 depicts, among other things, a radio microphone loop 13 to engage a clip on a microphone in close proximity to the communicating grommet 15. The loop 13 is secured to the vest with both of stitching and bar tacks 41. To allow for easier access, the retro-reflective tape 11 passes beneath the loop 13 such that the difference in fabric consistency and stiffness causes the loop to open under flexure, thereby enabling easy hooking of the microphone clip.

FIG. 7 depicts the hand-warming pockets 23 which include flannel lining on the outwardly facing inner surface of the warming pocket 23. The selective lining means that the flannel does not get fouled with dirt that might be on the palm of the warmed hands, sometimes deposited by dirty tool handles or debris.

FIGS. 8 and 9 show a meshed vent at the side of the vest providing even greater breathability without sacrificing the protection from precipitation or wind that vents more centrally located might surrender. Three distinct closures work in concert to provide adjustable ventilation. Notably, webbed straps 43 are present to control the width of the vent as against such strain along the fabric as a worker may impart with movement. In some conventional vests, these sorts of “ties” are felt to be sufficient. In this embodiment, redundant straps are used to contour the vest vent along its length assuring that the vent remains uniformly shaped along its length. Additionally, however, mesh fabric is used to further control the configuration of the vent and to provide a differential between the movement of the outer and inner surfaces of the vest and thereby to allow ready access to the back trough pocket (not shown) which resides between inner and outer layers of the polyester by simply bending slightly at the worker's trunk.

A further closure, a zipper, allows the worker to access interior pockets formed in the inner skin of the vest or in a garment such as a fleece liner, within the vest. By the selective closure the zipper affords, the vent can selectively protect these pockets from intrusion by dirt or debris while allowing access to the pockets when desired.

Given the extreme conditions a worker finds in his ambient environment, it is not unusual that weight within the vest or an unintended movement could cause one of the two coat rack loops 31 to part within the expected lifespan of the vest. Rather than to cause a worker to use the vest without the very useful coat rack loop 31, the second provides redundancy. Redundant as well to the pair of coat rack loops 31, a communicating grommet 15 is used to both securely fasten the coat rack loops 31 to the vest 10, but also to allow for insertion of a loop through the grommet 15 as needed with a stop knot to secure it to the vest 10 or simply to provide the grommet 15 itself as a means of engaging a coat rack. In any regard, the useful life of the vest is in no way shortened by damage to the coat rack loops 31. Additionally, the loop 31 and the grommet 15 can each function as a hard point allowing possible securing of equipment or packs at either spot for carrying to or through a worksite.

Much of the time, weather in which workers find themselves can be changeable, especially on most construction and logging tasks, as employers are generally highly motivated to press progress on projects where the window of opportunity might be bounded by inclement weather on either temporal side. That being the case, days may include both, for example, portions having drizzle and others having bright sunshine; and temperatures might vary from the fifties to the eighties in temperature in those boundary days. As such, neither a long-sleeve nor even a half-sleeve garment is useful throughout the entire day when, at some point, the fabric of the garment is only tolerable in a sleeveless configuration to enhance ventilation as against the heat of the sun during the sunny portions of the day.

In a further embodiment of the invention (illustrated in FIG. 11), then, the vest 10 includes a zipper 33 which follows a boundary of each of a yoke 37 and a sleeve 39 which may be of either a half-sleeve or full-sleeve along an armhole 35 the yoke 37 defines. As configured, the zipper 33 is configured to be fully separable and thereby to allow attachment and detachment of the sleeves or half-sleeves as weather and comfort dictate.

While the preferred embodiment of the invention has been illustrated and described, as noted above, many changes can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.


1. An ANSI/ISEA 107-2010-compliant garment comprising:

a body defining two armholes, having a placket that further defines a neckhole and through which male and female snap elements are arrayed in opposed relationship so as to function as fasteners holding opposing portions of the placket together when the male and female elements are joined;
the body including a front tail and a rear tail, the rear tail being cut to be longer than the front tail to lend greater rain and wind protection to the wearer even as the wearer may flex;
the body includes: two breast pockets being first patch pockets and having first flap covers; two hand warming pockets, the hand warming pockets being patch pockets oriented to receive hands with wrists aligned at an angle comfortable to the wearer and each further comprising a second patch pocket having a second flap cover, the second patch pocket configured to overlay the hand warming pocket; and a trough pocket extending over the rear tail and defining two hand entry points in opposed relation such that a user can comfortably reach within the trough pocket to deposit or withdraw contents;
the body defining a front and a rear half, the front half being tethered to the rear half by straps on opposing sides, each strap located beneath a respective armhole, the straps being adjustable in length to tailor the body to a user; and
retro-reflective tape being arrayed and fixed to the body in a manner to provide compliance with ANSI/ISEA 107-2010.

2. The garment of claim 1 wherein the front and rear halves are further joined by a mesh fabric configured to admit air to the body in vents in opposed relation, each vent beneath its respective armhole.

3. The garment of claim 1, further comprising a sleeve zipper, the sleeve zipper configured to join a sleeve to the body at the armhole when the zipper is completely closed and to detach the sleeve from the body when the zipper is completely opened.

4. The garment of claim 1, wherein the first patch pockets are further configured to define at least one pen tube to cradle a pen in the first patch pockets.

5. The garment of claim 1, wherein the first flap covers define holes bounded by grommets set into the flap, the grommets being sized to admit plastic film tape whereby the first patch pockets can serve as plastic film tape dispensers.

Patent History

Publication number: 20140289929
Type: Application
Filed: Nov 1, 2013
Publication Date: Oct 2, 2014
Inventor: Matt Stansberry (Seattle, WA)
Application Number: 14/070,352


Current U.S. Class: Vests (2/102)
International Classification: A41D 1/04 (20060101);