Focus on Safety: VDOT Clarification on PPE and work zone drum requirements

PPE Requirements

Thanks to David Rush, Work Zone Safety Program Manager in VDOT’s Traffic Engineering Division for providing the following information.

As of September 2019, all workers and emergency responders (excluding uniformed law enforcement personnel and firefighters), media, towing and recovery personnel and others within the right of way who are either exposed to traffic or there to work vehicles and construction equipment within the TTC zone are required to wear ANSI Class 3 high visibility vests both day and night. Starting with the January 1, 2020 advertisements two new requirements take effect. 1) Flaggers and workers installing, maintaining and removing temporary traffic control devices will be required to wear Class E pants day and night. Class E pants shall be defined as full-length waistband trousers or overalls that meet all minimum requirements of the ANSI/ISEA 107-2010 publication. 2) Headwear meeting ANSI/ISEA 107-2010 standards should be worn by workers. This requires a minimum of 10 square inches of retro-reflective material on hardhats that is visible on at least three sides of hat.

The high-visibility safety apparel, both vests, and pants, are required to have a background (outer) material color of fluorescent orange-red, fluorescent yellow-green, or a combination of the two as defined in the ANSI standard. The retroreflective material shall be orange, yellow, white, silver, yellow-green, or a fluorescent version of these colors, and shall be visible at a minimum distance of 1000 feet. The retroreflective safety apparel shall be designed to clearly identify the wearer as a person.

Additionally, some PPE manufacturers are beginning to put different color flashing lights in their garments. VDOT’s requirements are – if lights are used internal and external to the high visibility apparel, they should be steady burn yellow, white, or yellow-green.  To receive additional clarification on PPE requirements or to have questions answered, speak with your company’s safety administrator or contact David Rush at

Drum Requirements

According to Rush, drums are required to be used in unmanned work zones where workers are not present to pick up and reset fallen traffic cones. Although drums are most commonly used to channelize or delineate road user flow, they may also be used alone or in groups to mark specific locations or hazards, such as equipment or drop-offs. Drums shall also be used in all merging and shifting tapers, including tapers for off-ramp gore areas on Limited Access highways during nighttime operations and in tapers providing delineation for non-crashworthy trailer mounted devices. To receive additional clarification on drum requirements or to have questions answered, speak with your company’s safety administrator or contact David Rush at