ALPHABET SOUP! THE DIFFERENCES OF OSHA, ANSI, NHTSA, and DOT
It certainly can become alphabet soup with government agency acronyms. We’ve all seen products that say “ANSI approved”, “OSHA required”, or are stamped with “DOT-C2”. So, hat are these agencies and why is it important that they regulate these things?
This is the Department of Transportation. It’s part of the executive branch of the government and oversees all transportation needs in the USA. Reflective tape on all trucks are stamped with a “DOT-C2” certification, which means that reflective tape meets the requirements of the DOT for the trucking industry. This includes size, shape, reflectivity and red-white configuration. This product is one tiny corner of an entire raft of laws that the DOT administers to keep our roads and rails safe.
This is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (yes, it’s a mouthful. You can shorten it to “NIT-suh” if you wish!), which is a subsidiary department within DOT. It mainly administers safety campaigns in regards to reflective tape on trucks throughout the United States. NHTSA published the actual requirements on December 10, 1992, stating that all trucks with a width of 80” or more with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of 10,000 pounds or more needed to have reflective tape installed. We commonly have folks asking, “What if my truck is over 80 inches wide but under 10,000 pounds? Do I still need tape for it?” It’s a grey area, but yes – install the reflective tape to stay on the safe side of liability. If you are involved in a fatal accident, believe me, the lawyers will seize on that $25 dollar length of missing tape on the rear end of your vehicle. NHTSA’s slogan is “Save lives, prevent injuries, reduce vehicle related injuries.”
This is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA is part of the Department of Labor and was created in 1970. It’s primary focus is to produce a safe working environment to help reduce the amount of work injuries that occur annually. OSHA does NOT approve any specific products, so beware of products bearing a label saying “OSHA approved”. OSHA set standards and makes legally binding requirements that those standards are met, but they are not involved with the specifications of products. Although, it can require such products to be used to create a safe environment. For instance, they ruled that glow-in-the-dark helmets could not used in place of standard retro reflective vests during nighttime work road construction crews. OHSA also has the power to cite standards that are determined by third parties such as ANSI (see below).
This is the American National Standards Institute. This is not a government agency but rather a consortium of industry leaders and technical experts that set standards on products, processes, personnel, and a general standardization of typical industry guidelines. Their reports are widely accepted and even cited by agencies such as OSHA and can be made a government requirement, although ANSI itself cannot write anything into law. For example, their publication of ANSI Z89 sets standards for industrial head protection and all hard hats should meet those recommendations. Unlike OSHA, it’s widely encouraged that products clearly state “ANSI APPROVED”.
Get Your Reflective Tape Today
Whether you drive a commercial vehicle that needs DOT-C2 Retro Reflective Tape or need Sew On Flame Resistant Reflective Tape for vests, clothing, and garments, Briargate Supply has the products necessary to help you out. Call us or get in contact with us today and we can help you with reflective tape products and clarify any government regulations you might need to meet with your vehicles!