Hi-vis (high visibility) clothing has become a legal requirement in certain jobs and a recommendation in others. Full hi-vis, or even just a vest, can help prevent accidents from happening. Just as warning and safety signs should be visible for all, you would want your employees to be visible so dangerous situations can be avoided. So, let’s talk about hi-vis clothing.
Hi-vis clothing and reflective clothing
Hi-vis workwear is usually a fluorescent yellow, bright orange or green color to help the person be visible in darkness or to highlight the person against their surrounding environment. Hi-vis clothing includes vests, jackets, trousers and shirts. When choosing your hi-vis clothing you should consider the environment that it is going to be used in. Yellow typically works in most situations as very few places will have decor that color, while green is good for any industrial work with a grey environment as it will stand out, but it can blend into the surroundings on some road working projects. Orange will usually have a good range of uses, like yellow, as it is not a typical background color.
Reflective clothing differs from hi-vis as it can be any color but it utilizes reflective strips to reflect light from external sources. In this case, the clothing itself can be any colour from white to black as long as it has a substantial reflective component. Since reflective garments rely on light like car headlights or torches, they are not so suitable for visibility during the day; great to use at night, however.
Most high visibility clothing will combine hi-vis and reflective clothing, meaning they will combine block bright colors (yellow, orange or green) and reflective components to give the wearer the highest level of protection.
Classes and types of hi-vis clothing
Class 1 clothing offers the minimum high visibility protection. This will often be vests and shirts, typically worn around car parks by workers collecting shopping trolleys or in less risky work environments. Class 1 mainly goes with Type 0 hi-vis clothing.
Type 0 hi-vis
This is an off-road type situation where there may be moving equipment or vehicles that make visibility a concern. However, hi-vis clothing may not be required.
Classes 2 and 3 both suit Type R and P hi vis clothing, which are described in a bit more detail here.
Class 2 can include shirts with short or long sleeves, but these will not be required to have reflective strips on the sleeves.
Class 3 offers the highest level of visibility. It includes shirts and trousers with both hi-vis and reflective components to make sure the wearer is visible in almost any lighting conditions.
Type R Hi-Vis
Type R hi-vis is classified as working on roadways. This means workers who are exposed to roadway traffic and moving equipment and vehicles. Protective hi-vis clothing will be a requirement.
Type P Hi-Vis
This type of high visibility clothing is typically worn by people in the public safety sector like firemen, policemen, EMS and first responders.
In conclusion, a comprehensive understanding of hi-vis (high visibility) clothing is imperative for promoting workplace safety and compliance. The necessity of hi-vis attire extends beyond a mere recommendation, with certain occupations legally mandating its use to avert potential accidents. Whether opting for complete hi-vis ensembles or selecting specific items like vests, the fundamental goal remains consistent: accident prevention through enhanced visibility.
In pursuing workplace safety and adherence to regulations, the significance of hi-vis clothing cannot be overstated. Its symbiotic blend of vibrant color and reflective elements is a sentinel against potential mishaps, embodying a commitment to safeguarding lives in multifarious work settings.