How Often Should Hi Vis Clothing Be Replaced?
How often you need to replace your uniform doesn’t necessarily depend on how long you’ve had it. How often it is used, and the standard of care it receives have a much greater impact. Modern hi-vis clothing do not come with a “shelf life” per se, and typically are instead recommended to be changed after a specific number of washes.
If you’re running a business in a heavy industry such as mining, construction,
transport, manufacturing etc - you’ve probably already put a lot of time and effort into researching the ideal uniform for your requirements. This means that from both a safety point of view and a financial one, it is always going to be beneficial
to care for the garments properly.
Such physical jobs will lead to more wear and tear than the average work, meaning more regular replacements are needed. This can be reduced by protecting and cleaning each garment in the most effective way possible.
Here are the main factors that need to be considered in order to allow you to achieve this:
How often a garment needs to be replaced will depend on the regularity and context of its use. For example, an employee who works in industrial areas where processes are ongoing and hi-vis jackets are mandated at all times, will usually need a replacement more quickly than a lorry driver who only wears the jacket when getting out of the vehicle.
The main signs of aging that should be checked for are:
● Fading of reflective tape
● Worn patches on reflective areas
● Missing glass beads
● Loss of visibility in the dark
● Rips/tears/more conventional damage
In order to maximise the lifespan of your protective clothing, your hi vis must be cleaned thoroughly when dirty and stored in a dry place to prevent build up of grime, bacteria, soil, corrosive chemicals and other damaging substances.
We have many different wash processes that we utilise by segregating lightly soiled from heavily soiled items to ensure all protective properties are maintained.
It is quite common for low cost vests to be discarded when dirty, but this can be both a significant cost to the business and very harmful to the environment. As long as it is washed correctly and hasn’t exceeded the specific limit of wash cycles, the garment and reflective strip should be cleaned very effectively and remain suitable for use.
Which Wash Cycle to Use
It is absolutely crucial that hi-vis garments are kept completely clean. This is because they are commonly used in jobs that commonly involve a build-up
of dirt, but if said dirt is allowed to build up, the reflective properties of the clothing may be reduced. This can make workers less visible at distance or in the dark, which will lead to both safety and compliance issues.
EN ISO 20471:2013 is the international standard used for hi-vis clothing, and for clothing to be compliant with it, it must come with a data sheet/information label that explains how, how often, and under what circumstances the garment should be washed, as well as other important concerns to be aware of.
Since this info may change based on brands and materials used, it is crucial to read and take the appropriate actions. It will more than likely include:
● A maximum wash temperature that must not be exceeded in order to keep the garment intact
● A minimum wash temperature that must be matched or exceeded in order to properly clean the garment
● Basic care rules such as “do not iron” or “do not tumble dry”
● In the case of sensitive items, more technical industrial instructions such as the requirement to only use industrial wash cycles
● Most importantly, a maximum number of washes that should not be exceeded
How Can phs Besafe Help?
phs Besafe is the UK’s most reliable supplier of high-vis laundry services, clothing locker services,
garment destruction and more.
We are committed to improving sustainability and social impact throughout our organisation – from new initiatives and products to ongoing work that builds on our past achievements. By using phs Besafe, organisations can make a difference to the environment and their bottom line as well as telling a good news story. It’s all about doing the right thing.
To learn more about how you can save money, help minimise environmental damage, and keep your staff safer, contact us now!