How to securely and safely dispose of hi vis workwear

orange high visibility workwear on coat hanger hanging in a line

Hi-visibility workwear plays a valuable part in keeping your employees safe while doing their job. However, it has a limited lifespan before its hi-vis properties begin to reduce and it is no longer fit for purpose. At this point, what do you with your old hi vis?

Here is phs Besafe’s guide to secure and safe hi-vis disposal:

What are the properties of hi-vis workwear?

High-vis enables workers to be visible in low light environments, keeping them safe at work. The type of hi-vis garment required is completely dependent on the conditions you’re working in and the job you’re doing, ranging from short and long-sleeve polo shirts and jackets to trousers and full-body coveralls. The bright colours of high-vis means workers will stand out during the daytime while retroreflective material, such as reflective strips, makes the wearer visible in darker environments when a light is shone in their direction

What standards do hi-vis garments need to meet?

The new British standard for hi-vis is BS EN ISO 20471. The first measure is how conspicuous the item is, measured from Class 1 to 3 – Class 3 being the highest. The second measure is that of retroreflection against headlights in the dark; rated as Class 1 and Class 2, the latter being the highest.

How long does hi-vis clothing last?

There is not a defined period of time a hi-vis garment will last, it depends on its condition. As a rule of thumb, a hi-vis garment will last for around 25 washes. However, high-quality hi-vis garments can last a lot longer. For instance, the range of quality Bright Gear workwear from phs Besafe withstands up to 50 individual washes – double the industry standard. This is helped by our unique laundering service which removes stains while being gentle enough to preserve high visibility and waterproof properties, extending the lifespan of your garments. During this process, each garment is also carefully inspected and repaired when needed so you can be assured that your workwear is performing to the standards expected.


When do I need to replace hi-vis?

High-vis workwear needs to be replaced when it’s no longer compliant. After this time, it will not only fail to meet regulations, its properties will no longer be effective meaning you could be putting your staff at risk. Once hi-vis garments have been washed too many times – around 25 washes or up to 50 wash cycles for phs’ Bright Gear range – it’s time to replace them.

However, garments will need replacing earlier if they lose their high-visibility properties or are damaged beyond repair.

How can I securely dispose of hi-vis workwear?

If you place your hi-vis into your workplace waste stream, it’s likely it will be sent to landfill. If it’s branded, there is a security risk that the item could fall into the wrong hands and be used fraudulently which could damage your business’ reputation. And if the wearer has come into contact with chemicals, you risk spreading contamination.

Utilising a specialist shredding service is the safest and most secure way to dispose of your hi-vis workwear and will divert the waste from landfill to be recycled, reducing your carbon footprint[LW1] [RP2] .

How does a uniform destruction service work?

Using a specialist company, such as phs Besafe, makes disposing workwear quick, easy and secure. Using our uniform destruction service, you simply need to place any contaminated or non-compliant garments into a soiled garment bag (provided) and attach a red tag. This will be collected directly from your site and taken to be securely shredded. If these items are hired or purchased from phs Besafe, they will be removed from our database while the bags will be returned to your premises.

For more information on phs Besafe’s uniform destruction service or on its workwear range and industry laundry services, get in touch today. Call 0330 5884100 or email

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