Stand Out with Hi Viz

In busy traffic areas or where light levels are poor, high visibility or Hi-Vis clothing helps wearers to be seen. In fact, in the fight against workplace injury and road safety, Hi-Vis clothing is a must.

If you’re an employer, you’re legally required to supply relevant Personal Protective Equipment. In low light areas, or where outdoor work is common, or carried out near vehicles and heavy machinery, this PPE must include Hi-Vis clothing. But what are Hi-Vis garments and how do they protect wearers?

High visibility garments come in all shapes and sizes – t-shirts, jackets, trousers and coveralls – and are worn to help workers, emergency services and road users to been seen from a distance, stand out in the dark or be identified in busy areas. By being more visible, wearers of Hi-Vis garments are more easily recognised and are less likely to be struck by a passing vehicle or moving machinery.

What Puts the Viz in Hi-Vis?

Hi-Vis clothing is brighter than other garments, acting as a warning to vehicle drivers and machinery operators to slow down and/or avoid the area, to prevent accident or injury to the wearer, but what makes them Hi Vis?

To comply with the standard EN ISO 20471 for Hi Vis clothing both reflective and fluorescent materials must be used together, and for the best results look no further than our ranges such as phs Besafe’s Bright Gear. Retro-reflective tape works by bouncing back light from a light source such as a torch or vehicle headlamps and are particularly effective for anyone working in low light conditions or at night. Fluorescent fabrics are easily seen during daylight hours. Once daylight is gone, however, the visibility is reduced and this is where the retro-reflective tape aids visibility by bouncing the light back to its source ensuring the wearer remains visible in low light environments.

In specialist garments, such as phs Besafe’s Glow Gear range, phosphorescent tape is also used in combination with the fluorescent fabric and retro-reflective tape, this is an added feature enhancing the wearers presence even if no light source is there. VizLite Dual technology allows the garment to ‘charge up’ during exposure to daylight or artificial light (in as little as 5 mins) and emit light / glow at a slower rate of up to 8 hours, even when the light source is gone – which is perfect for use in dark conditions.

These materials are combined with comfortable and breathable poly-cotton fabrics to create ranges of clothing that not only help wearers to stand out in the environment they are operating in but also the dark and allows them to carry out their day-to-day routine without hindrance. Lightweight in construction, with concertina pockets, articulated knees and elbows and zipped vents help wearers to move with ease and allow airing when required. Double stitched seams, reinforced gussets, elasticated cuffs, and a chin guard help to protect against the elements, keeping warm air in and the cold out.

Convenience comes in the form of key fobs, hammer loops, heavy-duty belt loops and even a clever watch access panel, all in all providing the wearer with a garment that aids their visibility and safety and makes them comfortable to wear, to carry out their day to day activities.

Dirt, grease and oil will reduce the effectiveness of high visibility garments so regular cleaning is necessary to maintain brightness and reflectivity. Professional laundering will also make the clothing more pleasant to wear, and demonstrates your due diligence with the PPE regulation to not only provide the PPE when new but also ensure it is cared and maintained for by protecting the protective properties of the garment and pro longing its life - making your job as a PPE enforcer an easier one.

Right Place, Right Garment

It’s impossible to calculate the number of accidents or injuries that hi-vis garments have been able to prevent, however, being hit by a moving vehicle and contact with moving machinery are two of the top reasons for fatality at work and so any and every precaution should be taken to help keep road workers and anyone who is in the vicinity of heavy machinery as visible as possible.  

Of course, not all clothing is suitable for all environments or jobs. When specifying PPE garments, much consideration must be made of the working conditions and the role of the wearer.

Construction, mining, railway or road workers often work at night or in poor light where standard hi-vis garments may be in adequate to maintain visibility all the time. In such instances, phs Besafe’s Glow Gear provides garments that can remain bright throughout the day and low light environments.

Many of our hi-vis garments are also suitable for wearing in foul weather conditions. Made from Gore-Tex for water repellence, with zip and Velcro fasteners to protect against wind chill, these items are very useful for anyone who works outdoors.

Which Hi-Vis is the Right Hi-Vis?

Every work site and job role is different, so only by risk assessing each individual situation can you be sure that workers are correctly kitted out. In doing so, you must be careful to adhere to Health and Safety legislation.

The European Standard EN ISO 20471 sets out these strict guidelines, including levels of hi-vis protection that are suited to different environments and professions:

The location, for example on site or a public road

The extent to which attention is paid to traffic  

The speed of passing traffic

The chance of an accident

A risk assessment will show which class of hi vis workwear is suitable for the work to be performed. If you would like to seek advice, please contact us via the contact form.

The protection class is determined by a minimal surface of orange, red or yellow fluorescent material, which makes wearers more visible in their hi vis workwear during the daytime. But the retro-reflective striping for night visibility should also cover a minimum surface area. Often contrast material is used for company branding, but this is not legally required.

Minimum surface reflective material (in m²) 

                                                   Class 3 Class 2  Class 1

Fluorescent material           0,8          0,5          0,14

Retro-reflective striping      0,2          0,13        0,1

The PPE regulation also sets out rules regarding the cleaning of PPE clothing so that it remains compliant and effective. To ensure that your workers are using hi-vis correctly suited to their working environment, it’s wise to get advice from a reputable provider, such as phs Besafe.

We provide nationwide coverage, offering a full range of hi-vis garments with a laundry service to not only correctly kit out your workforce but to keep them that way, ensuring that your business adheres to relevant legislation and, more importantly, keeps its valuable staff safer at work.

Any questions? Get in touch now to benefit from phs Besafe’s experience and advice on how your business and its workforce can stand out from the crowd with hi-vis garments.

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