What is Hi Vis Clothing and Why is it So Important?

Construction and other workers require PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) which includes clothes that protect you. Protective clothing should be visible when working in low light conditions. Workers are required to wear hi vis shirts to appear more noticeable on high-risk job sites.

Bright clothing is essential if you want workers and other people to see you when you’re working at night. This is especially important when working on roads with high traffic or where visibility is poor.

In today’s article, we are going to explore everything you need to know about high visibility clothing.

Hi Vis Clothing Defined

The most common type of hi vis clothing is vests, but there are also hi vis jackets, pants, shirts and coveralls available. Hi vis clothing should be:

  • Bright and easy to see: The clothing is treated with special pigments that are brighter than normal colours. The pigments reflect ultraviolet light from the sun. Using fluorescent colours helps the sunlight reflect easily in cloudy and rainy conditions and can be seen in the dark.
  • Reflective strips: To add to visibility, reflective strips are added to clothing. These strips reflect the light so they are highly effective for working at night or in low light conditions

Most safety clothing has a combination of these components to enhance visibility.

The Safety Benefits of Hi Vis Clothing

If workers can’t be seen, chances are their safety will be at risk. Other benefits to hi vis clothing include:

  • Prevention of workplace accidents and injuries: If the workers can see each other, they will be in less danger of hurting one another and it will be easy to see how many people occupy the space.
  • Visibility on the road: Carrying out repairs on the roadside can be dangerous if drivers are unable to see workers.
  • Easy identification: Emergency workers can be identified easily and approached for assistance.
  • Water-resistant: PPE is designed not to get soaked when it rains and it dries more quickly than other materials.
  • Visible from a long distance: Safety vests can be seen from a further distance to prevent workers from getting injured.
  • Designed for high-risk workers: Workers in the electrical, gas, railway, airline, sanitation and first responders all require hi vis clothing for safety.

The most important part of hi vis clothing is so that workers stand out from their surroundings. Choosing a contrasting colour will help keep the worker visible and protected.

Consider the Colour Choices

There are three main colours to consider. The type you decide upon will depend on where the worker will be located and what type of work they are doing. Colours include:

  • Florescent lime
  • Orange
  • Red

These bright colours can be seen easily in the daylight and the evening and they stand out from their surroundings.

Choosing Hi Vis Jackets

A hi vis jacket is required when the worker needs to perform in colder conditions such as rain or snow. Hi vis clothing should be waterproof and contain safety features such as breakaway options in case of emergency and they should be flame resistant.

Other features to look for include:

  • Comfort: The worker should have unrestricted movement. The fabric should be lightweight and flexible and contain features such as improved ventilation.
  • Storage: There should be pockets to store items such as tools, pens, cellphones and other accessories necessary to perform tasks.
  • Durability: The nature of hi vis clothing is that it fades over time. As soon as the equipment is faded it needs to be replaced as the visibility will be diminished. Each jacket has an approximate lifespan of six months to a year.

Selecting a Hi Vis Shirt

In warmer conditions, a jacket may not be ideal so it’s important to have hi vis work shirts available. Heat makes people sweat so ensure the shirt you select has moisture-wicking fabric that will keep you dry and comfortable.

Give workers different options to suit their requirements. Have long-sleeve, short-sleeve and vests available in appropriate colours. There are a wide variety of options to consider. Look for features such as:

  • Breathability and moisture management
  • Fabric that won’t wear easily  
  • Button-up neck openings for comfort
  • Reflective tape for added visibility
  • Tag-free and seamless designs

Create a Corporate Identity

Not only is hi vis clothing extremely important for the safety of workers, but it can also be used to create a corporate identity. It allows key staff members to be identified quickly and easily on the worksite. Different colour clothing can be used to identify different teams and identify employees on large construction sites.

The public will be able to identify first responders and other essential staff who are wearing hi vis clothing.

Final Thoughts

Safety vests and other protective equipment are required by law and offer workers a vast number of benefits. They come in a variety of colours and styles to suit just about any industry and style. Choose a contrasting colour that stands out from the working environment.  

Stay safe and protect your workers onsite with quality hi vis clothing.

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