Hi-vis workwear is a vital piece of personal protective equipment (PPE) that is used to protect workers in hazardous work environments, particularly those working close to moving vehicles and machinery, in poor lighting conditions or at night.
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High Visibility Clothing:
High visibility clothing is designed to make the wearer noticeable in hazardous situations, either during the day or when illuminated in the dark. This includes hi-vis vests, trousers and jeans, t-shirts and polo's, jackets, etc. It helps to reduce the risk of being hit by moving vehicles and maintain workplace safety.
EN ISO 20471:
All hi-vis workwear for professional use must conform to the EN ISO 20471 standard, which is an international standard that defines the requirements for garments that visually signal the wearer's presence. It also establishes the validity and durability of the materials used in the garments. The workwear must also comply with the requirements of EN ISO 13688 for protective clothing in general and EN 343 if they are certified to protect against rain.
Classification of Hi-Vis Clothing:
Hi-vis workwear must be labelled with the EN ISO 20471 pictogram and the corresponding class number, depending on the surface area of fluorescent and reflective material on the garment. There are three classes of high visibility clothing:
The lowest level of protection, used for work on roads with little traffic and slow-moving vehicles. It is often used in car parks and warehouses.
Mid-level protection, used for activities requiring increased visibility, such as in weather complications, low daylight, or tasks that distract attention from traffic. Class 2 is often used for railway work, delivery vehicle drivers, forestry work, waste management, school crossing guards, etc.
The highest level of visibility protection, providing 360° visibility and human figure recognition. It is used by workers working out in the open on high-risk roads, in difficult weather conditions, or under poor lighting or in the dark. Class 3 clothing must cover the torso with long sleeves or long high-vis trousers and is often used for road construction or maintenance, emergency services, etc.
Hi-vis workwear is typically made of fluorescent (background) material and reflective tapes or strips. Fluorescent colours provide better visibility during the day and at night and are often yellow, orange or red. Reflective tapes or strips are essential for working at night and reflect light to make the garment visible in low light conditions. Combined materials have both fluorescent and reflective properties, and some high-visibility PPE is designed with contrasting dark-coloured material. The effectiveness of hi-vis workwear should always be checked after washing.
Hi-vis workwear is a crucial piece of personal protective equipment that helps to maintain workplace safety. All hi-vis workwear must conform to the EN ISO 20471 standard and be labelled with the corresponding class number based on the surface area of fluorescent and reflective material on the garment. It is made of fluorescent and reflective materials that provide visibility during the day and at night. The effectiveness of hi-vis workwear should always be checked after washing to ensure its continued protection.