When Do You Need to Wear Hi-Vis Clothing?

May 23 2024 11:58AM

When Do You Need to Wear Hi-Vis Clothing?

Hi-vis clothing, also known as high-visibility clothing or hi-vis for short, is an essential piece of safety equipment across many industries. It's designed to make the wearer clearly visible in low-light conditions or complex environments, minimising the risk of accidents. In this blog we will cover in more detail, what is Hi-Viz, when do you need to wear Hi-Viz and how to choose the right Hi-Viz for you etc.

What is Hi-Vis?

Hi-vis clothing typically comprises a fluorescent base colour, often yellow or orange, combined with reflective strips. The fluorescent material absorbs and re-emits light, making the wearer stand out during daylight. The reflective strips, on the other hand, return light directly to its source, ensuring excellent visibility in low-light conditions like dawn, dusk, and foggy weather.

There are other items of “Hi-Viz” items that are non-conforming—those that do not meet established safety standards and can pose significant risks if not used appropriately. This is explained in more detail further on in this article.

These items may lack the appropriate colour intensity, reflective material quality, or overall durability required to keep workers safe.

At Knights Corporate Workwear, we offer a range of Hi-Vis options suited for any type of situation, you can view our range of Hi-Vis here.

When is Hi-Vis Mandatory?

There's no single, definitive answer to this question. However, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in the UK offers clear guidelines. Generally, hi-vis clothing is mandatory in any situation where there's a risk of being struck by moving vehicles or machinery. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Construction sites: Construction zones are prime examples of where hi-vis is essential. Workers are at constant risk from vehicles, excavators, and other heavy machinery.
  • Roadsideworkers: Anyone working near moving traffic, such as breakdown recovery personnel, highways agency workers, or emergency services, needs to be highly visible.
  • Docksandwarehouses: Forklift trucks and other large vehicles pose a significant hazard in these environments. Hi-vis ensures workers are easily seen.
  • Railways: Railway lines are inherently dangerous, and hi-vis clothing is crucial for anyone working on or near the tracks.
  • Airports: Ground crew and other personnel operating around aircraft on airfields require hi-vis for safety.

Beyond Mandatory Use: When is Hi-Vis Recommended?

Even if your workplace doesn't legally require hi-vis, it's always a wise safety precaution to consider in various situations. Here are some examples:

  • Low-light conditions: If you're working during dawn, dusk, or in poorly lit areas, hi-vis can significantly improve your visibility.
  • Poor weather conditions: Fog, rain, and snow can dramatically reduce visibility. Hi-vis clothing helps ensure you're seen by others.
  • Working near moving vehicles: Even in car parks or loading bays, there's always a risk of being struck by a reversing vehicle. Hi-vis can help prevent accidents.
  • Large, open spaces: In environments with limited visual barriers, such as large car parks or industrial complexes, hi-vis makes you stand out.


Choosing the Right Hi-Vis for You

Knights Corporate Workwear offers a wide range of hi-vis clothing to suit your specific needs. Here are some key factors to consider when choosing hi-vis workwear:

  • Visibility rating: Hi-vis clothing comes in different classes, offering varying levels of visibility. Choose the appropriate class based on the risk assessment of your workplace.
  • Typeofclothing: Hi-vis jackets, vests, trousers, and more are all available. Select the garment that best suits your working environment and comfort needs.
  • Durabilityandwashability: Consider the washing frequency and potential wear-and-tear your hi-vis will face. Opt for durable materials that can withstand regular cleaning.

Non-Conforming Hi Visibility Garments

Non-conforming hi-vis clothing items fail to meet specific safety standards set by organizations such as ANSI (American National Standards Institute) or EN (European Norms). Here are some common examples and reasons for their non-conformance:

  • Faded or Worn-Out Vests and Jackets: Over time, the fluorescent materials in hi-vis vests and jackets can fade due to exposure to sunlight, weather, or repeated washing. When the colours lose their intensity, they no longer provide the high visibility needed to ensure safety.
  • Improperly Sized Reflective Strips: Hi-vis clothing often includes reflective strips that increase visibility in low-light conditions. If these strips are too narrow, not positioned correctly, or made from substandard materials that do not reflect light adequately, the garment does not comply with safety standards.
  • Insufficient Reflective Coverage: Standards typically require a certain amount of the garment's surface area to be covered in reflective material. Items that do not have enough reflective material, or have it improperly placed, fail to meet these requirements.
  • Wrong Colours: High-visibility clothing must use specific fluorescent colours, such as yellow and orange, to be effective. Items in non-standard colours, such as neon pink or green, do not meet safety criteria because they may not be as easily seen in various lighting conditions. Some Companies use these Hi Vis Waistcoats in areas to distinguish a first aider, fire warden, etc.
  • Poor Quality Fabric: Hi-vis clothing needs to be made from durable materials that withstand harsh conditions while maintaining visibility. Cheap or poor-quality fabrics can degrade quickly, reducing the effectiveness of the hi-vis properties.
  • Lack of Certification Labels: Legitimate hi-vis garments come with labels indicating compliance with specific safety standards (e.g., ANSI/ISEA 107 or EN ISO 20471). Items without these labels have not been tested or certified, indicating they might not provide the required level of visibility.

Knights Corporate Workwear: Your Partner in Safety

At Knights Corporate Workwear, we understand the importance of safety in the workplace. We offer a comprehensive selection of high-quality hi-vis clothing, safety workwear, and corporate uniforms from leading brands. Our friendly and knowledgeable team can help you choose the right hi-vis solution for your needs, ensuring you stay safe and visible on the job.