Almost every industry has some risks and potential hazards, and therefore certain rules when it comes to workwear. In the business world, for instance, work uniforms are essential for success as they look professional and keep employees safe. On the other hand, certain professions require wearing hi-vis clothing.
High-visibility clothing was invented in the past century and was widely used during World War II. It was adopted by road and railway workers and, since then, it has expanded to different fields: security guards, police officers, parking attendants, crossing guards. Today, you can also see cyclists, joggers, and hunters commonly wearing these pieces.
Hi-visibility workwear reduces the risk of accidents and fatalities in working environments such as construction sites and industrial campuses. In such areas, hi-vis clothing and PPE (personal protective equipment) are required by Health and Safety regulations.
What Is Hi-Vis Made From?
Hi-vis clothing is made from high-reflective materials, micro-prismatic tape and glass bead reflective tape. Micro prismatic tape is made from a special plastic vinyl tape which contains a great number of small prisms that rebound light first before reflecting it back at the source. The light from this material is concentrated in one direction and travels far holding its intensity very well.
Glass bead reflective tape is more commonly used, and you can find it on commercial protecting clothing in the form of silver-grey straps. It reflects light from the source at a wider angle, providing less intensity than micro prismatic tape. That’s the main reason why gourmets with glass bead reflective tape are more affordable.
When buying the latest styles of hi vis work clothes, the most important factor to consider is the colour. Hi-vis clothes come in a range of colours: yellow, orange, red, blue, pink and green. For instance, lifeboat crew use orange reflective vests because this colour is the most visible against the dark blue seawater. Probably the most effective colour choice is fluorescent yellow, but you need to consider the background of your workspace and choose accordingly.
Aside from traditional models that are typically sturdy and uncomfortable, today’s hi-vis clothes are made from breathable, natural materials, with models that provide underarm and back body ventilation, allowing you to feel ultimate comfort and cooling. You can choose from a wide range of long and short sleeve shirts, reflective trousers, jackets, waistcoats etc. There are lightweight options preferable for summer, and thicker and heavier hi-vis garments with thermal insulation for winter. In case you need a new pair of working boots, you need to consider many other things than just finding the proper fit.
How Does Hi-Vis Work?
The sun’s UV rays react with the fluorescent colours of the material creating a glowing look. This glowing look is stronger when the light is poor – at dusk and dawn. Headlamps (and their UV rays) can also make this material work.
According to Australian law, employees need to be trained on how to use PPE. This training helps workers understand when and how to use hi-vis clothing, how to wear it correctly, and it provides instructions on how to maintain and store it in the right manner. Hi vis clothes are prone to wear and tear, but you need to regularly inspect them for possible damage.
Why Is Hi-Vis Important?
Hi-vis clothing is of great importance for a multitude of reasons:
The most obvious reason for wearing this type of garments is because they are required by law. In Australia, every construction site must have a high-visibility policy, and workers must wear hi vis work clothes. There a couple of AS/NZS standards that manufacturers of hi-vis clothing need to meet. Every company must comply with the law and provide their workers with adequate high visibility gear and proper construction workwear.
For larger companies with a big workforce, working in areas where there might be people from different sectors, hi-vis clothing can make it easier to distinguish staff from authorised personnel. The public and any outside visitors will be able to identify staff members, which can be important at security gates as well. It can also create a feeling of unity within the team, contributing to the company’s identity and overall image.
On building sites and construction projects, heavy materials are often moved around in a limited space. Wearing hi vis clothing in such environments allows drivers, crane and other heavy machinery operators to observe movement and see their colleagues. It can also help distinguish who works on the site and who doesn’t.
Hi-visibility clothing sends a message to the world about the company’s organization and its responsible employees. It means they are professional and reliable. For that reason, people are more likely to trust a company that fully equips its staff with all the necessary workwear and follows all safety rules.