Hi-Vis Vests: The Dos and Don’ts of Choosing the Right Options! 

If you’re in charge of ensuring your employees’ workwear must comply with industry standards, you might be wondering where to start. One of the most important features: aside from adhering to particular regulations, they need to be visible all the time. 

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Whether you need to acquire jackets or a simple hi vis vest you might be wondering if colour matters? Are you bound by law to choose particular colours, or can you think outside the box and put your company’s unique spin on these clothes?

The What, Why and How of Hi-Vis Clothing

When it comes to workwear it’s important to consider your employees’ safety as well as your specific industry’s standards. It might make it easy to choose the right option for your company when you have all the facts. Read on for the what, why and how of choosing hi-vis clothing. 

Why It’s Important to Wear Hi-Vis Clothing at Work

H-vis clothing has several benefits for the people wearing them. Workers wearing hi-vis clothing are more easily seen around job sites. Increased visibility is also important for workers working in fire rescue, as first responders as well as individuals in the industrial and construction industries. 

Hi-vis workwear increases worker visibility around the job site, thereby reducing potential accidents. Workers can easily be seen in difficult weather situations such as snow and rain, making it easy to find people in an emergency. 

How Do Hi-Vis Clothing Work?

The short answer is that hi-vis clothing is made when fluorescent material is combined with reflective shapes or strips of tape. This combination makes it easy to see the wearer in low visibility situations.

If you want a more technical explanation, here goes:

  • The fabric’s fluorescent colours react with the suns UV rays.
  • Constant exposure to the sun makes these colours glow which increases daytime visibility.
  • The tape strips can illuminate at night when lights bounce off their reflective areas.

Opting for the correct high-vis colours, your workers will be seen no matter what time of day they’re working!  

Australian Regulations Regarding Hi-Vis Clothes

If you didn’t know, there are certain Australian Standards that dictate the use of hi-vis clothes. Regulations prescribe that hi-vis clothes should be worn in conjunction with other industry regulated safety workwear. 

Colours also matter. In Australia, the ONLY colours recognised as effective for hi-vis apparel are listed below:

  • Yellow
  • Orange
  • Orange-red
  • Red

Why Does Colour Matter?

The most common colours regulated by industries are yellow and orange. While these might not seem like the most popular hues or the ones you might choose, they are the colours of choice because: 

  • They stand out against almost any work background. If workers are working outside, orange will stand out against a green or grey background.
  • Your eyes’ photoreceptors react most to orange and yellow as these two can absorb the most UV rays. This makes them the most visible. 

Are Pink or Blue Hi-vis Colours Allowed?

Pink and blue hi-vis vests have made an appearance in some circles in recent times. However, these two colours aren’t authorised by most industries. The reason for this is that blue is the colour least effective at emitting light.

Pink on the other hand doesn’t absorb enough light to be as easily spotted as orange or yellow. Some indoor industries do allow pink, but you need to check the standards allowed in your sector. They might be allowed in instances where employees don’t work against outdoor or construction backgrounds. 

Opportunities for Customising

If you feel that wearing a hi-vis vest covers your shirt or jacket logos, the good news is, you can customise! Adding your company logo or adding a specific customised design to your hi-vis clothing will make your vests look professional. 

What’s the Difference Between Fluorescent and Reflective Hi-vis Clothing?

For the most part, there are two types of hi-vis clothing: fluorescent and reflective. It’s important to understand the difference so that you can get the right options to keep your employees safe. 

  • Fluorescent: For fluorescent clothing, the fabric itself isn’t fluorescent. It’s actually dyed to “glow” as it interacts with sufficient light. This type of hi-vis clothing works best during the day when there’s enough UV light. 
  • Reflective: This type of hi-vis clothing uses reflective tape that’s mostly found on vests, overalls or even jackets. 

Industries Required to Wear Hi-vis Clothes

Some of the more common industries that are required to wear hi-vis vests or jackets include the following:

  • Construction workers
  • Engineering 
  • Airport ground crews
  • Road cleaners
  • Parking attendants
  • First responders such as paramedics and firefighters

Tips for Cleaning Hi-vis Clothes

When you give your employees their hi-vis clothes, give them these cleaning tips to keep their gear looking good, helping the team look professional:

  • Hand-wash or machine-wash on the “delicates” cycle
  • Use a mild detergent but never bleach or fabric softener
  • Air-dry vests for best results

Final Thought

Hi-vis vests form a part of many industrial work clothing requirements. If you’re ordering clothes for your employees, check up on the regulations for your specific industry. This will ensure that your employees are not only safe but compliant as well! 

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