Wearing the right clothing when working in hazardous situations is important for the safety of the wearer as well as other people in close proximity. High visibility clothing is one such garment and various designs are available. There are a number of factors determining who wears hi-vis workwear with the primary aim of such clothing providing safety and protection for workers in dangerous situations.
Read on to find out about high visibility clothing and safety standards. And, find out if your workers should be wearing a hi-vis garment in your industry.
High Visibility Clothing: Safety Standards
Hi-vis garments play a vital role in various industries and can be worn as vests, jackets, trousers or overalls. Most countries, including Australia, have standards regulating reflective gear. Different standards apply for daytime and nighttime high visibility workwear.
Safety standards stipulate what colouring should be used on hi-vis garments. The work situation and industry normally determine what colour the garment should be.
Safety standards also stipulate what fabric or cloth must be used when making high visibility clothing. When manufacturing and supplying high visibility safety garments these standards must be complied with for the health and safety of the wearer.
High Visibility Clothing: 5 Workers Who Should Wear Hi-Vis Garments
1. Construction Workers
If you’re in the construction industry, you’re familiar with the sight of construction workers kitted out in hi-vis garments when working on site. These workers are more often than not working under dangerous conditions and visibility is of utmost importance. Workers wearing hi-vis garments become more visible to other team members as well as the general public, keeping them safe and protected when working.
Construction sites should have a standard high visibility policy in place. Hi-vis garments should be yellow or orange. The following rules apply:
- Fluorescent clothing for daytime use
- Retroreflective gear for nighttime use
Premium-quality hi-vis garments are made with fabric that protects the wearer from harmful UV rays when working outdoors.
High visibility clothing is a necessity for firefighters who are working near roads or in situations where they need to be clearly visible. Dangerous conditions such as smoke cause low visibility and wearing a hi-vis safety vest makes it easier for passing motorists and other firefighters to see the wearer.
Firefighters, in these situations, should wear a lime-yellow vest with silver reflective stripes. It must be noted that firefighters only wear hi-vis safety vests when in non-firefighting situations such as operating on roadways.
3. Road Department Employees
Any person working for the road department and who is involved with hazards, managing traffic and creating barriers must wear high visibility safety clothing. Depending on the state you’re working in, the department will issue hi-vis safety vests in specific colours. Retroreflective tape is placed on the front and back of the garment.
Wearing high visibility clothing ensures the wearer is clearly seen by other road users. It also tells the driver to slow down as they approach the person wearing high visibility safety vests. Ensuring the garment isn’t damaged in any way that hampers the fluorescent material or retroreflective tapes is the responsibility of the road department employee.
4. Police Officers
Most countries, by law, require their police officers to wear high visibility vests when doing road policing duties. However, high visibility garments are not required should they hamper the safety of the wearer in situations such as a siege operation or dealing with an armed offender.
Wearing a reflectorised vest keeps the police officer noticeable by other road users when performing traffic-related duties. There’s less chance of traffic-related fatalities happening while also improving the professional appearance of police officers issuing traffic fines. Traffic wardens are also required to wear hi-vis safety vests when assisting children or adults crossing the road.
5. Airport Workers
Airport workers are required to wear high visibility clothing and reflective strips when performing airside activities. It also applies to any personnel involved in landside duties under hazardous conditions.
The following airport workers must wear high visibility clothing:
- Drivers and passengers in open top vehicles
- Pilots, technical crew and airline staff when walking around the aircraft
- Luggage handlers
- Nighttime workers performing tasks either airside or landside
Yellow compliant garments are the preferred items for aviation specific activities but orange is also acceptable if approved by the health and safety team. High visibility garments should be fitted with retroreflective taping and marked with either the symbol “N” or “D/N”. Vests marked with “D” shouldn’t be worn at night as they won’t be visible under low light or dark conditions.
When working in hazardous or dangerous situations, workers must wear high visibility clothing that meets safety standards. Wearing high visibility gear must be appropriate for the industry and the type of work being performed. Health and safety protocols for workplace wellbeing should factor in when a hi-vis garment should be worn for the safety and protection of the wearer.
Does your industry have a high visibility policy? If so, make sure you kit your workers in the right high visibility clothing—for everyone’s benefit.