Understanding the Importance of Hi Vis Clothing

Understanding the Importance of Hi Vis Clothing

The reality of many situations is if you can’t be seen you’re in danger. That’s especially true for industries like construction. So, wearing bright, hi vis clothing on the job is essential for keeping you safe. Hi vis clothing needs to be bright so it can be seen even from a distance.

There are a variety of different clothing options to choose between. The most common type of hi vis clothing is the yellow safety vest, but other options include hi vis polo shirts, jackets, t-shirts, vests and pants. In today’s article, we are going to look at why hi vis clothing is the investment your business and your team need.

What is Hi Vis?

Hi vis is a term describing high-visibility clothing. Workers need to wear hi vis clothing in high traffic areas, or on the construction site. This type of clothing is also critical for staff that work around moving vehicles, or in low-light areas.

By definition, hi vis clothing is clothing that is easily discernible from the background and is highly reflective for improved visibility. Fluorescent colours such as yellow, orange, red, and lime-green are often used. These are the colours that the human eye is the most sensitive to.

Reflecting the Light

The reflective properties come from retroreflective strips on the garment. This strip reflects the light back to its original source. It’s similar to how the headlights of a car work. To be considered as hi vis clothing it needs to meet standards set out by the health and safety act.

Does Your Work Require Hi Vis Clothing?

Many workers are either required by law or personal preference to wear hi vis clothing, in order to reduce the risk of on-the-job accidents. Employees working on highways, roads, construction workers, maintenance workers and flaggers are all required by law to wear this at all times.

Other industries that employ for positions like airport workers, linesmen and warehouse workers prefer that their staff wear hi vis clothing to reduce accidents.

Creating a Professional Image

Hi vis clothing makes your staff look professional. The uniform sends a message to the world that they are clean, reliable and fit into the organisation’s vision of professionalism. Also, people are much more likely to put their trust in a company that fully equips their workers with safety gear and everything they require to perform well on the job.

When you have a large workforce with various departments, different colours of hi vis clothing can be used to identify each team. Other members of staff or members of the public will be able to identify them more easily. Wearing a uniform also creates a sense of unity within the team.

Creates a Safer Working Environment

When working on a construction site, workers must wear specific clothing due to safety regulations. Items such as a helmet, goggles and earmuffs are all essential safety items. Another, and arguably the most important, is hi vis clothing.

Dust, debris and the environment make it very difficult to see workers. When they wear hi vis clothing, you will be able to see them from a distance, and they will be able to see each other more easily.

What is Hi Vis Clothing Made From?

Hi vis clothing is made from reflective materials. The two main materials used are micro-prismatic tape and glass bead reflective tape. This gives the clothing its light-reflecting abilities. Micro-prismatic tape is constructed from plastic vinyl that consists of small prisms. The prisms bounce the light around then reflect it back. This makes them highly visible.

The most common material used to make hi vis clothing is glass bead reflective tape. When you look at the clothing you will notice the silver-grey strips. These strips reflect the light from the source at a wider angle. This type of hi vis clothing is more affordable, but it can’t be seen from as far away.

Other Applications: Running and Cycling

If you’re an avid runner or cyclist, you’ll know how important it is to be seen on the road. The most dangerous times to cycle or run are 7am – 9am and 3pm – 8 pm, and especially the times of dusk and dawn. Motorists are dealing with rush hour and diminished lighting conditions, so they find it very difficult to notice people on the roads.

Most cyclists and runners are aware of the danger and wear hi vis clothing for protection. If you’ve seen runners or pedestrians that aren’t wearing safety gear, then you would know how difficult it is to spot them, and how easily an accident can happen. Using lights on your bicycle and using a headlamp for running can help reduce the risk but hi vis clothing is the better option.

Final Thoughts

Even if you don’t like wearing safety protection because of its bright colours, remember that those vivid hues are what’s keeping you safe. The more visible you are—even from afar—the more protection you will have. There are numerous sets of safety hi vis clothing in a variety of easy to see colours.

You should be able to easily find clothing that suits your workers and makes your staff look more professional. Invest in one item and you’ll get multiple benefits!

John Norwood
John Norwood is best known as a technology journalist, currently at Ziddu where he focuses on tech startups, companies, and products.