What Makes Hi Vis Work Clothing Such a Popular Piece of Safety Equipment?

What is Hi Vis Clothing?

worker wearing orange hi vis work shirts

High vis clothing consists of hi vis work shirts and bottoms that make the wearer more visible in low visibility and/or dangerous areas. It is made to be reflective thanks to the use of special materials and reflective bands. These pieces usually feature 2-3 strips of reflective bands which have a micro-prismatic design that helps bounce the light back to the light source. This design makes the bands reflective from almost all angles, thus increasing the visibility of the wearer.

Why is High Visibility Clothing Important?

workwear uniform hi vis work shirts

The main purpose of hi vis work shirts and pants is to make the wearer more visible to drivers and operators of machinery and vehicles. But for employees who work on construction sites, traffic control, airports and waste management, high visibility work shirts offer many other benefits.

  • A safe work environment – Promoting a safe work environment is essential for every business, regardless of its size. Employees must follow the safety regulations and preventive measures against accidents established by the company. Ensuring that employees feel safe has been linked to increased productivity. If their job requires employees to stand near moving vehicles, investing in high visibility clothing can reduce the risk of potential accidents.
  • Marketing – Besides protecting your employees, you can also print your company’s logo on certain pieces of hi vis apparel. Marked clothing helps individual crew members distinguish themselves from employees of other companies. Printed hi vis clothing can also increase the awareness of the public regarding your company, which may lead to new clients.
  • Keeps employees warm – Besides vests and shirts, you can also invest in hi vis jackets that will keep your hard-working employees warm and protected during the cold weather.
  • Promote teamwork – Generally, getting your employees to wear the same outfits can make them feel like a more united team. You’ll also be able to immediately tell who is authorised to enter the premises or not based on whether the person is wearing the hi vis workwear.

How to Choose High Visibility Clothing?

construction workers wearing hi vis work shirts

Depending on use and the occupation or industry served, high visibility clothing can vary in type and class.

  • Type O – This type falls into Class 1 and is intended for off-road usage. The industries and workers affected include warehousing, oil and gas extraction workers, parking/service location workers, refinery workes and mining.
  • Type R – This type falls into Class 2 and Class 3. Type R Class 2 would serve anyone who is an airport ramp worker, municipality worker, or road construction worker. Type R Class 3 is for anyone who works for department of transportation, some state DOT, flaggers and municipality workers. This type features more background fluorescent material, wider retro-reflective tape, additional reflective square meters needes and is recommended when higher safety is required.
  • Type P – Type P hi vis clothing is also divided into Class 2 and Class 3 and is meant for public safety. This includes police, sheriff, fire or EM – the fists responders.

How to Clean High Visibility Clothing

Hearing Protection his vis shirt

The process for keeping your hi vis gear clean and in good condition will depend on a few different factors. For example, the industry in which you operate will determine how frequently you need to wash or replace your garments. However, it’s best not to wash them unnecessarily, as too much washing can shorten their lifespan.

Hearing Protection his vis shirt

Regulations stipulate that manufacturers must include clear laundry instructions on the label. Instructions tend to vary depending on the type of garment, but usually, it is recommended that the garments are washed in lower temperatures. To extend the life of the reflective material on safety clothing it is recommended that you should:

  • Machine wash the clothes with similar colours in cold water on delicate cycle;
  • Use a mild detergent, and avoid bleach or fabric softener;
  • Avoid washing hi vis clothing with jeans or any other clothing with rough fabric or edges;
  • If possible, line-dry the garments. Tumble-drying is not a good idea as the heat can damage the reflective bands.