Why Choosing the Right Hi-Vis Safety Clothing Is Important
High visibility clothing, such as safety vests, pants, and entire uniforms, are essential in specific professions to ensure worker safety. Some typical jobs and fields requiring hi-vis safety clothing include the construction sector, school crossing guards, traffic control, road construction, and waste collection. High visibility clothing is also worn by tow truck drivers, parking lot attendants, emergency services employees, railroad workers, airport ground workers, heavy equipment operators, shipyard workers, utility workers, and warehouse workers.
What Is Hi-Vis Clothing?
But what is hi-vis clothing? It’s clothing that comes in several reflective and bright fluorescent hues for use during the day and night - different types of high-visibility clothing are specific for job environments and worksite conditions.
Workers from different industries use reflective hi-vis safety clothing, such as uniforms and vests, in low-light and nighttime working environments. For instance, railroad workers or road construction workers working on a project during the night need to wear this reflective clothing to ensure their safety. In addition, their vests reflect light when shined upon them, making them easier to spot.
Fluorescent high vis workwear is better suited for daytime and brightly-lit work environments. The bright hues make it easier for people to spot workers wearing fluorescent vests and uniforms, enabling them to stand out from the everyday crowd. However, these uniforms are not ideal for nighttime or low-light work.
Some types of hi-vis safety clothes come in both these materials, so you can easily use them in both working environments. However, not all reflective uniforms and vests are fluorescent, and not all fluorescent uniforms and vests are reflective. You need to be mindful of this when choosing high visibility vests and uniforms for your work environment. Choose the one that works best for your specific environment.
Benefits of Hi-Vis Safety Clothing
Why wear hi-vis clothing or invest in such clothing for your employees? When your workers have access to top-quality high-visibility safety clothing to wear on the job site, they gain several benefits, including:
High-quality hi-vis safety clothing ensures that your workers are visible at all times. If they wear regular clothes to the job site, they might blend into the background, and it will be challenging to find them amongst the public, especially if the site is in a public place. Moreover, hi-vis clothing also enables employees to stand out in an environment with a multi-color or busy background, such as a shipyard where it’s easy to lose track of your workers among the several colored shipping containers.
Worker Recognition for Drivers
With high-visibility clothing, it’s easier for drivers on a busy roadway or highway to spot workers, even if they are speeding by. These clothes protect workers working in roadside construction or other job sites where vehicle traffic is present. In addition, it reduces the risk of workers getting injured due to oncoming traffic.
Safe Work Environment
There’s no doubt that high-visibility workwear creates a safer working environment. Your employees will feel markedly safe working in accident-prone job sites when they have access to high-visibility clothing, reflective harnesses, and other safety workwear. Increased worker safety also results in better employee motivation, morale, and productivity.
High-visibility clothing reduces the risk of accidents. Even though accidents will occur in dangerous job sites, these clothes and related gear will significantly reduce the number of accidents due to workers not being seen.
Choosing the Appropriate Hi-Vis Safety Clothing
To ensure that you choose the appropriate hi-vis safety clothing for your employees, you should brush up on ANSI standards referenced in OSHA guidelines to create safe working environments for employees who need high-visibility work clothing.
The ANSI Standards are divided into three classes, and each class describes the type of hi-vis safety apparel employees should wear based on their job. For example, class 1 is applicable for parking lot attendants, and Class 2 is appropriate for waste management workforces. Lastly, Class 3 is suitable for the most dangerous jobs and working environments.
Warehouse Hi-Vis Clothing
If you head to a warehouse and notice workers wearing blue vests with gray reflective stripes, you might think they are safe. The gray retro-reflective material is suitable for nighttime visibility. When light shines on the straps, they will create a bright reflection.
Almost all warehouses function in well-lit environments or daylight. The safety regulations demand workers wear orange and yellow safety clothes in these environments. Moreover, the total surface area of the reflective material should never be limited.
Otherwise, workers wearing the blue/gray vests will not be entirely visible, and their apparel will not be safe for work. Similarly, even though black vests might look good, they will remain functionally useless in a warehouse setting without sufficiently large areas of orange and yellow. Therefore, warehouse managers will need to look into ANSI standards and course correct with garments that fulfill the safety standards to ensure complete worker visibility.
Appropriate Airport Hi-Vis Clothing
Typically, a high-visibility vest is hot, and airport workers who work under the sun are often not too keen on closing the front of the vest. Moreover, if a worker has a big gut, the vest gets pushed to the side entirely, exposing the worker to potential threats since the high-visibility part is at the side.
The ANSI standards require that a specific amount of visible material remain on the worker’s front and back, and this requirement is only met when the vest is properly closed. This is also a good case for a harness. A hi-vis harness can keep the workers from feeling hot while ensuring their safety and visibility.
Hi-vis safety clothing is essential to many working environments, and choosing the correct workwear can help you save your workers’ lives.