Spotlight on: High Visibility Clothing

By Martin Hart on Fri 06 March 2020

High visibility (HV) clothing is a form of personal protective equipment (PPE), usually worn to make the wearer 'highly visible' in hazardous situations. So, should you be wearing it? And do you know which level of protection to wear? To help you assess whether or not you need it, ask yourself the following questions.

Is it Appropriate for the Risk?

Take into account lighting conditions as well as the weather. HV clothing should protect you during the day as well as the night, and in any weather. As a rule of thumb, the darker or more exposed the work site, the more HV clothing should be worn. In practice, day-glo or fluorescent yellow stands out the most against any ambient background. Think about whether the fabric should incorporate retroreflective strips to make the wearer more visible in headlights at night, or in poor weather.

Is it up to the Job?

Think about context. Warehouse workers might find that loose tabards can catch on moving machinery. HV coats might be too warm in the summer months, and waistcoats or tabards might not offer enough warmth in winter. Another rule of thumb applies here: PPE should always be suitable for the job in hand. If the job changes, check the PPE is suitable.

Is it Right for the Wearer?

Comfort and fit are key. HV clothing should not restrict movement for its wearer.

Does it Fit With Other PPE?

If multiple items of PPE are worn, they shouldn't interfere with one another. For instance, if you're wearing something to protect you from chemical spills, can it also be hi-vis if you need it to be?

What are the Standards?

HV clothing should be manufactured to BS EN 471 standard - the new standard for PPE. They should be labelled with a pictogram with two numbers. The first number indicates the level of visibility, with 3 being the highest. The second number indicates the level of reflection, with 2 being the highest class. It should also be 'CE' marked to prove it meets European standards.


Remember: it's your responsibility to ensure you have the right HV clothing for your role and environment. At Hart Wholesale, we provide PPE and HV clothing to ensure your workers are as safe as possible. To find out more, contact us and we'll be more than happy to help with any questions you might have.


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