Hi Vis Clothing

Hi Vis is a short term used for High visibility clothing. In the USA total of 7485 pedestrians were killed on road by road accidents in 2021 as per GHSA which increased by 11.5% compared with the previous year. In most cases, pedestrians are not visible to the drivers due to darkness (late evening to early morning time period). It is evident that children and old age people are more affected by such types of accidents. The analytics of accidents witnessed of increase in pedestrian deaths faster than other traffic fatalities.

Nowadays the average speed of vehicles on road has increased across the world due to better infrastructure because of that it is difficult to stop vehicles suddenly if found any pedestrian on road. The use of high visibility jackets helps a lot to save pedestrians from such types of accidents. Vehicle drivers can easily identify pedestrians from long distances in the low-light area if they are equipped with hi-visibility jackets and it can save their lives on roads.

Another group that is the most affected by low-visibility-related crashes is cyclists. In the USA an average of 1000 cyclists lost their lives annually in road accidents out of which 70% of accidents happened due to vehicle drivers being unable to identify cyclists on road due to low visibility or darkness. As per the National safety council (NSC), in 2020 these types of bicycle incidents increased by 16%. In detail total, of 1260 cyclists died as per NSC on road (in cities) and according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on highways, 932 cyclists were killed in motor vehicle crashes.

All of the above accidents are easily prevented by using Hi Visibilities clothing (Hi-Vis) on the road many studies shows that in motorcycle collision number of people who met accidents are very less if they wear high-vis clothing.

Hi Vis jackets play important role in workplace safety. Lots of industrial fatalities can be prevented by using Hi Vis clothing at the workplace, construction sites, projects, oil rigs, lone working etc. This article tries to explain the details of HI vis clothing selection, uses, and importance by considering safety.

What is Hi Vis?

High Visibility Clothing is a type of clothing that has high luminescent properties and can be easily discernible from any type of background. It helps a lot for workers, pedestrians, or cyclists to stay visible during dangerous activities, lone working or low light working.  It is also called HI VIZ in some parts of the world. It is one type of personal protective equipment (PPE) used for personal protection. Hi Vis is available in different colors and combinations (red, yellow-green, orange)

How to Select Hi Vis Clothing

For the selection of Hi vis always considers requirements and weather of working people. In case of a Hot atmosphere select clothing that is made of cotton because cotton is more comfortable in a hot atmosphere due to its natural properties of sweat absorption, only concern with cotton is that it easily shrinks and fades during the wash and it is easy to crease

Polyester fabric is more suitable for normal and cold atmospheres. Polyester is the most versatile material used in high-visibility clothing because it has good color vibrancy & retention. In polyester issues of shrinkage or creasing is less. It is available in plain or knitted fabric. Some common issue with this fabric is that it is not absorb sweating and does not allow the skin to breathe so it is not comfortable in a hot atmosphere or in summer. Also, it generates a static charge so not useful for a flammable atmosphere

To increase visibility in low light, select Hi-vis with reflective bands Classification of High Vis safety clothing is done based on the visibility of background material and reflectors used on clothing across the world

As per the safety fraternity, fluorescent lime-green, and orange are the most suitable clothing colors used for the workplace because of their high visibility property.

Other colors like pink, red, blue, etc. can be avoided in high-risk workplaces due to their visibility being medium/ low

Hi vis jackets, Hi visibility shirts

Regulations for High visibility clothing

USA regulation: ANSI/ISEA 107-2020

As per standard Reflective material must be visible from at least 1000mtr for night workers Classified into Three types:

Type O: This type of clothing is useful for occupational workers for whom requirements of Hi Vis are not mandatory by MUTCD 2009 but still movement of the vehicles and hazards are present in their working area or have low visibility. This type of garment is available in class1 only

Type R: This type of clothing is mandatory for all workers who are exposed to road traffic and the use of moving equipment at their workplace. This type of garment available in classes 2 & 3

Type P: This type of garment is suitable for fire, police, and emergency staff who have been exposed to some more potential hazards. These types of garments available in classes 1,2 & 3

Major differences in types are related to the selection of background material and amount of retroreflective materials

For more details refer to ANSI/ISEA 107-2022

UK regulation: EN ISO 20471:2013 (Europe/ISO)

Three class

Class1: low-level coverage and good visibility

Class 2:  Intermediate coverage and superior visibility

Class 3: The highest level of conspicuity in poor lighting and long distance

India regulation: IS 15809:2017

Two types

Type 1 – Fluorescent Yellow – Green.

Type 2 – Fluorescent orange – Red.

Each type is classified based on the conspicuity as

Class 1: This type of clothing used in occupational activities that permit full and undivided attention to approaching traffic. vehicles and equipment moving speed (40 km/hr)

Class 2: This type of clothing is used at places where more visibility requires according to weather conditions or workplace activities or working near high-traffic roadways. vehicles and equipment moving speed (40-80 km/hr)

Class 3: This type of clothing is used in high-risk workplaces and places where workers are directly exposed to high-risk traffic or poor weather conditions vehicles and equipment moving speed(exceeding 80 km/hr)

Australian regulation: AS/NZS 1906.4.2010 (colour visibility)

AS/NZS 4602.1.2011 (garment requirements for Hi vis)

Three class

Class D: For Day time uses

Class N: For Night time uses by adding reflective material

Class D/N: For both Day & Night uses

Common Understanding of Classification with example
Class 1Class 2Class 3
Security guards who help vehicle owners park their vehicles in the parking areaRailway workersEmergency response person
Workers exposed to vehicle traffic at warehouses, stores, etc. (low-speed vehicles)Security guards at the school crossingFire service workers
Maintenance workers who are involved in roadside maintenance (walkway)Workers of toll gates of high-volume parkingUtility workers
Road workers in the urban areaInvestigator of the accident site
Classification of Hi vis clothing
Motor bikers with Hi vis jackets

Types of Hi Vis clothing

It is available in different types

Hi Vis Jackets: Jackets are made of heavy duty material and it is available in variety of designs by considering maximum visibilities as per classifications. It is mainly designed for rain, cold and windy atmospheres. Jackets are designed using waterproof material to avoid water penetration in the rain and it also available in different combinations like with a hood, without a hood, etc.

Hi Vis Vests: It is the most used clothing used by the majority of people across the road or in the workplace because of its lightweight designs and cheap compared to other clothing. It is used on existing clothing so most useful for people who are not exposed to hazards at all times whenever they are on the field they can wear and afterward it can be removed easily.

Hi Vis Shirts: It is a cotton shirt design with both long and short sleeves. It is useful for protecting workers against the sun’s UV rays. The material of the shirt is a bit thicker and breathable for working long hours. It can be customized as per requirements like collars, zip, buttons, etc.

HI Vis Pants: This type of clothing is used in very few places where the atmosphere is darker. It is designed with one or more strips on both legs for High Visibilities.

Hi Vis Cap: This type of cap is available in both types like normal and bump caps. It is widely used by golfers or baseball players. Bump caps with Hi Vis are also used for head protection in low-risk industries.

Safety tips for Hi Vis Clothing

  • Always chose hi vis clothes according to your size. Smaller or big size clothing may reduce the effectiveness of the Hi Vis.
  • Make sure which type of clothing you have, washable or nonwashable. Avoid washing nonwashable clothing because it may reduce the reflection properties of clothing
  • Check your clothing before use and if you found faded or alters colors replace Hi vis
  • Ensure clothing complies with the applicable standard as per your country
  • Chose reflective clothing according to conditions of work

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