High Vis Workwear: Key Safety Points to Remember
High visibility workwear, also known as Hi Vis or Hi Viz clothing, improves a worker’s visibility using a mix of fluorescent material and reflective strips. As the days get shorter and daylight working hours decrease, it’s more important than ever to ensure workers can be clearly seen.
In a commercial or industrial setting, high visibility clothing must comply with the EN471:2003 specification. As an employer, it is your duty to provide this equipment free of charge to any at-risk workers. Here are the key safety points to remember when using high visibility clothing.
➞ Job Suitability
Choosing an appropriate visibility rating will ensure adequate levels of protection for the level of risk. In addition, high visibility clothing must be suitable for the job and not create additional hazards. For example, heavy coats may be too warm for intensive tasks, particularly in warmer weather or loose clothing could become a snag risk around machinery. Where necessary, adapt to suit by considering alternative high vis options.
If high vis clothing is uncomfortable or ill-fitting, it could become a hazard by restricting the user. Lack of comfort could also reduce compliance. Make sure you offer a range of sizes to suit all team members.
In situations when more than one type of PPE must be worn, it’s important they not do not interfere with each other. For example, additional protection may be required for fire risk or chemical exposure. When possible, look for high vis items which offer additional protection so multiple equipment doesn’t need to be worn.
➞ Cleaning and Maintenance
Dirty or damaged high vis clothing will not offer the same level of protection. A regular inspection and cleaning schedule is essential. Remember not to use fabric softener or wash with abrasive items such as denim jeans as this can degrade high visibility material.
Overtime, regular washing will also reduce effectiveness. As a rule of thumb, good quality high vis will keep its effectiveness for up to 25 standard washes. A well organised storage space will help keep high vis in good condition.
Appropriate training equips employees with the knowledge and skills to use high vis clothing correctly and make sure they know who to report defects to. An understanding of the risks will also improve compliance.
Having the best high vis clothing in the world is no good if no one wears it. Site checks will help you monitor non-compliance issues. If a problem is discovered, make sure you get to the bottom of why it’s happening – is it unsuitable for the task, or perhaps too uncomfortable? Listen to your team rather than reprimanding without discussion.
To help you meet your duty of care, at Enfield Safety we stock a wide range of high vis clothing which is fully compliant with the specifications of EN ISO 20471. The range includes hi vis jackets, coats and anoraks, hi vis fleeces, hi vis vests, hi vis trousers, hi vis hats, hi vis rucksacks and hi vis armbands. These come in a choice of classes suitable for a variety of settings.
Looking for high quality workwear at exceptional value? Contact our safety champions today to talk through your high vis workwear requirements. Speak to the team on: 0333 003 5710.
Enfield Safety – no one works harder to bring you health, safety and welfare products at the right price, on time, every time.
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