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What to consider when choosing hi-vis clothing for your workplace

Construction workers are instantly recognisable because of their bright yellow or orange vests and Bob the Builder-style hard hats. While passers-by may see the fluorescent, garish garb as a uniform of sorts, those highlighter-coloured outfits are glaringly obvious for a reason; they’re intended to keep workers safe as they go about their duties.

Working in certain industries can carry a significant amount of risk to health and safety and as an employer in a high-risk sector, you must take precautions to keep your staff safe and sound while at work. Part of this responsibility is providing PPE like hi-vis clothing, safety goggles and face shields and you must ensure that this is appropriate for the role for which it’s intended.

Here, we outline some important points to consider when choosing high-vis clothing for your workplace.

Is it suitable for the role?

As an employer you must ensure any hi-vis clothing or PPE you provide your employees with is suitable for their role. All PPE should fit correctly, as ill-fitting safety equipment may fail to protect the wearer. You must check no PPE interferes with other PPE, for example, wet or cold weather clothing must be capable of being worn under hi-vis clothing or without affecting the hi-vis gear.

Is it in good working condition?

You must ensure any PPE your staff wear is in good working condition. Failing to provide substantial safety equipment could lead to one of your staff suffering any injury on the job. If this happens it may result in a personal injury claim, which could put financial strain on your business and even damage your professional reputation.

Remind your employees to check their equipment regularly and to inform you immediately if PPE shows signs of damage or wear.

Does it meet the required safety standards?

There are certain safety standards in the UK which PPE and safety equipment must meet. For example, the British standard for high visibility warning clothing is BS EN 471. It’s vital that any PPE you provide for your team meets these standards, to ensure they’re provided with the best possible protection when carrying out their duties.

Is the colour appropriate?

While hi-vis clothing is available in a range of colours, only yellow and orange meet the BS EN 471 standard. Orange hi-vis is worn by railway workers, as both yellow and green hi-vis are worn by rail staff signalling to trains. Wearing orange not only ensures rail workers stand out to train drivers but it also prevents any confusion over who is on the tracks.

If your business does not overlap with the rail industry, you’re free to select either orange or yellow vests for your staff to wear, provided they meet the required safety regulations mentioned above.

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