High Visibility Vests: What are the Primary Elements?

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neon yellow safety vests worn by workers

More than 40% of accidents in workplaces are attributed to poor visibility. High-visibility clothing is, therefore, essential when working near machines, traffic, or places where visibility to other workers is important. When people picture high-visibility clothing, they think of safety vests. Though these are vital elements of high visibility in workplaces, there also exists pants, boots, and headgear that will complete your safety ensemble. To most people, any clothing featuring orange, lime green, or red reflective strips suffices for safety clothing.

Some safety clothing suppliers have unfortunately taken advantage of this misconception to deliver substandard safety vests to people who are none the wiser. You might think your employees are well-protected with these inferior clothing. The garments will however not do much and might even attract fines. The following are the primary elements that should form a part of your workers’ safety vests.

Background Material

The background material of your safety vests should be red, yellow-green, or orange. This material is the crux of your safety vest and is generally a fabric. Various set guidelines should be followed for the luminance, fade resistance, burst strength, dimensional change, chromaticity and tear resistance of the material used. The fabric should, for instance, be bright enough, colorfast, and withstand normal wear and tear conditions. The common materials used in the background material include polyester and nylon since cotton will fade after a few washes.

Retroreflective Material

This is usually called the reflective tape or reflective material. Its primary purpose is to reflect light to its source more so in darkness. The strictest rule is photometric performance. This denotes the level of brightness of the material for it to adequately reflect light to a source. Other requirements include temperature exposure, as well as abrasion and moisture resistance.

There exist two retroreflective material options including, silver glass beads and combined performance materials. Silver glass beads will generally reflect car lights at night while combined performance material will reflect both night and daytime lighting.

Fluorescent Material

air traffic controller holding light sign

While the retroreflective material will only boost visibility at night, the fluorescent material on your vest will increase visibility throughout. This material is primarily designed for increased visibility during the day. The fluorescent material is close to the reflective strip, and it is common for most people to assume they are one though this is not the case.

Garment Design

The overall design of a safety vest achieves different objectives. High Visibility Vests: What are the Primary Elements?. Safety vests are thus classified into 1, 2, or 3 based on their reflective and background material dimensions. Some safety vest classes also feature straps for attaching them to different safety garments or a wearer’s body. These straps minimize the risk of the vests getting snapped by a machine and dragging their wearer.

Buying a safety garment with the above elements is only the first step toward guaranteeing your workplace safety and minimizing workers’ injuries. You should have training for your employees on the use and importance of the vest to guarantee their compliance. Moreover, the safety vests should be a perfect fit for them and not hinder them in any way from performing their duties.