If you work in an environment that requires you to wear high-visibility clothing, you likely understand why it’s so necessary. Many of these positions put you very close to dangerous situations like fast-moving traffic or heavy construction machinery. People need to be able to see you at a glance. If you need new high-visibility clothing as a replacement or if you’re just starting out in an industry that requires it, we want you to know the most important elements of high-visibility clothing so that you know you are being as safe as possible while working.
The Right Colors
The color of your high-visibility clothing needs to meet safety standards. Only a few colors are considered visible enough to make it easy to see the person wearing them. According to ANSI standards, high-visibility clothing must either be yellow-green, orange-red, or red so that you stick out harshly from your surroundings. While you can certainly find fashionable high-visibility clothing, it still needs to have one of these three colors for safety purposes.
If you work at night in public spaces, your high-visibility clothing must have a certain amount of reflectivity to qualify as proper safety clothing. Reflectivity refers to the clothing’s ability to reflect light back to its source. This means that someone with a light source, such as the headlights of the car they’re driving, will see you even in the dark as their light bounces off your clothing and reflects back to them.
One of the most important elements of high-visibility clothing is its fluorescence. Fluorescence refers to the ability of the clothing to reflect normally imperceptible ultraviolet light back to an onlooker. This is more important for daytime work that might take place during periods of low light. Reflectivity doesn’t work as well in conditions such as fog, midday cloud cover, or even at dusk or dawn. That’s where fluorescence takes over to make you more visible even in these conditions.
Appropriate for Surrounding Climate
Most people who regularly wear high-visibility clothing work jobs that require heavy physical labor. This can make you more susceptible to your environment, especially in extremely hot or cold climates. Your high-visibility clothing needs to match the climate where you’ll normally work. Larger and thicker high-visibility jackets are great for cold weather work but can put you at risk of heat stress in warmer climates.