A Guide To Choosing High-Visibility Clothing

Published on October 7, 2021
A Guide To Choosing High-Visibility Clothing

What is a good guide to choosing high-visibility clothing?

  1. Understand the science behind it
  2. Research the different materials available 
  3. Determine the hazards you need to address 
  4. Ensure the comfort and fit

High-visibility clothing is a type of personal protective equipment (PPE) made to provide visibility to the person wearing it. This way, other people can see them quickly, which is important in low-day light or dark working environments. Other than that, it’s also used when a part of the worker might be hidden in trees, machinery, and the like. This is why you’ll see high-visibility apparel often worn by construction workers, road workers, firefighters, and more. If you’re looking for a guide to choosing high-visibility clothing, keep on reading to learn more. 

Understand The Science Behind It

If you’re wondering if high-visibility clothing is really necessary, it helps to understand the science behind it. This involves how your vision works, especially when factors such as brightness, contrast, and color comes into the picture.

For example, think of putting a tiny black dot on a white canvas. Can you spot it easily from afar? Chances are, the answer would be no. Compared to that, a white dot on a black canvas is easier to spot. This has to do with how your eyes perceive bright things. Bright colors will catch your attention more quickly especially if the surroundings are dark. 

This is how high-visibility clothes work. Other than using bright colors, it takes advantage of how your eye perceives contrast. This way, other people only take seconds to notice the wearer, which is a huge factor in preventing accidents in the workplace.

Research The Different Materials Available

Research the different materials available 

When shopping for high-visibility apparel, you might encounter the terms ‘fluorescent’ and ‘retroreflective’. It’s important to understand each one as it can help you choose the safety gear you need. 

  • Fluorescent materials: These are recommended for daytime use because it absorbs a part of the invisible UV light from the sun and sends it to the viewer as visible light. When you compare the fluorescent material with the same clothing in the same color, it will appear brighter because of how it absorbs light. 

To work properly, it needs a natural light source. Plenty of colors can be fluorescent, such as yellow, green, and orange. This is useful especially in foggy areas and towards dusk.  But it won’t glow in the dark, so you still need reflective materials added to the apparel when working at night. 

  • Retroreflective materials: This is recommended in darker environments, such as when it’s nighttime. This is because it’s made to bounce back the light to the light source. One instance where this is useful is during road work at night. The material will reflect the light from the incoming vehicles, which makes the wearer more visible. This is often incorporated in the form of reflective striping or tape on the garment. 

Determine The Hazards You Need To Address

You might be wondering when you might need high-visibility apparel. A risk assessment of your workplace will help you reach an informed decision. Here are some of the things you need to consider:

  • The lighting conditions in the workplace.
  • The weather conditions where the work will be done.
  • If you have employees that work with equipment that partially obscures their presence.
  • Busy environments where workers can easily blend into the background. For example, workers won’t be easily seen in cluttered worksites. 
  • Distractions can make it easy for workers to keep their eyes away from hazards.
  • Sightlines for vehicle operators.

Other than these, you should also consider whether you’ll need high-visibility clothing that can withstand different weather and temperature conditions—such as heat, rain, flames, and the like. 

For example, there are raincoats made for high-visibility purposes because of the added reflectorized bands. The fluorescent colors are also helpful during the daytime. Fire retardant coveralls are also available in the same design. 

Ensure The Comfort And Fit

Ensure the comfort and fit

After determining the need for high-visibility clothing in your worksite, the next step is to order the PPE that your workers can use. That means prioritizing fit and comfort. 

When purchasing a safety apparel, look for one that your workers will consider wearable. One example is the Dels Apparel Damon. It’s perfect for daily work as it has a breathable material. The fabric is made with dri-fit technology to wick away sweat easily. But above all, it comes in neon colors and reflectorized bands for better visibility. This type of workwear is also available in long-sleeves

When ordering high-visibility apparel, consider the undergarments that will be worn too. This means choosing clothing that is half a size or a size larger, so the wearer won’t find it too restrictive. If you’re looking for a safety equipment supplier of high-vis apparel, ask if they provide samples or fitting appointments. 

Key Takeaway

High-visibility clothing is made to provide increased visibility to the wearer, so other people can spot them quickly. This can help reduce accidents in the worksite, especially when vehicles and machinery are involved. 

Follow this guide t0 choosing high-visibility clothing, so you can better protect your workers in low-visibility environments—whether it’s daytime or nighttime. If you have questions regarding our safety gear, you can send us a message here.