Reflective vests are an essential item for the correct prevention of occupational hazards in many sectors

The use of high visibility clothing in the workplace is key when it comes to preventing potential work-related traffic accidents. That’s why we must be very clear about when we need to use them and do so correctly.

high visibility work vests

Standard EN ISO 20471 states that high visibility vests belong to an intermediate level of personal protection and are intended to be seen unambiguously in any situation. Therefore, who should use a reflective vest? 

We are talking about workers who run the risk of being run over by a vehicle or mechanical equipment whose driver does not have good visibility. This group includes: road workers and workers in areas where traffic does not exceed 80 km/h, delivery drivers or those who work outdoors in environments of low visibility.

chaleco reflectante de alta visibilidad

There are different types of vests, for example, the neon high visibility vest enables us to be seen at a distance of 150 metres. It should completely cover the torso and you should ensure that no other items of clothing or objects cover the reflective strips, or the vest won’t do its job. 

You should bear in mind that not all vests are suitable and that high visibility clothing should comply with the standard and characteristics contained within it. Vests can be yellow, orange or red, and should combine fluorescent material with strips of retroreflective material. The minimum amount of fluorescent background material must be 0.5 m² and the retroreflective part should be 0.13 m². In other words, it must incorporate a reflective band of 2.6 metres in length by 5 centimetres in width. It is also important to be aware of the fact that high visibility clothing should be used both day and night, even on very sunny days. Even in these conditions, it is possible for situations to arise where we can’t be seen and we risk being run over. 

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Why is it so important for our personal safety and what makes it so visible from a distance?

It is an active safety element since it helps us to be seen and safeguards us in situations of low visibility. The fluorescent background turns invisible ultraviolet light into visible light and the retroreflective material enables light to be visible in poor lighting conditions.

There are several considerations to think about:

  • A high visibility vest does not last forever. A garment that has been certified and meets the properties of visibility is not guaranteed to keep its qualities intact for more than 25 washes.

  • It is important to use appropriate cleaning products to maintain the garment, especially, the retroreflective strips.

  • Logos can be added to high visibility vests, but it is vital to take the regulations into account.

  • Can I choose a vest that also has vertical strips? Yes, since that will help to increase your visibility.

  • Does one colour of vest have a better visibility than others? According to a study by the DGT (Spanish Directorate General for Traffic), the colours red, orange and yellow are those that increase a pedestrian’s visibility. However, the determining factor is the retroreflective strip. 

  • Is the high visibility vest enough to be seen? Yes, but we can exponentially increase the capacity to be seen in a situation of poor visibility by wearing trousers with retroreflective strips in addition to the vest.

high visibility work vests

Ultimately, we have already proved that being seen is the best way to protect ourselves, in any given moment, from a potential accident or traffic accident in our work area. If in doubt about whether to wear it or not, wear it. Your protection comes first and never doubt for a second that the vest can save your life. Having said all of that, TS2 Ibérica has a wide variety of high visibility workwear and retroreflective materials for road signs. Take a look at all of our catalogue!

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