Hi-Vis Hazardwear @ArcoSafety

Ideally employees should not be put in dangerous situations alongside vehicles. However, working situations sometimes mean employees need hi-vis clothing, alongside a range of other controls, to help prevent tragic traffic incidents.

Traffic Incidents in the Workplace

Every year there are over 2,500 RIDDOR incidents involving transport in the workplace and being struck by a vehicle is one of the most common causes of fatal workplace accidents. In 2018-19 there were 30 fatalities in the UK, 20% of all those in a workplace. In Ireland, vehicles are involved in almost half of all work-related deaths reported to the HSA each year. Accidents often involve pedestrians being hit by forklift trucks or reversing lorries whose drivers are unaware of pedestrians nearby.

Preventing Traffic Incidents

For high risk environments, providing EN 20471 compliant high visibility clothing is a simple, cost-effective way to improve the visibility of workers, both day and night. Hi-vis clothing attracts the attention of vehicle operators, gives them more time to react and so reduces the risk of people being hit. It also provides workers with the confidence they need to carry out their job safe from harm.

Genuine hi-vis clothing is made from two materials that aid conspicuity in daylight and at night and in adverse weather:

  • The fluorescent material of hi-vis garments provides daytime visibility.
  • The visibility of a person is aided in low-lighting or at night by retro-reflective tape within the construction of a garment. Retroreflective materials reflect light directly back towards light sources, for example from a pedestrian back towards a driver’s headlights, increasing the wearer’s visibility in darker conditions.

For some jobs, a hi-vis waistcoat may be all that’s needed to make sure others can see and recognise the wearer in time to prevent an incident. However, those workers who are particularly at risk may need full body hi-vis clothing to ensure they are as visible as possible to drivers (eg maintenance workers or marshallers). The greater the risks, the greater the amount of hi-vis clothing needs to be worn.

Safety Standards

European standards help to ensure protective clothing is fit for its advertised purpose. They specify how hi-vis clothing should be designed and perform, and how it should be tested, classified and labelled. To ensure workers stand out in transport areas, hi-vis clothing needs to be selected that has been certified to the appropriate safety standards. The speed of vehicles, traffic density, surrounding environment and likely weather conditions will all affect the level of danger and therefore the type of garments that are needed.

EN Standards for Hi-Vis Clothing

EN ISO 20471:2013 – High-Visibility Clothing – Test Methods and Requirements
RIS-3279-TOM – Railway Industry Specific Requirements

Protection Against Rain

When choosing hi-vis, it’s important it doesn’t create additional hazards, for example by limiting mobility or creating an entrapment hazard. It also needs to protect against all risks, including the weather. Workers who spend time outside may be at risk of hypothermia or ‘cold stress’ during the colder months and heat stress when it’s hot or work is physically strenuous.

EN 343:2019 – Protection Against Rain
EN 14360:2004 for Protective Clothing Against Rain

Flame Resistant (FR)

EN ISO 11612:2015 – Protective Clothing to Protect Against Heat and Flame
EN ISO 11612:2015 – Protective Clothing to Protect Against Heat and Flame

Arco Hazardwear

We have developed a full range of hazard protection clothing to suit all budgets and applications to ensure your employees can always be seen. We have it all, from premium quality GORE-TEX to Arco Essentials; from waterproof jackets to polo shirts; flame resistant yellow hi-vis to railway approved orange hi-vis, for both women and men, plus branding options and a bespoke design service.

Total Weather Protection – The Ultimate in Performance, Protection and Comfort

Arco and Gore have worked together to build world class functional products as proven by rigeous testing.Using two-layer GORE-TEX® Burano fabric which has been engineered to keep workers dry and comfortable in the most challenging conditions and environments.

Offering the ultimate in performance, protection and comfort in extreme weather conditions. Arco and Gore have tested the GORE-TEX product range to exceed the conditions of EN 14360:2004 with no water penetration, even with pressure on the shoulders from straps or when kneeling down. Breathability is the key to comfort at work, and GORE-TEX Laminates are the most breathable available.

Productivity and Effectiveness Studies

Studies have shown that greater comfort helps concentration and thus increased effectiveness and productivity. If a worker’s body temperature gets too high or too low they will be distracted which increases the risk of accidents.

Safety and Comfort Benefits*

Relative accident frequency increases more than 35% with excessive cold and warm work place temperatures.

Temperature Affects Performance**

Performance deteriorates off if the temperature is too hot or cold.

Maintaining Long Term Visibility

It is essential to maintain the cleanliness of high visibility garments. If high visibility garments are dirty the visibility will be compromised.

Often high visibility garments are issued on a seasonal basis. These garments when first purchased will meet the standards specified, designed and certified to in accordance to the manufacturer’s instruction. However, consideration should be taken to the maintenance of the garments. During the lifetime of the products dirt, oil and grease, will frequently come into contact with the fabric. If the garments are not adequately washed and cleaned there is the potential that the garments, when required to protect in low levels of light, no longer work to the desired effect.

Care and attention should be paid to ensuring that wearers understand the reasons for wearing the protective clothing, and why the background conspicuous material and retro reflective tape help provide additional visibility in different lighting situations.

Care Instructions

Each garment will have specific care instructions printed on the garment label: it is important that these are reviewed before garments are laundered.

  • Wash at a low temperature as recommended on the care label with a gentle detergent, do not use softener.
  • Do not bleach your garments.
  • To remove a stubborn stain, test a small hidden area with a commercial stain remover before using it on a place that shows. You may find certain stains have to be removed professionally.
  • Rinse well.
  • Replace garments after the number of washes stated on the care label if optimum levels of high visibility performance are needed.

Arco hazardwear engineered with GORE-TEX Fabrics can be washed at 60°c while maintaining durable waterproofness, and colour fastness. The GORE-SEAM® Tape technology has also been formulated to withstand numerous washes.