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The use of High Visibility Clothes as safety apparel

It is wiser to try and prevent workplace risks rather than deal with the resulting negative effects. That is why reflective clothing or high visibility clothes are considered a form of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

Is it required in every workplace?

High visibility clothes that are PPE compliant are required for a specific group of workers. This is determined by the following.

- The workplace environment and the expected dangers, e.g. Operation of heavy machinery.

- The features of the work involved, for example, handling dangerous objects

- The amount of natural and artificial light available

- Indoor or outdoor working environment

- Length of time spent in the hazard area.

- Ease of communication and identification of other workers.

How to pick the right gear

Most work places that require their staff to wear PPE have guidelines on the best type available. Some work places require fully fluorescent work clothes while some just require work apparel with fluorescent stripes. The basic colour used should be fluorescent yellow green or fluorescent orange red. This colour stands out against a background of any colour.

The gear should fit well because loose fitting work wear can predispose one to accidents. It should be comfortable and light so that it can be worn on top of other clothing. If the work is based outside, then the gear should be suitable for warm weather and for rain or cold weather. Two different sets may be necessary.

Classes of high visibility clothes

These classes are based on the projected risks of the job. Class one is low risk. These workstations are not complex and injury can be minimised if enough diligence is applied. Class two poses a medium risk. The work area is complex and there is a greater challenge of visibility. There is an additional risk of proximity to machinery and/or vehicles. The last class is the high risk which factors in high speed, machinery and human movement. High visibility clothes are required here the most to avoid accidents as a result of human error.