WHY USE HIGH VISIBILITY CLOTHING AT THE WORKPLACE
There has been an ongoing debate about wearing high visibility clothing at work and many employers are wondering if it’s worth supplying their staff with this type of apparel. What are the benefits of using hi-vis workwear? Why should companies equip their workforce with it? At best, employees that operate in industries such as construction, road maintenance, and airports should be wearing high visibility clothing to help reduce the risks of injuries and accidents.
Hi-vis clothing is designed to enhance the wearer’s visibility by using reflective materials and fluorescent colours. These materials vary in terms of washability and visibility ratings, thus making it extremely important to choose the right one for the job. For example, colours such as fluorescent yellow, orange, and green make it easier for employees to identify each other at the job site. On the other hand, retroreflective materials (the strip of tape that wraps around high-vis clothing) last for a certain amount of washes after which, their reflective properties get compromised.
Aside from employee safety, there are a number of reasons why using hi-vis clothing can prove beneficial for your staff. Let’s take a look at why you should use high visibility clothing inside the workplace.
Hi-vis clothing does more than just enhance worker visibility. It enables the wearer to be easily identified which is crucial on a roadside construction or in low-light situations. Employees who wear hi-vis apparel are more visible to drivers of vehicles and moving equipment. This helps protect them against workplace hazards that are a result of poor visibility such as car accidents and getting dragged along by moving machinery.
Some companies make the mistake of supplying their workers with dark-coloured clothing such as grey, dark green, or blue. The chances of the employees getting struck by vehicles and/or heavy equipment are much higher because they can be difficult to distinguish from their surroundings. To reduce such risks, hi-vis clothing ensures that the wearer can immediately be seen from a safe distance so drivers and operators can manoeuvre their vehicles and pass them safely.
Managers, employers, and supervisors must meet specific WHS requirements (Work, Health, and Safety) set out in their territory or state to ensure they comply with safety laws and the hi-vis clothing complies with legislative requirements. One such example is the AS/NZ 4602.1: 2011. This standard denotes the design of the clothing and makes them suitable for a wide range of conditions. There are three classifications; class D, class N, and class D/N, all of which have different requirements in terms of the colour, the fabric, and the reflective material used.
Hi-vis clothing function as a primary source of protection against certain hazards, which is why in most countries, the use of hi-vis gear is required. Federal standards are set to ensure that the safety apparel is compliant and designed in the most optimal way possible. This can help reduce the risks of unwanted accidents maintain workplace safety in an effective manner.
One aspect of hi-vis clothing that most companies don’t take advantage of is the marketing aspect. Hi-vis gear can be printed with the company’s logo or text which makes it easier for their clients and employees to distinguish themselves from the competition. Do note however that there are standards set for how large the logos and texts are. According to the AS/NZ 4602.1: 2011 standard, logos on hi-vis clothing should not exceed 10cm x 10cm in order to be compliant.
Decorated safety gear can also help increase public awareness about the company, especially if your staff are operating in a well-populated environment. Not only that, but hi-vis clothing can extend to other industries such as retail stores. Sporting goods stores supply their staff with hi-vis polo shirts and t-shirts to catch people’s attention. Because of the enhanced visibility, the staff can be easily seen by potential customers, thus leading to more engagement and sales.
Using hi-vis clothing can help improve your marketing efforts and draw in more foot traffic to your business. Who knows, you may even find a new client through an email or phone number that’s prominently displayed on a t-shirt or a hi-vis jacket.
With hi-vis clothing, you can increase your ability to monitor, supervise, and track your employees. You’ll be able to identify which ones are doing their job properly and which ones aren’t. Workers are more likely to be productive when they know they are easily supervised, which transitions into better work efficiency and more projects completed on time.
Also, knowing that the employees themselves are safeguarded from workplace hazards means they can confidently perform their tasks. Working on a job site can be taxing to employees, especially if they worry about their health and their safety. By wearing hi-vis clothing, they can focus more on the task at hand.
Hi-vis clothing does more than just enhance the wearer’s visibility. You can strongly convey your brand image, increase the productivity of your staff, and make them easier to identify by using hi-vis clothing. Employers have the responsibility of ensuring their staff is well-protected from various workplace hazards. The use of high visibility clothing can make a huge difference in terms of overall safety for the workers. When used with the right PPE (personal protective equipment), hi-vis clothing can significantly reduce the risks of injuries and accidents inside the workplace.