Accidents happen –they are inexplicable and unavoidable.
Yet, there are times when you can prevent them by using simple and effective clothing.
Unlike working in an office, where the workplace risks are minimal, working on a construction site or near heavy vehicles increases the risk of fatalities. PPE – especially high-visibility clothing – goes a long way in ensuring worker safety and productivity.
High-visibility apparel, or hi-vis, is personal protective clothing typically worn by workers to increase their visibility on the job site. It is worn to alert equipment operators or drivers of the worker’s presence. It is crucial to wear hi-vis clothing when working near heavy vehicles and road construction. Hi-vis clothing also ensures workers are more clearly visible at night and when they might be blocked by barriers, trees, or construction equipment.
A survey published in Science Direct involving 6700 cyclists found that when cyclists wore hi-vis clothing, it reduced accidents by nearly 47%.
The Australian Government mandates High-visibility clothing to keep workers safe and minimize risk while on the job.
What is the Science Behind Hi-Vis Clothing?
Before we start getting into the benefits of wearing hi-vis clothing, let’s understand the science behind it.
The principle behind hi-vis clothing is to make the wearer visible– even in poor lighting conditions. Wearing some kind of hi-vis clothing is better than no hi-vis. However, just wearing a bright vest is not going to guarantee visibility – even during the day.
Hi-vis clothing – overalls, trousers, vests, headgear, and bibs – are made using fluorescent materials with prominently placed reflective strips or tapes to enhance visibility.
Fluorescent materials, through special pigments, react with a portion of the sun’s rays – particularly ultraviolet rays – making the colors ‘glow’ during the day. This ‘glowing’ effect is also perceived strongly during poor light conditions, such as late evenings or fog.
Now, let’s talk about the second part of the clothing – the reflective strips. Retroreflective material reflects light towards its source. These tapes are most useful in dark and low-light conditions. However, they don’t make much difference during the day. So, when using retro reflective tapes on fluorescent materials, they make the most difference.
Benefits of Wearing High Visibility Apparel
Hi-vis clothing protects the workers from injuries and keeps bystanders from harm and equipment from damage.
It is the Law!
Australian law mandates that workers exposed to dangers from moving vehicles, heavy machinery, or in high-risk situations at the workplace should wear high visibility clothing. Employers are required to provide workers with hi-vis clothing and gear absolutely free of cost. According to the safety rules on workwear Melbourne, legal action can be taken on employees if they refuse to comply with the law.
You could easily blend in with the background if you wore everyday clothes. But, with hi-vis clothing, you could stand out distinctly. For example, a speeding car won’t be able to spot you if you wore dark coloured clothing at night. But, you would be spotted easily when you wear fluorescent clothing with reflective tapes – even from a distance. It will give drivers more time to react and avert an accident.
With high visibility clothing, the risk of being run-over or back-over by forklifts or backhoe is also significantly reduced. The construction industry has one of the highest numbers of fatalities and injuries. A large percentage of these injuries can be prevented by using hi-vis workwear.
It is not rocket science to understand that workers perform better when working in safe environments. The workplace morale boosts and their productivity also improves.
Selecting the Right High Vis Apparel
Just because you are wearing a shiny bright orange shirt doesn’t mean you are safe from harm. At best, you are visible during the day, and at worst, you are an eye-sore. It is essential to select suitable high visibility garments for the proper purpose.
According to Australian standards, hi-vis clothing – without the reflective tapes – is meant to be worn during the daytime as they are most effective under daylight conditions. Hi-vis apparel – with both fluorescent and reflective materials is suitable for both day and night use.
Hi-vis gear should comply with the standards set by the law and ensure worker comfort and apparel durability. To maintain quality and durability, it is important to train the workers in appropriate PPE usage and maintenance.
You can get much more information on selecting the correct hi-vis workwear online. Hi-vis clothing is proven to prevent work-related fatalities in dangerous environments such as construction sites, industrial areas, or where heavy machinery/vehicles move around. And it is important to choose the proper hi-vis workwear in Melbourne that adheres to Australian standards.