Ensuring the longevity of your hi-vis PPE: a maintenance guide

Maintaining youir PPE
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Visibility that lasts, safety that matters – Secure your workplace with proper maintenance of hi-vis PPE.

Maintaining PPE is crucial for safeguarding against workplace hazards and ensuring the well-being of workers. Regular upkeep of PPE, such as hi-vis gear, plays a pivotal role in sustaining optimal safety standards. Proper maintenance enhances the longevity and effectiveness of protective equipment, reducing the risk of accidents or injuries.

Thorough cleaning, inspection, and careful preservation are key practices for sustaining safety standards and minimising potential hazards in the working environment.

Hi Vis Men

Hi-Vis Workwear

Hi-vis workwear, also known as hi-vis workwear, is essential for safety in different workplaces like industrial, warehouses, security, and construction. These clothes are made to improve visibility and awareness, minimising the chances of accidents and injuries in settings with low light, bad weather, or heavy machinery. They make workers stand out, ensuring they are easily noticed from a distance and from any angle.

Why is Hi Vis PPE maintenance important?

Hi Vis PPE is a standard of protection that is tested rigorously. But if Hi Vis PPE is not maintained properly, then there is the risk that it’s not keeping you safe. And there are no compromises when it comes to safety, so care for it as per the instructions, and only use it for as long as it tells you to.

Maintaining your PPE ensures its effectiveness is maintained, and means it’s not replaced as often, saving your business money in the long run. This is just as important as making sure each role is allocated to the right products. Regular cleaning is essential to maintain the effectiveness of certain types of personal protective equipment (PPE), especially clothing. Hi-vis jackets, trousers, and coveralls should be cleaned regularly to ensure that the retroreflective strips remain easily identifiable.

Whose responsibility is it to maintain Hi Vis clothing?

Under PPER 1992, the standard regulations state that PPE 'must be properly looked after and stored when not in use', ensuring that the employer is responsible for the maintenance, storage and replacement of any PPE they provide.

So what can we do? At Tower, we can help you find the right Hi Vis PPE to keep you safe in the workplace. We can also give you access to our platform, CtrlCloud, which keeps you in control of how and what you order, and more importantly, who can access the right PPE for their role.

What we CAN’T do is maintain PPE for you. That responsibility lies with you and your employees. So how do you maintain Hi Vis PPE?

Check out our video below where our Divisional Managing Director for National Accounts, Mark Dowling, breaks down everything you need to know about PPE maintenance.

Do you need to maintain Hi Vis PPE?

Maintaining Hi Vis is an essential responsibility. Hi Vis is PPE. And as with all types of PPE, it needs to be checked over before it’s used, maintained properly, and stored correctly. If this isn’t done, then it might not be able to properly perform its job as the last the line of defence against risk. Storage is also important to maintain the protective qualities of the item. Keep it in a clean, dry and well-ventilated place where it can be easily accessed and not exposed to any damaging conditions.

Can you wash Hi Vis PPE?

When it comes to cleaning Hi-Vis garments, it is important to carefully read any instructions or care labels on washing and drying to ensure the garment isn't damaged in the process. Yes of course you can wash Hi Vis. But it needs to be washed according to the care instructions. This will tell you how and when to wash the Hi Vis, and the maximum number of washes (it can be as few as 25!). These care instructions will be found on the label somewhere inside the Hi Vis PPE. Not laundering Hi-Vis PPE correctly may affect protective qualities such as flame resistance and arc flash protection.

Hi Vis clothing should be washed with detergents that don’t contain certain types of Optical Brightening agents (OBA’s), to avoid damaging the fabric and tape luminosity. Detergent packaging will normally state whether OBA’s are present or not within their wash chemistry as standard.

Multiple washes will inevitably result in the colours of base fabric and the brightness of reflective tape fading away. We recommend that you try to reduce the number of routine washes, and instead wipe and dust the uniform regularly. This will significantly extend the life of the Hi Vis garment.

How do care instructions help?

By law all Hi Vis PPE must come with instructions, including life-saving information on how to properly combine safety helmets, ear protection, and eye protection. But it also includes guidance on how to safely store and inspect PPE. Be sure to ask your Hi Vis PPE wearers to read this carefully.

How to check Hi Vis PPE

Just like all PPE, you should check Hi Vis PPE before every use. Don’t just throw it on! Make sure it’s completely intact, check the reflective tape is not loose or hanging off in any way, make sure it is still clean and bright, and ensure there are no signs of wear that might make the Hi Vis PPE defective

Maintenance checklist

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PPE Maintenance Checklist

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Is it ok to change or adapt PPE?

Please don’t do this. You cannot adapt the Hi Vis PPE. PPE is tested to perform only in the state it is in when you receive it. If you change or adapt it, such as shortening the sleeves, taking off any of the reflective tape, or reducing the amount of Hi Vis colour on display, it may no longer be of standard.

When contemplating the provision of reusable hi-visibility clothing, what factors should the employer take into consideration?

  • Conduct a risk assessment to match the clothing's risk level with specific work conditions.
  • Properly store the clothing in a dry, clean place when not in use, and ensure regular cleaning and maintenance.
  • Provide sufficient clothing for wearers to wash and repair as needed. Offer clear information, training, and instructions on correct usage, including associated risks and when to wear the clothing.
  • Clearly define responsibilities for PPE maintenance within the organisation.
  • Supervise to ensure correct usage by employees, visitors, and subcontractors when needed.

Tower Supplies can make it easier for you to know and understand the usage of your PPE

Hi Vis PPE is the last line of defence. You should first eliminate, or physically move, the risk. This is the best method for ensuring PPE is only used when you need it. Contact us today to find out more about choosing, buying, and maintaining your PPE by filling out the contact form below.

Mark Dowling6 TOWER21
Mark Dowling
Vice President of Global Operations

A leading authority on the cruise industry, Mark has board-level experience and has been involved in cruise since 1995, moving his focus to suppling cruise in 2014.

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