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Your ultimate guide to Hi Vis

When it comes to workplace safety, Hi Vis could be the most important purchase you make - so here's your ultimate guide to everything you need to know.

As a one-solution supplier of PPE and workwear, helping you understand Hi Vis is an important part of helping you stay safe in the workplace. Whether an employer or an employee, everybody has a responsibility to understand why and how Hi Vis is chosen, worn, and looked after.

We can help you with the key questions that you should ask yourself when looking at your Hi Vis: Is it suitable for the risk? Is it suitable for the task at hand? Is it suitable for the wearer? Is it compatible with other forms of PPE? And importantly, does it meet the recognised standards required?

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What is Hi Vis and what is Hi Vis for?

The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 requires employers to ensure that PPE is provided when it’s needed to protect the wearer from one or more risks to their health and safety.

Hi Vis clothing is essential for keeping workers safe when working near traffic, cranes, forklifts, or other vehicles. It’s an essential piece of clothing when working at night or in low-light conditions.

The primary role of Hi Vis is to separate wearers from their background environment quickly, at a distance, and from all angles. Hi Vis lowers the risk of accidents and injuries happening on site.

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What is Hi Vis made from and how does Hi Vis work?

Hi Vis comes in different colours. The most common choice is fluorescent yellow, often coupled with reflective strips to add extra visibility to the jacket. Regardless, each colour has the same properties:

Hi Vis pigments

Hi Vis clothing contains special pigments which are brighter than normal colours. These colours reflect invisible violet light from the sun as a bright, visible light. The effect of this glow is stronger at times of poor visibility, like dusk and dawn.

Hi Vis also works by using light from other sources. At night, light from sources such as car headlights bounces off the reflective areas to make the Hi Vis tape glow, increasing night-time visibility.

Hi Vis clothing uses one of two materials to create its Hi Vis effect:

  • Micro Prismatic tape - Micro-prismatic tape is made of a special type of plastic vinyl that contains many small prisms. These prisms inside the tape bounce light around internally before reflecting it back at the source. The light that’s reflected from this material travels far and holds its intensity well, creating a Hi Vis glow.
  • Glass bead reflective tape - Glass bead reflective tape is more commonly used for Hi Vis. It’s the material used on the silver-grey strips that are common on commercial Hi Vis clothing. It’s a more affordable material, but reflects light from a source at a wider angle, meaning light doesn’t travel as far as Micro Prismatic Hi Vis.

Your FREE Hi Vis Responsibilities Guide...

If you’re responsible for health & safety, then you need to make sure that the correct Hi Vis clothing is supplied to anyone working in dark or dangerous conditions.

Whilst it is the employer’s responsibility to provide Hi Vis when needed, it is the employee’s responsibility to wear it. But what else is everyone responsible for?

Click here to download your FREE guide >>

Where do you need Hi Vis and who needs to wear Hi Vis?

There are many factors that decide when to wear Hi Vis clothing. This includes the task being performed, the location, and most importantly the surrounding working environment.


Hi Vis clothing is most frequently worn to alert drivers and other equipment operators of where workers are located. This is often seen in the construction industry or on industrial premises.


Hi Vis is also worn in large storage aisles, warehouses, or places with forklifts operating. Hi Vis jackets, and even full body Hi Vis is needed, depending on the lighting conditions of the workplace.


As well as for safety, Hi Vis can also be used to identify staff, security, and authorised personnel at a corporate level. Especially at access-controlled areas where security can be an issue.


During an emergency, it’s vital that medical staff and emergency services can be found quickly. Hi Vis clothing helps them stand out in a crowd and be approached easily even during a commotion.


What is the EN 20471 Hi Vis standard?

As Hi Vis plays such a vital role in the safety of workers, it's important that these garments, such as Hi Vis vests, coveralls, t-shirts, polo shirts, trousers, and jackets, have EN 20471 certification.

EN 20471 is an international standard of requirements for Hi Vis workwear. And it applies even if you are working in areas where visibility is important for only a short part of the working day.

AA Hi Vis

Can you put your brand on Hi Vis?

We can advise as to how and where to put your company name on Hi Vis PPE. This is key if you are to maintain the effectiveness of the garment, whilst also ensuring your brand is easily recognised.

We offer the complete design and application branded clothing and PPE experience. Our trained operatives can add any logo to uniforms, workwear, and PPE, to create a unique look for your brand.

Download your FREE Hi Vis Responsibilities Guide...

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Hi Vis Responsibilities Guide

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Have questions about Hi Vis safety?

Call us on 01202 718000 or fill out a the contact form and we'll get back to you!

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