Being struck by a moving vehicle is one of the most common cause of death in the workplace today. It is therefore essential that any high visibility garment issued to employees conform to all relevant performance standards (EN 471, European Standard for High Visibility Clothing), and are worn and maintained correctly for maximum protection.
In order to comply with all UK and European legislation, you need to ensure that the high visibility garments you buy comply with the following: High visibility clothing conforming to EN 471:2003, Table 1, Class 2 or 3, which must be worn at all times. The colour of the background materials should normally be fluorescent yellow from Table 2 of EN 471:2003. The retroreflective materials should comply with Table 5. The garment must have similar quantities of fluorescent material on the front and back of the garment. The colour box for fluorescent red and red-orange background materials has been made slightly larger. The colour box for fluorescent yellow stays the same, but minimum luminance factor is slightly lower. Reflective material enhances your visibility in low light situations. This reflective material returned light to a light source - such as a vehicle headlights - creating a bright image that motorists are more likely to see from a distance. As a result, motorists and pedestrians have more time to react.
The Manual of Contract Documents is produced by the Highways Agency for all its contractors working on main or trunk roads in the UK. “All those working on or near the roads should wear high visibility warning clothing (Class 2 or 3) complying to EN 471 paragraph 4.2.3(b). Shall have two horizontal bands or retrovreflective material not less than 50mm apart from around the torso and bands of retroreflective material joining the uppermost torso band from the front to the back over each shoulder”. “In addition on motorways or other high speed roads full length sleeved garments should also comply with paragraph 4.2.4 Full length sleeves”.
The GO/RT 3279 standard is based on the European standard EN 471:2003. It requires garments to meet at least class 2 (the mid-point of a 3-class scale) of EN 471 for the minimum area of high visibility materials used within a garment. Whereas the European standard permits several different colours of high visibility materials, the railway standard specifies an orange colour. Railway locomotive headlights pick out retroreflective materials in high visibility clothing. Again the railway standard draws on EN 471:2003 and specifies materials for use that meet the highest level of photometric performance criteria that are specified within the standard. GO/RT 3279 also defines the requirements for a high visibility minivest. These are required to conform to class 1 design requirements of EN 471:2003, except they need to exceed the requirements in EN 471 for both the minimum area of the orange background material and retroreflective tape used in the garment.
Class 3. Highest Protection Level Bands of retroreflective material shall not be less than 50mm wide. Minimum background material 0.80m2, Minimum retroreflective material 0.20m2. A revised version of EN471 was published in March 2004. One of the major changes in this version is that horizontal reflective bands can now have an incline of +20º. Examples of Environments for Class 3 • Workers are at high risk and limited sight distances • Must be identifiable as a person • Exposure to extreme weather conditions • Close proximity where traffic is at speeds greater than 50 MPH
Class 2. Intermediate protection Level Bands of retroreflective material shall not be less than 50mm wide. Minimum background material 0.50m2. Minimum retroreflective material 0.13m2. Examples of Environments for Class 2 • Inclement weather requiring higher visibility • Complex work background • Diversion of vehicular traffic attention • Location is in speed area of greater than 25 MPH
Class 1. Lowest Protection Level Where advanced visibility is an advantage, but for minimal risk/off road purposes only. Bands of retroreflective material shall not be less than 50mm wide. Minimum background material 0.14m2, Minimum retroreflective material 0.10m2. Examples of Environments for Class 1 • Occupations requiring full and undivided attention to approaching traffic • Non-complex work backgrounds • Working separated from traffic • Traffic speed is less than 25 MPH
The dirtier a Hi-Viz garment gets, the less effective it becomes. Make sure that garments are washed regularly, or thrown away when they become too worn. Do not allow sections to be cut off hi-viz garments - the level of protection they provide depends on the areas of fluorescent and retro-reflective materials included within the garment. Make sure that the garment is worn fastened whenever possible to ensure maximum protection and reduce the risk of entanglement with moving machinery etc.