Today, in more and more industries, employees need to wear safety workwear. In particular, this applies to industries where a large part of the work takes place near traffic, cranes and other motorised vehicles, as well as work that takes place in the dark. And it is a good investment. EN ISO 20471 certified safety workwear keeps employees safe while they concentrate on work. The employees will be visible at night, during the day, and from all angles, including from the rear where it is impossible for them to see. With the right EN ISO 20471 safety workwear, neither reflectors nor the fluorescent material will be hidden by blind angles.
The 3 Components of Hi-Vis Clothing
EN ISO 20471 sets out the high-visibility clothing regulations for the design and performance of each element of a garment. There are usually three main components:
1. The fluorescent material
This boosts visibility during daylight hours and can also increase visibility at night.
2. The reflective strips
These are designed to enhance visibility during the darker hours of the day. Reflective strips require a light source to work and create retro-reflection. They are essential for those working at night.
There are different types of high-visibility angle strips, the most common being “glass beads reflective”. These need to be carefully maintained to ensure the garment remains fit for purpose and fully compliant. The standard stipulates that a CE marked and certified garment should have reflective strips around the legs and sleeves, so be sure to consider this when selecting hi-vis long-sleeved garments, jackets (such as bomber jackets and hi-vis fleeces) and hi-vis work trousers.
3. The contrast material
Some hi-vis clothing is designed with darker-coloured parts that are less sensitive to dirt than the fluorescent material and reflective strips, without which the functionality would diminish. The areas covered with the contrast fabric tend to be where dirt is most likely to build up — for example, the sleeve ends and across the abdomen on hi-vis fleeces and jackets, and the ankle and knee sections of hi-vis work trousers and waterproof trousers.
EN ISO 20471 is divided into three classes, in accordance to the risk zone you work in and to how well the product is able to protect the employee. It is the visibility requirement – and thus the requirement for the area consisting of reflectors and fluorescent materials – that determines which class you need to choose. In all products, the reflecting ability of all reflectors fulfils what previously corresponded to class 2.
Minimum areas of visible materials in m^2.
|Class 3||Class 2||Class 1|
Hi-Vis Class 1 Description: The lowest level of visibility
Items that commonly meet class 1 include hi-vis trousers when worn separately from other hi-vis garments.
Hi-Vis Class 2 Description: The intermediate level of visibility
Items that commonly meet class 2 include hi-vis sleeveless vests.
Hi-Vis Class 3 Description: The highest level of visibility
Items that commonly meet class 3 are hi-vis jackets and sleeved hi-vis vests.
Class 3 can be achieved in 2 ways:
1. By wearing an individual garment rated as class 3
2. By wearing jointly certified products that make up class 3 based on the total area of fluorescent and reflective material
You can identify when products are jointly certified by looking on the inner label where the joint article will be stated.