One of the most common causes of accidents in the workplace is poor visibility. Employees who operate or work around vehicles and heavy machinery, as well as those who may need to work during the night or during bad weather, face a higher risk of work-related accidents.
For their safety and protection, these workers should wear the right garments, such as hi visibility workwear, to ensure they are highly visible at all times on site.
What is Hi Vis Workwear?
Hi Visibility or Hi Vis workwear refers to a type of clothing that is specially made to keep employees visible and safe. These items are made with fluorescent or highly reflective materials so they can be easily seen against almost any background. Hi Vis safety wear comes in a wide range, including jackets, vests, coveralls, shirts, and helmets.
Hi Vis workwear is recommended for anyone who works with or around machines and vehicles, especially in industries such as construction, traffic management, transportation, manufacturing, warehousing, towing, and more.
Understanding Australian Hi Vis Standards
It is important to keep up to date with the latest safety standards for your industry in Australia, so you can ensure the safety of you and your staff, as well as avoid unnecessary fines and penalties.
There are several Australian standards to comply with when it comes to hi visibility garments:
This standard must be met by all hi visibility garments used for high-risk applications, which includes exposure to hazards such as moving vehicles, equipment, and other high-risk situations. In this standard, there are three different classes for different times of day:
Clothing in this class is designed to be worn during the daytime only. These garments keep the wearer easily seen under daylight conditions but are quite ineffective in darker situations. An example of a Class D garment is a polo shirt that features fluoro yellow or orange material on the torso, without a tape.
These garments are designed for night-time use, and they provide high visibility in the dark when under retro-reflected light (i.e. vehicle headlights). To meet the requirements of Class N, the clothing must have a reflective tape of at least 50mm wide, and in either a Hoop, X back or H pattern configuration.
Garments in Class D/N are designed for both day and night use and must meet the requirements of both Class D and Class N above. For example, a hi vis polo shirt that features fluoro yellow or orange material on the torso, with reflective tape.
This standard involves hi vis and retro-reflective materials and devices used for road traffic control. It specifies the physical properties for the various high visibility materials, along with the photometric and colorimetric qualities. In this standard, materials are classified into three classes:
Fluorescent fabric in this class can only be used during the day. E.g. hi vis yellow and oranges. There is an additional classification of NF for non fluoro compliance, for example, these are only relevant for garments made from natural fiber fabrics such as cotton or wool.
This is for reflective fabric designed for night use only, such as 3M reflective tape.
This refers to both fluorescent and reflective fabric for both day and nighttime use. E.g. yellow reflective tape.
It is also important to note that the washing process can slowly disintegrate the reflective properties of these materials. These items should be inspected on a regular basis, as most reflective tapes used in Australia typically remain compliant for about 30 washes.
There is an additional classification of W for wet compliance, for example Class F(W).These are only relevant for rainwear garments.
Workers who are exposed to the elements should put on clothing with UPF protection. The Australian Standard for this is AS/NZS 4399 (UV Protection), and for maximum protection, you should check that the UPF rating on your garment is in the 40-50+ Excellent Category.
Why You Need Hi Vis Workwear
Still considering if you need hi vis clothing in your workplace? Here are some benefits to having hi vis garments:
A more secure work environment
Introducing hi visibility workwear to your business is an effective way to reduce the risk of accidents and injuries. When you provide a safer work environment, your workers will have more peace of mind and confidence, which will result in better morale and higher productivity.
Ensures compliance to statutory requirements
As mentioned, hi vis workwear is a legal requirement in certain industries, especially those that require employees to work with and around machinery, vehicles, and traffic. Failing to comply with these requirements may result in fines or worse penalties.
Boost your corporate identity
Business owners can utilise hi visibility workwear to promote the identity or awareness of your brand. Printed logos can be added to the safety garments, and your team can be given a uniformed, customised set of hi vis clothing. Besides increasing the awareness of your brand, this can also foster a team spirit as well as help you identify your employees and keep unauthorised people from entering your premises.
WorkArmour offers a wide range of premium quality hi vis workwear in Australia that are compliant and safe to use. We also provide volume discount prices and custom branding services. To find out more about our workwear in Melbourne, please contact our team directly.