Legal Guides

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High visibility clothing – A guide for employers and employees

High visibility clothing is a necessity for anyone working in dark or dangerous conditions, improving the visibility of workers to minimise the risk of an accident, whilst adhering to safety laws.

The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 safeguard workers by ensuring that the correct clothing is being worn whilst carrying out certain tasks.

The role of high visibility clothing

Depending on the worker’s role, responsibilities and tasks, the choice of high visibility (HV) clothing should be reflective of this. Some workers only require one piece of HV clothing, whilst those working in more dangerous conditions can often require HV clothing from head to toe. HV clothing must protect workers during the day, at night, and in adverse weather conditions.

The materials 

High visibility clothing must allow its wearer to stand out in the dark conditions of a working environment and this is why HV clothing is usually fluorescent. HV clothing may also include retroreflective materials that illuminate in the presence of vehicle headlights. Retroreflective trims are usually placed below waist level on jackets or as a strip running downwards along the trouser.

Providing suitable HV clothing

To ensure safety and comfort in the workplace, HV clothing must be well-fitted and comfortable for each individual. It is the employer’s responsibility to provide employees with personal protective equipment (PPE) that is necessary to complete tasks safely and effectively – it must be suitable for all weather conditions – HV coats must be available for warmth in the cold winter months and lightweight HV t-shirts and vests must be available in the summertime.

Regulations andstandards of HV clothing

HV clothing must be manufactured to the recognised standard of the British Standard European Norm (BS EN), with the legal requirements of PPE incorporated into this. It must also be ‘CE’ marked to ensure that it meets the requirements of European manufacture regulations.

Things to remember as an employer

It is solely your responsibility as an employer to ensure that your employees are wearing the correct clothing whilst in the workplace. You must provide HV clothing to all workers who are at risk without PPE, and the equipment you do provide must remain in a good condition throughout its use.  If not, it is again your responsibility to replace it. Suitable storage facilities must also be provided for HV clothing, to ensure the equipment is kept  in the best working condition.

Sufficient information and professional training must be provided to all employees as to how to use and properly handle HV clothing and when it must be worn.

Things to remember as an employee

Whilst it is your employer’s responsibility to provide high visibility clothing, it is your responsibility to wear such clothing.

You must take care of any PPE provided to you, checking for damage prior to wearing it and reporting any faults or damage. Choose clothing that fits you properly and is comfortable. If HV clothing in your size is not supplied, report this to your employer as they have a duty to make sure there is suitable equipment available for every member of staff to use. You must also make use of the storage facilities when you are not required to wear protective equipment.

Author: Ibby Ibraham   Image To Suit You

DISCLAIMER: This article should not be regarded as constituting legal advice in relation to particular circumstances, and is merely a general comment on the relevant topic.

Published on 9th October 2018
(Last updated 7th May 2021)