Every day, millions of men and women put on their high visibility button down shirts, hi vis cargo pants, or an orange safety vest and head off to work. It’s no secret that high visibility clothing has had a massively positive impact on worker safety in a variety of fields, but how did we get here?
The first high-visibility fabric paint was created in the 1930s by Bob Switzer. The neon paint was created by mixing wood varnish and fluorescent minerals, which Switzer called Day-Glo. Soon after its creation, Day-Glo made its way into the toy sector and even the military. Around the same time, neon panels were used to send signals to planes and buoys were covered in fluorescent paint to indicate which areas were cleared of mines.
Over the next few decades, Day-Glo made its way into fabric and material to be used for clothing. It became a major part of workwear around the world. By 1999, the United States issued a set of standards that would be used to decide which types of workers needed to wear high visibility clothing. The standards were as follows:
- Class 1: when workers are in an environment with low risk of hazards due to slow-moving vehicles, they are required to wear a high visibility vest with one-inch-wide reflective strips, with a minimum of 217 square inches of hi vis material.
- Class 2: when workers are in an environment where vehicles are moving up to 25 MPH, they are required to wear high visibility workwear with over 755 square inches of hi vis material.
- Class 3: when workers are in an environment with fast moving vehicles, they are required to have 1,240 square inches of hi vis fabric with two-inch reflective bands.
Throughout the years, changes have been made to these standards to clarify which colors certain types of employees should wear and to allow for modifications to be made to the workwear.
There is a large variety of high visibility workwear available today such as:
- High visibility button down shirts
- Cargo work pants with reflective tape
- Hi vis work jackets, sweatshirts, and vests
- High visibility rain jackets and winter jackets
There’s no denying that high visibility clothing, warning signs, and safety gear help reduce the risk of workplace injuries and deaths. As of 2015, 4,836 employees were killed each year on the job, and that averages out to 13 deaths every day. All companies have a duty to keep their employees as safe as possible and ensure that workplace safety is always a priority. To find high quality, high visibility clothing that helps keep employees safe, contact Transportation Safety Apparel today.