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The Standard of High Visibility Clothing

Updated: Feb 15

When choosing a high visibility apparel, there are a few important things to consider. The

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fabric used must be fluorescent. Fluorescent fabrics are bright against the background and increase visibility, particularly in low-lit environments and at night. All apparel rated to this standard should be fluorescent to some degree. Fortunately, the majority of clothing meets this standard. This article explains the standards and identifies what to look for when choosing high visibility apparel.

EN ISO 20471

The EN ISO 20471 for high visibility clothing specifies the safety requirements and test methods for hi-vis workwear. It applies to high-risk situations and the requirements are specific to workwear that is used in hazardous environments. It also incorporates design guidelines for hi-vis garments and emphasizes appropriate cleaning tests. The standard requires the appropriate level of visibility and the CE marking of the garment. However, it does not require the specific materials to be used.

The international standard EN ISO 20471 defines the required characteristics of high visibility protective clothing. This clothing must be highly visible in any light, including sunlight. The wearer must be easily recognizable to drivers even in darkness. The standard specifies minimum areas, reflective material placement, and colour requirements. The requirements apply to both fluorescent and reflective materials. Some types of high visibility clothing are both fluorescent and reflective. They can be combined, depending on the size and color requirements.

Classification system

The EN ISO 20471:2013 standard specifies requirements for high visibility clothing. To achieve the highest level of visibility, high visibility garments must contain minimum areas of visible high-visibility materials. The highest level of conspicuity is provided by class 3 garments. These garments can meet a specific performance class with a single garment or an ensemble. A class 2 jacket and a pair of trousers can be combined to make a class 3 ensemble.

To determine which garments meet safety standards, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has created a classification system for high visibility clothing. There are three classes of high-vis clothing: Class I, Class II, and Class III. The classification system outlines the minimum levels of high-visibility materials and other technical requirements. The wearer should select the appropriate class based on the risk associated with the job. Class 1 garments are appropriate for workers who are separated from traffic. Class 2 garments are for highway construction, utility workers, survey crews, emergency personnel, and flaggers. Class 3 garments are recommended for workers who have little separation from traffic.


There are various requirements for safety testing and evaluation of high visibility clothing. The International Standard has specific requirements for the safety and functionality of high-visibility apparel. These include the design of garments with fluorescent and retroreflective materials. The selection of the appropriate combination of retroreflective and fluorescent materials should also take ergonomic factors into consideration. SGS conducts these tests to ensure that the safety of high-visibility clothing is not compromised.

The minimum requirements for reflective clothing are determined by testing methods and measurement values. Most tests are carried out on new materials or preconditioned ones to simulate load conditions. However, the results of laboratory tests are not necessarily indicative of actual conditions. For instance, the distinctiveness performance of a garment may vary according to usage conditions, solar radiation, and storage conditions. Therefore, it is important to understand the minimum requirements for high-visibility clothing before purchasing high-visibility clothing.

Requirements for certification

The CSA lists three classes of garments based on their level of visibility. Each class covers different areas of the body - the neck, waist, and limbs. Class 1 provides the least amount of body coverage, while Class 2 provides a moderate level. Class 3 offers the greatest body coverage, which is crucial for ensuring workers are visible to others at a distance. These garments should be worn by workers who have complex backgrounds or must remain visible under poor lighting conditions.

High-visibility clothing is often required in the construction industry. Class 1 garments are worn by workers in low-traffic areas and may be visible up to 100 feet. However, they are not appropriate for highway construction, warehouse workers, or pedestrians working in parking lots or sidewalks. Class 2 garments, on the other hand, are designed for workers on public roads where traffic speed does not exceed 50 km/h. However, Class 3 garments are recommended for emergency responders and road construction crews.

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