It's now been two decades since the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations (1992) came into force, and it's certain that lives have been saved and injuries avoided because of this smart health and safety move. One of the most instantly recognizable items of PPE and possibly one of the most commonly used is high visibility safety wear.
High visibility clothing has many different applications and is used in a multitude of different working environments. People working at night or in dingy warehouses, construction workers, and those in busy and fast-moving jobs such as ground staff at airports all need to be easily identified to avoid accidents.
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However, while most employers understand that they have a legal obligation to provide this equipment, it's just as important to ensure that it's been manufactured to the correct standards and is reviewed regularly to make sure it's still doing the job properly.
Keeping your equipment in tip-top condition
Any safety wear or equipment needs to be able to perform adequately for its purpose – ultimately, if you're wearing high visibility clothes but its visibility is compromised, it's next to pointless.
For those working in dusty or dirty environments, the high visibility equipment needs to be kept clean; over time, a build-up of grime can soon negate any reflective properties and age can have an impact on the functionality of these items too.
It's not just worn and tear that can stop these items from being ineffective either – with a wealth of inferior products on the market, it's essential that you investigate the quality of your PPE before you buy anything.
High visibility clothing has to comply with British Standards – if you're ready to make a purchase, check the labels first; if you can't see BS EN471 anywhere, then bin the basket and hotfoot it to an alternative supplier! It's also essential to consider any other properties that may be required by your employees, such as warmth, fire resistance, or waterproofing, depending on the conditions in which they work.