Understanding How High-Visibility Clothing Works

Garbage worker wearing high-visibility clothes pushing a cart

In workplaces where safety is at risk, wearing protective clothing is essential. Other than keeping you safe, protective wear can also help in the prevention of injuries and accidents. This will lead to better productivity and efficiency on the part of the employee.

Hi Vis work clothes are among the most common protective wear used in the workplace. 3S Site + Safety Supplies discusses how these types of clothes protect workers.


High visibility clothes are made of a fluorescent material with added reflect tape. The idea is to increase visibility, especially in poor light conditions, such as in a fog or towards dusk. At night, it makes light bounce off the reflective area to make it glow; thus, increasing visibility.


High visibility clothing is colour-coded depending on the industry. Yellow and fluorescent clothing are common among police officers, lorry drivers, postal workers, builders and refuse collectors. For night workers, reflective colours are ideal because fluorescent colours do not show up in the dark. Lifeboat crews have orange life jackets because they are visible in blue and grey waters.

Types of Reflective Materials

There are different types of reflective materials used on high visibility clothes. The most common is glass bead tape, which is low cost and can be easily added to a garment. When light shines on them, they become bright white.

Plastic vinyl is another common reflective material used for high visibility clothes. It has microprismatic characteristic that allows the light around to bounce and return to the source. This type of material is popular on better quality and stylish high visibility items.

Using high visibility clothing can also be helpful in identifying the worker. By looking at the colour of the clothes, people will be able to distinguish a police officer from a construction worker and so on.