Everything You Need To Know About Hi-Vis Clothing

Hi-vis clothing also known as High-visibility apparel is a safety wear or reflective clothing. It is designed to make the wearer more visible in low light or hazardous conditions. Hi-vis clothing features fluorescent and bright colors along with reflective strips of various designs and other materials that help reflect light.

Who wears high-vis clothing?

Hi-vis clothing is often used by workers who work in dangerous and risky construction sites.

Such clothing is worn by one to make their appearance visible. Some of the places where Hi-vis clothing is worn are

  • Construction sites: All the workers in construction sites wear such clothing, even demolition crews and repair workers too.
  • Transportation sites: There’s a specific Hi-vis uniform for traffic controllers, airport ground crew, shipping crews, and railroad workers to make them visible.
  • Public safety sites: Police officers during rescue operations, firefighters, paramedics, rescue, and other public safety workers use such clothing.
  • Manufacturing sites: Workers in manufacturing plants, warehouses, and other industrial settings have their own specific apparel, too.
  • Sports: Runners, skaters, cyclists, and other athletes who exercise outdoors or at night. Furthermore, hunters, hikers, kayakers, and cross-country skiers sometimes wear this clothing.

One important point to keep in mind is that all the people who have been mentioned so far don’t wear the same apparel. The design of each hi-vis apparel is different based on the situation it is being worn.

What are different types of Hi-vis apparel

Each apparel is designated by “Type” and “Class” based on the choice and situation in which it is worn. The types of such clothing vary based on the type of environment they are worn in.

There are three types of Hi-vis clothing.

  • Type O or Off-Road clothing
  • Type R or Roadway clothing
  • Type P or public safety clothing

Type O or Off-Road clothing

Type O is often worn in environments and places where visibility is crucial for safety.

These places include construction sites, industrial sites, and bicycle trails. The most common types of this apparel worn are vests and shirts, which are further distinguished on the basis of their designs and color combinations.

Type R or roadway clothing

As the name suggests, this type is worn on highways, parking lots, train stations, bus stations, subways, and other roadways. Its items include vests, jackets, pants, hats, and shirts. The workers need to wear all this clothing to become more visible for their own safety as they are exposed to heavy equipment, road traffic, and associated vehicles. And they also have to deal with a mob of people who are always in a rush.

Type P or Public Safety

This type of hi-vis apparel is used by public safety workers like firefighters, police officers, and paramedics. Such clothing comes in a variety and ranges from vests and jackets to full-body suits with panels and reflective panels and stripes.

What Are Different Classes Of Hi-vis Apparel?

Other than types, hi-vis apparel also has specific classes that indicate the minimum amount of fluorescent and retroreflective material that should be worn on the torso and legs. And so there are three classes of hi-vis clothing specified by ANSI.

Class 1

It is designed for workers who work in traffic sites where the moving speed is less than 25 mph. These places include school crossing yards and parking lots. These apparel should have at least 217 square inches of fluorescent material and 155 square inches of reflective material.

And 0.14 square feet of the fluorescent material should be on the torso and 0.10 square feet of the reflective material should be on both the torso and legs.

Class 2

Class two is for workers who work near traffic where the speed range falls between 25 and 50 mph, such as highway construction workers or utility workers. These hi-vis apparel should have at least 775 square inches of fluorescent material and 201 square inches of reflective material.

The torso should have 0.50 square feet of the fluorescent material, and at least 0.13 square feet of the reflective material should be on the torso and legs.

Class 3

It is for traffic workers where the traffic is over 50 mph, such as flaggers or emergency responders.

These apparel must have at least 12405 square inches of fluorescent material and at least 310 square inches of reflective material. The torso should have 0.80 square feet of the fluorescent material, and 0.20 square feet of the reflective material must be on both the torso and legs. In this apparel, the retroreflective material is also between the shoulders and elbows.

Importance of wearing hi-vis apparel

According to the CDC, there are 123 worker deaths near construction sites, on roadways, and in heavy-machine industries. According to the reports conducted in the year 2019, there were 762 fatal crashes that caused 842 fatalities. These estimates are only about the deaths and not about the injuries that workers and citizens go through.

The main reason is that the workers who work in industries and are in close contact with heavy-duty vehicles are at a higher risk of danger. Therefore, they should wear high-visibility clothing to minimize the risk of injuries not only for themselves but also for other citizens like runners, bikers, dog walkers, etc.

Common Hi-Vis Apparel

The most common and traditional forms of hi-vis clothing are fluorescent lime or orange vests with reflective stripes in an ‘H’ pattern on both the back and front. The reflective stripes of the hi-vis apparel make it more likely that the wearer will be seen at night, which increases their safety, while the fluorescent color makes the wearer visible during the day.

Hi-Vis Color Options

Both the orange and fluorescent lime colors are known to affect conspicuity in daylight conditions positively, and using both colors together is an option when surrounded by a complex background. These two are the top choices when it comes to choosing hi-vis workwear. Orange and lime fluorescent are top choices as they both enhance visibility.

Lime florescent is considered ideal for urban environments because it is brighter, which makes it stand out against neutral-colored buildings.

Orange is commonly used for road work as it shows contrast in areas with heavy foliage and also mimics traffic cones.

What Qualifies Clothing As High-Vis

A garment must meet specific standards for the amount and type of reflective material used to qualify as high-visibility clothing. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) set these standards by specifying the minimum amounts of reflective material used on the apparel.

Material Type of high visibility clothing

Fluorescent and retroreflective materials are commonly used in the manufacturing of high-visibility clothing. Both these materials have different objectives for improving visibility.

Fluorescent: Fluorescent materials make the colors appear extremely bright and vivid and are designed to enhance visibility by absorbing light at one wavelength and emitting it at a longer wavelength.

Retroreflective: Retroreflective materials used in highly visible clothing, on the other hand, are designed to reflect light back to its source over long distances, regardless of the direction from which it comes.

These materials contain prisms or tiny glass beads that reflect light back to their source, making the wearer more visible to others. They are usually more bright at night.


Hi-vis clothing has a special importance in industrial business for safety purposes. However, some brands would highlight their logo on the hi-vis clothes of their workers. Thus, they look for embroidery options and digitizing solutions for these types of clothing. Well, don’t worry because our team of expert digitizers can create a perfectly digitized logo for your company’s hi-vis clothes.

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