European Standard for High-Visibility Safety Apparel
EN ISO 20471 certified safety workwear keeps employees safe while they concentrate on work. The employees will be visible at night, during the day, and from all angles, including from the rear where it is impossible for them to see. With the right EN ISO 20471 safety workwear, neither reflectors nor the fluorescent material will be hidden by blind angles.
The 3 Components of Hi-Vis Clothing
EN ISO 20471 sets out the high-visibility clothing regulations for the design and performance of each element of a garment. There are usually three main components:
1. The fluorescent material
This boosts visibility during daylight hours and can also increase visibility at night.
2. The reflective strips
These are designed to enhance visibility during the darker hours of the day. Reflective strips require a light source to work and create retro-reflection. They are essential for those working at night.
There are different types of high-visibility angle strips, the most common being “glass beads reflective”. These need to be carefully maintained to ensure the garment remains fit for purpose and fully
compliant.The standard stipulates that a CE marked and certified garment should have reflective strips around the legs and sleeves, so be sure to consider this when selecting hi-vis long-sleeved garments , jackets (such as bomber jackets and hi-vis fleeces) and hi-vis work trousers.
3. The contrast material
Some hi-vis clothing is designed with darker-coloured parts that are less sensitive to dirt than the fluorescent material and reflective strips, without which the functionality would diminish. The areas cover-ed with the contrast fabric tend to be where dirt is most likely to build up — for example, the sleeve ends and across the abdomen on hi-vis fleeces and jackets, and the ankle and knee sections of hi-vis work trousers and waterproof trousers.
EN ISO 20471 is an international standard that imposes requirements on visible workwear for employees in high-risk areas. Using the right safety workwear is important and must be prioritised. Even if working in areas where visibility is important only takes place during a short part of the working day. EN ISO 20471 is divided into three classes, in accordance to the risk zone you work in and to how well the product is able to protect the employee. It is the visibility requirement – and thus the requirement for the area consisting of reflectors and fluorescent materials – that determines which class you need to choose. In all products, the reflecting ability of all reflectors fulfils what previously corresponded to class 2.
Minimum areas of visible material in m²
Class 3 Class 2 Class 1
Reflective Tape 0,20 m² 0,13m² 0,10m²
Fluorescent material 0,80 m² 0,50m² 0,14m²
Class 1 high-visibility clothing can be used in situations with a low risk of collisions and accidents. Class 1 high- visibility clothing is not suitable for work on public roads, but is suitable for work in full or partial daylight within a company’s premises. Maximum traffic speed 30 km/h.
Class 2 work clothing provides good visibility for roadworks, courier services and twilight work. Class 2 high- visibility clothing is suitable for work on public roads with a maximum traffic speed of 50 km/h.
Class 3 high-visibility clothing is mandatory when working in the dark. Visible at traffic speeds up to 90 km/h. This optimum visibility greatly reduces the risk of accidents.