High visibility clothing is designed to ensure that people are seen. It’s not just worn by employees going about their duties, hi-vis clothing is essential for runners and other people that exercise in dim light. It can be used by motorcyclists and even on school outings. You’ll also find security personnel often wear hi-vis. This is to ensure they stand out in a crowd and you can easily follow their directions if needed.
The exact times and circumstances when hi-vis clothing is essential depends on the activity being undertaken. For example, highway workers need to wear hi-vis whenever they are out of their vehicles. Your employees on the factory floor may not need to wear it but the ones in and around the forklift do. It can seem confusing but there is a simple way to ensure your staff is wearing high-quality hi-vis workwear when they need to be.
The key is to undertake a risk assessment for every job within your business. You’re not assessing individual people, it’s the job that’s important.
As part of the risk assessment, you should identify whether an employee is likely to be seen, whether they are at risk of injury, and how regularly they report in. The aim of hi-vis jackets is to avoid accidents happening.
That means, in general, if you’re using heavy machinery hi-vis should be worn. This is especially true if visibility is reduced, either due to weather conditions or the nature of the vehicle being driven.
The individual circumstances will be different, depending on the business you operate and the safety procedures you have in place.
However, if you perform a risk assessment and are unsure whether a hi-vis will be beneficial or not, err on the side of caution. It is definitely better to be safe than sorry!
One part of risk assessments that is often overlooked is how effective the high visibility jackets can be at spotting people. Whether it’s your employees or a visitor to the shop floor, the hi-vis jacket can be used to identify them. This can make it easier to ensure everyone is safe.
The best approach is to have a different color hi-vis jacket for non-essential employees. This will allow you to quickly locate and remove them if they are in danger.
Enforcing The Hi-Vis Rules
You should note that identifying the risks in your workplace is essential and required by law. But, that’s only the first part of the battle. You also need to get your employees trained and in the practice of wearing the hi-vis jackets. It can be difficult at first.
Once you’ve completed the risk assessment you need to explain this to all affected employees. This will ensure they known why hi-vis is necessary and that they have to wear them. You should also get them to sign to say they have received the training/briefing.
This will help them to be accountable, making it easier for you to enforce t and reducing the risk to the company.