As with most things in life, not all hi-vis workwear is created equal, and what might seem like a cheap option, can leave you lacking in safety and compliance.
There are a few standards that legislate the workwear industry. They are the following:
- Australian Standard AS/NZS 1906.4.2010 – relating to the colours used for visibility
- Australian Standard AS/NZS 4602.1.2011 – relating to the garment requirements
- Australian Standard AS 4399:2020 – relating to the ability to provide from UV radiation)
It’s important to understand all three, and how they impact your choices and decisions in buying workwear for yourself or for your team.
AUSTRALIAN STANDARD AS/NZS 1906.4.2010 (specifies the colours to use to meet the standard for hi-visibility)
This standard explains the use of hi-visibility fabrics and retroreflective materials for daytime use. It specifies the quality of colour levels (known as chromaticity) to which fabrics need to be dyed, in terms of performance and atmospheric pressures, in order to comply with daytime safety standards.
Natural fibre garments (cotton) have a lower chromaticity level due to the nature of the fabric. However, when a polyester garment is deemed a risk to the wearer in certain applications, (eg risk of ignition – electrical, gas, welding), cotton or wool should be worn in its place.
Orange, Red and Yellow (or lime as it is sometimes referred to) are the only three colours that meet this standard for daytime hi-visibility. While we have cotton shirts available in bright pink, bright blue and emerald green, these garments will not meet this standard.
AUSTRALIAN STANDARD AS/NZS 4602.1.2011 (specifies the garment requirements to meet the standard for hi-visibility)
This standard refers to how a garment is made using fabrics compliant to 1906.4 above.
There must be over 0.2m2 of unbroken flouro fabric on both the front and back of a garment in the upper torso (this does not include the sleeves). The flouro must not be broken with non-flouro fabric within the 0.2m2 area on both the front and back from the top of the shoulders to the waist and MUST encircle the body up to that measurement. This means no full side panels up to the armpit level are permitted. This standard also explains the position of the retroreflective tapes on the garment and the width and quantity used. These tapes should not be less than the 0.2m2 measurement required.
You may see suppliers referring to a garment “meeting particular classes”, they are as follows:
- Class D = Daytime use
- Class N = Nighttime use, using retroreflective material
- Class D/N = Day/Night use
For example, if they have listed a yellow polo with no tape, they may say in the description Class D. This means it meets daytime use only.
AUSTRALIAN STANDARD AS 4399:2020 (specifies the garments ability to protect from the ultraviolet radiation)
This standard refers to the capability of a fabric to protect skin against solar ultraviolet radiation (known as the UPF = ultraviolet protection factor). This standard is an additional bonus to the garment rather than an essential requirement for hi-visibility standards but is often specified from specific industry users.
This standard would be particularly important for industries that work outside – for example landscapers, roofers, concreters and the mining sector.
Something worth noting when you are decorating hi visibility clothing is how big the logo or decoration is. If you screen print the back you may be making the garment void of meeting these standards, as it would contravene the standard requiring the fluoro fabric to be unbroken to a certain amount. We are careful to select and offer only compliant products for our customers.
If you would like advice on the branding of your hi-vis workwear, or on selecting the best options for your team, give our team a call on 07 3255 8755 or visit our shop to see just some of the products on offer.