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
Australian Standard AS/NZS 4602.1.2011 – relating to the structure of the clothing
Australian Standard AS/NZS 4399:2017 – 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 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 chromacity) 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 and Yellow (or lime as it is sometimes referred to as) are the only two 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 structure of the clothing to meet the standard for hi-visibility)
This standard refers to how a garment is made using fabrics compliant to 1906.4 above.
There has to be over 0.2m2 of unbroken fluoro fabric on both the front and back of a garment in the upper torso (this does not include the sleeves). The fluoro must not be broken with non-fluoro 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. So no full side panels up to the armpit level are permitted. This standard also explains the position of the retroflective 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 = Night time use using retroflective 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. That is, it meets daytime use only.
AUSTRALIAN STANDARD AS/NZS 4399:2017 (specifies the garments ability to protect from the ultra violet radiation)
This standard refers to the capability of a fabric to protect skin against solar ultra violet radiation (known as the UPF=ultra violet 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 to our customers. All hi-visibility garments sold through Red Roo Australia meet these standards and we only stock quality produced garments. If you would like advice on the branding of your hi-vis workwear, or on selecting the best options for your team, please don’t hesitate to give our team a call on 07 3255 8755 or visit our shop to see just some of the products on offer.