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How safe is safety clothing?

Posted by Mark Tanner on 06/02/2024

Are we too used to seeing hi-vis safetywear?

Yes, there is a potential downside to the widespread use of hi-vis clothing. Here's how ubiquity can affect its safety effectiveness:

Desensitization: Drivers and other workers might become accustomed to seeing hi-vis clothing and overlook them, reducing the salience of the safety signal. This is called "desensitization".

False Reliance: People wearing hi-vis clothing might take unnecessary risks assuming they are fully visible, negating some of safety benefits.

Hi-vis yellow safety vest

Improper Use: Hi-vis clothing isn't a guarantee of safety. Incorrect use, like wearing a dirty or damaged vest, or using it in low-light conditions without reflective tape, reduces its effectiveness.

Visibility Advantage: Even with desensitization, hi-vis clothing significantly increases visibility compared to regular clothes, especially in low-light and poor weather conditions.

Standardization: Regulations and guidelines ensure a certain level of quality and consistency in hi-vis clothing, making it a reliable safety measure. This helps when specifying the safety clothing required for a particular industry.

Layered Approach: Hi-vis clothing works best as part of a safety program that includes training and proper work practices.

Overall, the benefits of hi-vis clothing outweigh the potential drawbacks. But it's important to be aware of desensitization and ensure proper use for maximum effectiveness.

If you’d like to talk to us about hi-vis safety clothing please call Mark or David on 020 8991 1800 or chat to us online or email at