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Hi-Vis Clothing 25 Fascinating Facts That Will Leave You in Awe!

Hi-Vis Clothing 25 Fascinating Facts That Will Leave You in Awe!

High visibility clothing, also known as hi-vis or reflective clothing, has become an indispensable part of our modern world. It plays a crucial role in ensuring the safety of workers, cyclists, and pedestrians. Designed to enhance visibility, especially in low-light conditions, hi-vis garments reduce the risk of accidents and improve overall safety.

In this blog, we will delve deep into the realm of hi-vis clothing and explore 20 captivating facts that shed light on its history, technology, and impact on safety.

Fact 1: The Origins of Hi-Vis Clothing

Hi-vis clothing has a fascinating history that dates back to the 1930s, coinciding with the development of fluorescent materials. These innovative materials paved the way for the creation of early hi-vis garments, which incorporated reflective strips. Remarkably, these early designs continue to play a significant role in today’s personal protective equipment (PPE).

Fact 2: The Birth of the Modern Hi-Vis Vest

During the 1960s, Bob Switzer, a railway worker from Britain, came up with a game-changing invention while recuperating from an industrial mishap at a factory. It was none other than the iconic fluorescent orange waistcoat. Switzer’s groundbreaking creation revolutionised visibility in high-risk work settings like construction sites, factories, and roadwork occupations. Over time, Switzer’s design became the very foundation of the contemporary hi-vis vest we know today.

Fact 3: Fluorescence and Retroreflection

How does hi-vis clothing work? It relies on two key properties: fluorescence and retroreflection. Fluorescent materials absorb invisible ultraviolet (UV) light and emit it as visible light, while retroreflective materials bounce light back to its source, making the clothing appear brighter.

Fact 4: The Role of Colour

Have you ever wondered why hi-vis garments primarily feature yellow and orange hues? These vibrant fluorescent colours, along with green, are carefully selected for their exceptional visibility in different environments and from a distance. They offer excellent contrast and perfectly complement the reflective materials used in hi-vis clothing. Whether it’s daytime or nighttime, these vivid shades serve as a striking background, ensuring that wearers remain conspicuous and easily spotted.

Fact 5: Nighttime Visibility

In low-light or nighttime scenarios, the retroreflective materials in hi-vis clothing take on a vital role. These materials become invaluable when illuminated by artificial light, such as the beams of vehicle headlights. As the light hits the retroreflective surfaces, it bounces right back to its source, creating an incredibly visible effect. This ensures that the wearer stands out prominently, enhancing safety and visibility in dark environments.

Fact 6: Standards and Certifications

The effectiveness and quality of hi-vis clothing are upheld through the implementation of several international standards and certifications. Notable examples include EN ISO 20471 and ANSI/ISEA 107. In Australia, the AS/NZS 4602.1:2011 standard sets out specific requirements for workwear worn by individuals exposed to the potential dangers posed by moving traffic or equipment. These comprehensive standards encompass crucial aspects such as material selection, design considerations, and performance criteria. By adhering to these guidelines, the industry ensures that hi-vis clothing meets the highest standards of safety and performance.

Fact 7: Evolution of Hi-Vis Fabrics

Have you heard about the exciting advancements in hi-vis fabrics? Thanks to recent technological breakthroughs, innovative materials have been created with remarkable features. These newer fabrics are designed with moisture-wicking properties that keep you dry and comfortable even in challenging conditions. They offer enhanced ventilation, allowing for better airflow and breathability. Additionally, these materials are lightweight and flexible, providing a greater range of motion. When selecting hi-vis clothing for your team, it’s essential to consider the right fabric, weight, and functionality to meet their specific needs. By embracing these advancements, you can ensure optimal comfort and performance on the job.

Fact 8: Hi-Vis in Road Safety

Hi-vis clothing serves as a critical factor in mitigating accidents on the road. A noteworthy Danish study reveals that cyclists wearing high-visibility clothing experience a reduction of over 50% in collisions with motor vehicles. These garments play a crucial role in improving the visibility of employees, motorcyclists, and pedestrians, ensuring they stand out prominently to drivers. By enhancing visibility, hi-vis clothing helps create a safer environment, minimising the risk of accidents and increasing overall road safety.

Fact 9: Hi-Vis Beyond Construction

Hi-vis clothing extends beyond construction workers. It is extensively used in industries such as emergency services, transportation, aviation, utility work, and factories.

Hi-Vis Beyond Construction

Fact 10: Hi-Vis for Sports and Recreation

Hi-vis gear is not limited to work; It has made its mark in a range of sports and recreational activities, such as running, cycling, and horse riding. By wearing hi-vis clothing, participants can enhance their visibility and stay safe while enjoying themselves.

Fact 11: Innovations in Hi-Vis Design and Technology

Hi-vis clothing manufacturers are constantly pushing the boundaries of innovation. They’re introducing exciting features like integrated LED lights, reflective piping, and moisture-wicking properties. These advancements take safety and performance to new heights. In fact, the future holds even more promise with the development of smart garments, which could revolutionise safety in workwear. A recent Forbes article highlights the latest advancements in “fabric tech” and the potential of smart garments to enhance safety measures in the workplace.

Fact 12: Psychological Impact of Hi-Vis Clothing

Wearing hi-vis clothing not only enhances visibility but also instils a sense of safety and confidence in the wearer. This psychological impact contributes to increased situational awareness and risk mitigation in hazardous environments.

Fact 13: Hi-Vis Clothing and Weather Conditions

Weather conditions can affect the visibility of hi-vis clothing. Rain, fog, and snow can reduce visibility, emphasising the importance of choosing hi-vis garments designed for such conditions. Insulated, waterproof garments with larger reflective stripes can mitigate the impact of these weather conditions.

Fact 14: Hi-Vis Clothing for Different Environments

Specialised hi-vis clothing exists for specific environments. For example, industries with fire hazards, such as oil and gas or welding, require flame-resistant hi-vis garments to ensure worker safety.

Fact 15: Hi-Vis Clothing for Water Safety

In the realm of water safety, hi-vis clothing takes a leap forward. With high-visibility attributes integrated into life jackets and buoyancy aids, rescue teams can swiftly pinpoint individuals in peril within vast bodies of water, even from significant distances. This invaluable feature proves particularly advantageous for sea patrols.

Fact 16: Hi-Vis Clothing for School Children

To improve the safety of school children during their commute, many educational and childcare facilities require students to wear hi-vis accessories, such as vests or backpack covers, while walking to school or on excursions.

childcare vests

Fact 17: Hi-Vis Clothing for Air Travel

In the world of aviation, hi-vis clothing plays a crucial role in maintaining visibility and safety. Airport staff, ground handlers, and crew members frequently don these garments to enhance visibility on the tarmac. This practice serves a dual purpose: it aids pilots and other personnel in identifying individuals near aircraft, while also significantly minimising the risk of accidents and injuries.

Fact 18: Hi-Vis Clothing and UV Protection

Certain high-visibility garments are designed with built-in UV-protective properties, providing a shield against harmful ultraviolet rays. The Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) rating serves as a measure of how effectively the material blocks the sun’s UV radiation. This additional advantage plays a crucial role in preventing sunburn and minimising the potential for long-term skin damage among employees working under the Australian sun.

Fact 19: Hi-Vis Clothing and Washability

Most hi-vis clothing is designed to be durable and withstand frequent washing without compromising its reflective properties. Manufacturers provide guidelines for proper care to maintain the garment’s effectiveness and keep it clean and functional.

Fact 20: A Safe Work Environment leads to a Happier Work Environment

Fostering a safe work environment is not only vital for compliance but can also improve overall happiness and productivity. Adequate occupational health and safety training, standardised hi-vis uniforms and personal protective equipment (PPE), along with regular site inspections, significantly lower the risk of injuries and workplace anxiety, leading to a positive work atmosphere.


From its humble beginnings to the remarkable technological advancements of today, high-visibility clothing remains a lifesaving tool, safeguarding workers across the globe. By exploring these intriguing facts, we can truly grasp the profound impact of hi-vis clothing on safety and foster a commitment to ongoing innovation in visibility. Whether you’re in need of polos, shirts, jackets, or any other hi-vis gear, our extensive range is tailored to ensure the year-round safety of your team.

Discover our online options today and prioritise the well-being of your workforce!

Who is TIG

Total Image Group was founded on the basis that workwear in Australia had become generic and uninspiring. We’ve changed all that.

We believe corporate uniforms should never be boring.

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