An employer must conduct a risk assessment at the work place and equip the worker with the necessary clothing and protection. With a high visibility garment the wearer becomes more visible and is therefore providing protection against e.g. passing vehicles.
The construction and materials used in a a high visibility garment for professional use, is regulated in EN 471. This standard divides CE marked garments into three classes. The main difference between these classes is the amount of reflective and fluorescent area used in the construction of the garments.
EN 471 Class 3
The highest level of protection. Such garments are typically used near densily trafficated and/or high speed roads.
EN 471 Class 2
Intemediate level of protection. Class 2 garments are widely used and provides sufficient protection for for most situations. Typical areas of use include Construction areas, parking places, ports, airports and railroad.
EN 471 Class 1
Lowest level of protection. Since these garments allows the use of different materials and colours, they are mostly used where recognition of governmental body, corporate identity and/or function combined with visibilty is of importance. These garments are not used where the probability of day time contact with traffic is high.
In situations where the garment is meant to protect the wearer from hazards in addition to visibility, other standards can be used in combination with the EN 471. Examples are protection agains heat and flame, garments with antistatic properties and protection against rain.
Reflective vests for non-professional use
A norm specially developed for leisure/sports has been developed.
The use of high visibility clothing outside work situations is non-mandatory. The EN 1150 is made to offer greater design freedom while providing the user with sufficient protection. Instead of dividing the garments into classes, it is the height of the user which is the basis for the amount of fluorescent and reflective areas needed in a garment. Garments for children are CE marked to EN 1150.