You’ve gone to look for new high-vis workwear and now you’re completely confused – why does one shirt say day use only, another says it is for night use, and yet another says it can be used for day and night use?
Before you give up and just buy anything that fits, there are some big differences between the time of use that you may find noted on your new high vis workwear, and it all comes down to the Australian Standards that specify the design of the garments used by people exposed to hazards and the high-risk situation in the workplace. There are a range of different classes within the Standard which provides for different times of the day.
There are two main standards for high visibility clothing in Australia – one for high-risk applications and one for road traffic control work. Let’s explore both.
The AS/NZ 4602.1:2011 specifies the different classes for use at different times of the day when working in a high-risk environment.
Class D– These are garments designed for day time use only. They provide a high level of visibility under daylight conditions but are ineffective in providing visibility in darker environments, such as night work and some underground work. An example of a Class D garment is the traditional yellow and navy polo top without reflective tape. These garments must meet a range of requirements including:
- Being of an approved colour of high visibility that goes around the entire torso. The colours approved in the Standard are Orange-red, Yellow, Red, and Orange and Yellow (restricted)
- The high visibility fabric needs to cover at least 0.4m2 of the upper torso
- Logos or printed text on the garments cannot be included in the 0.4m2.
Class N – These garments are designed for night work and provide high visibility in the dark when viewed under a retroreflected light, like that of a vehicle headlight. To meet compliance, the garment must:
- Have tape a minimum of 50mm wide, commonly in a Hoop, X back or H pattern.
Class D/N: This is the day/night use class, and garments must meet both day and night requirements. A typical D/N garment used is a high visibility yellow polo with reflective tape.
Road Traffic Control/Road Work
There are some slight differences for high visibility workwear for those working in road traffic control and road work, that come under the same Standard.
Class F – High visibility fabric for day use only (yellows, oranges etc)
Class R – Reflective fabric for night use only (i.e includes 3M reflective tape). It is important to know that the washing processes does disintegrate the reflective properties of the material, and most reflective tapes in use in Australia are only compliant for around 30 washes.
Class RF – Garments are made from high visibility and reflective fabric for day and night use.
It is also important to remember that if working outdoors, it is imperative to use high visibility clothing with a UPF protection rating. The clothing worn should provide at least a UPF of 40-50+.
If you need assistance with choosing the most appropriate workwear for your situation, give us a call. Our experienced team would love to assist.