Understanding EN 20471: the safety standard for hi-vis workwear

Understanding EN 20471: the safety standard for hi-vis workwear

Hi-vis workwear is a workplace staple in many industries, where it’s integral to keeping workers and work environments safe and to ensuring adherence with strict health and safety regulations.

When ordering hi-vis workwear it’s therefore critical that you choose the correct protective clothing for the work your employees will be performing and the work environment in which they will be working. It’s also vital to be aware of the rules on how it must be worn and cared for. This means understanding the EN 20471 safety standard.
EN 20471

EN 20471 safety standard for hi-vis workwear explained

All hi-vis workwear must conform to EN 20471, from hi-vis trousers and hi-vis jackets to hi-vis t-shirts and hi-vis gloves. This is an independent safety standard, which has been updated on a number of occasions; the most recent version being EN 20471:2013.

Hi-vis workwear that complies with EN 20471 and provides protection according to this industry standard carries the unique EN 20471 symbol.

The symbol should be visible on the hi-vis clothing. It can be displayed as above or can be seen with an additional number: either 1, 2 or 3. These numbers are indicators of the level of visibility that the hi-vis workwear provides.

EN ISO 20471:2013

Class 1 offers the lowest level of visibility, Class 3 the highest. These classifications exist because some jobs require workers to wear hi-vis workwear with a specific level of visibility. For example, Class 1 hi-vis clothing is suitable for off-road work but not for work on highways.

In addition, EN 20471 is the basis for the hi-vis workwear safety standard relating to hi-vis clothing for the rail industry – RIS-3279-TOM. All hi-vis workwear certified to this supplementary standard must conform to EN 20471 Class 2 requirements.


Wearing and caring for hi-vis workwear

As an employer, it is important that you are aware that EN 20471 contains strict rules on how hi-vis workwear must be worn and maintained. It is your responsibility to make sure that your employees have the relevant knowledge in this regard.

There are minimum requirements relating to the area of fluorescent material and reflective strips on hi-vis workwear, and visible areas of these components must not be reduced below the specifications set out in EN 20471. As a result, clear rules must be followed in relation to adjusting, tailoring, branding and personalising hi-vis clothing.

Maintaining hi-vis workwear must also be carried out in strict accordance with EN 20471. These rules relate to washing temperatures and over-washing, and the potential impact on the colour, the structural integrity and the reflectivity of the clothing.

\For more information on EN 20471, including a more detailed explanation of the standard and the rules on wearing and maintenance, and advice on which hi-vis workwear to purchase for which purposes, DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE COPY of the Contego Safety Solutions Guide to Hi-Vis Workwear.

Why making the right choice of hi-vis workwear is critical

Hi-vis workwear plays a critical role in ensuring workplace safety. Failure to provide this clothing or the appropriate type of protective workwear can lead to serious accidents, injuries and even fatalities, and can have severe consequences for your company.

By taking steps to choose the correct hi-vis clothing, you are providing your employees with the protection they need to help them do their jobs safely, efficiently and to the highest standard. You are also making sure that your company is fully compliant with the relevant industry standards and better protected against any liability.

Contego Safety Solutions stocks a wide range of corporate workwear, protective clothing and PPE, including the WEARMASTER® range. We also provide a bespoke uniform design and manufacturing service to ensure that you get precisely what you are looking for in a company uniform.

The friendly and expert team at Contego Safety Solutions is always on hand to give advice on hi-vis workwear. Contact us now on 0800 122 3323 or sales@contegosafety.co.uk to discuss your requirements.

Published on 12 January 2023


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