4 high-visibility uniform essentials for safe construction work

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When it comes to safety on construction sites, high-visibility work clothes stand out as an indispensable line of defense, helping to ensure the conspicuous presence of each construction team member.

It’s important to understand the foundational philosophy of hi-visibility clothing. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) developed the ANSI/ISEA 107 standard, which outlines the requirements for high-visibility safety apparel. This standard ensures the garments meet specific visibility guidelines, including the use of fluorescent materials and reflective stripes to enhance the wearer’s visibility in different lighting conditions. 

High-visibility garments that meet the ANSI/ISEA 107 standards are rigorously tested for visibility and durability, providing an added assurance of safety for workers in hazardous environments.

The visibility of a worker in a demanding construction site is a non-negotiable factor in helping to prevent accidents. Over the years, studies have reaffirmed that hi-vis clothing significantly reduces the risk of workplace injuries. One such study concluded that the odds of a vehicle accident decreased by almost 25% when workers at roadside construction zones wore hi-vis clothing.

Every element of hi-vis workwear—from reflective high-vis shirts and high-visibility hoodies to year-round essentials like high-vis vests, hi-vis jackets, high visibility coveralls, and hard hats—play a crucial part in the overarching strategy for workplace safety.

Let’s look at the five hi-vis uniform essentials every construction worker should have:

High Visibility Work Shirts – First Line of Protection

Worker operating forklift in high visibility uniform shirt

A hi-visibility shirt is likely to be the first layer of high-vis protection for most construction workers. These light, breathable garments are often worn over regular clothing, providing a convenient and highly visible layer without impeding movement or comfort.

When choosing a high-visibility shirt, consider the sleeve length, which is often determined by your workplace environment and the season. A hi-vis long sleeve shirt provides more coverage against the elements and abrasions, while short-sleeved options might be preferred where heat and arm mobility come into play. Visibility-wise, make sure the ANSI/ISEA 107 standard is met, as this ensures a certain level of retroreflective material that bounces light back to its source.

UniFirst’s Spotlite LX® High Visibility Work Shirts are ANSI Class 3 rated and feature roomier cuts and moisture-wicking fabric to help keep workers safe and comfortable on the job.

High Visibility T-Shirts – Comfort Meets Safety

Construction worker in hard hat and high visibility t-shirt working at job site

High-visibility t-shirts provide a perfect blend of comfort and essential safety for construction workers in warmer climates. These lightweight, breathable shirts are designed to keep workers cool under the sun while ensuring they remain visible. Made with bright, fluorescent colors and reflective strips, high-visibility t-shirts help in maintaining high visibility for construction personnel across a variety of daytime and low-light conditions.

Whether worn alone on hot days or layered under other protective clothing, these t-shirts meet the ANSI/ISEA 107 standards for visibility, making them a staple in the safety gear lineup. Their practicality extends beyond construction sites to roadside work, where visibility to passing drivers is critical.

High Visibility Hoodies – A Popular Choice

Worker wearing a high visibility hoodie at a job site

In addition to the essential high-visibility apparel, the high-visibility hoodie has become a popular choice for those seeking both comfort and safety on the construction site. These hoodies are designed with the same attention to visibility as traditional hi-vis jackets, incorporating fluorescent materials and reflective stripes to ensure workers are easily seen in low-light conditions. The hooded design provides extra protection against the elements, making it an ideal choice for cooler weather or windy conditions.

High-visibility hoodies often feature a soft, insulating fabric that keeps workers warm without sacrificing mobility. Like all high-visibility clothing, it’s important to choose hoodies that meet the ANSI/ISEA 107 standards for visibility, such as UniFirst’s ANSI Class 2, High Visibility Performance Pro+ Hoodie. By adding a high-visibility hoodie to your workwear lineup, you help ensure an extra layer of warmth and visibility, keeping safety at the forefront without compromising on comfort.

High Visibility Outerwear and Hard Hats – Year-Round Safety Centric Solutions

Construction worker wearing hard hat, safety glass, and high visibility uniform shirt at a work site.

High-visibility jackets, vests, coveralls, and hard hats offer additional protection throughout the year. When picking a high-visibility jacket, consider the insulation level and waterproofing. You want a jacket that offers protection without reducing your maneuverability or comfort. For those on the site who need more extensive and consistent coverage, high-visibility coveralls offer an all-in-one solution. 

Equally critical in safety gear are high-visibility hard hats, offering dual benefits of head protection and high visibility. These hard hats are commonly made from high-impact materials and are integrated with reflective strips or fluorescent coloring, making the wearer noticeable in both daylight and low-light conditions.

Choosing a hard hat that meets both ANSI head protection standards and visibility requirements is essential for ensuring the utmost safety. The incorporation of high-visibility hard hats into the construction safety gear lineup underscores the industry’s holistic approach to worker safety – safeguarding against physical impacts while ensuring individuals are always visibly detectable. Our Class E high visibility hard hats meet these requirements.

Maintaining High Visibility Garments

UniFirst Team Partner maintaining high visibility workwear at a UniFirst location.

The popularity of high-visibility uniform essentials speaks volumes about their pivotal role in construction safety. These aren’t just garments; they are tailored to standard operating procedures that help minimize the risk of accidents. But remember, no matter how advanced your gear is, it needs proper maintenance and timely replacement.

That’s where a uniform rental provider comes in. UniFirst offers uniform rental programs that include employee sizing, customization, pick-up and delivery, automatic garment repairs and/or replacements, industrial laundering, and inventory management so you don’t have to worry about maintaining your high-visibility uniforms and workwear.

The essential role high-visibility uniforms play in helping ensure the safety and well-being of construction workers cannot be overstated. These are not just garments, but a first line of defense against workplace accidents. However, the effectiveness of high-vis uniforms hinges not only on its use but also on a culture of safety that prioritizes proper maintenance, regular inspections, and adherence to safety standards.

To have a uniform expert review your needs and help ensure that you are in compliance, contact UniFirst at the number listed below or fill out the form and a representative will get back to you.

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