What are the 3 classes of high-visibility clothing?

Whether you are working in an environment or are managing a site, you and your workers need to wear high visibility safety vests at all times. High visibility clothing is made with highly reflective materials that help to keep individuals visible, especially at night when light is reflected upon the clothing. Reflective material enhances your visibility in low light situations such as within vehicle headlights. This will help motorists to see you from a distance and therefore, both motorists and yourself as a pedestrian, have more time to react if a situation were to occur. Disclaimer: Please note that the effectiveness of the high-visibility material does diminish over time, especially after washing. Some garments will tell you how many times they can be washed before they may not be able to meet the standard that they were originally rated for.

High-visibility legislation 

In order for hi-vis garments to comply with all UK and EU legislation, you need to ensure that the reflective clothing complies with the following:

  • Hi-vis clothing conforming to BS EN 471:2003, table 1, class 2 or 3, which must be worn at all times
  • The colour of the background materials should normally be fluorescent yellow from table 2 of EN 477:2003
  • The retro-reflective materials should comply with table 5 of EN 471:2003

It is therefore essential that any high visibility garments issued to employees conform to all relevant standards, and are maintained and worn correctly for maximum protection of all workers.

The 3 classes of high-visibility clothing

CLASS 3 – Highest protection level 

  • Band of retro-reflective material should not be less than 50mm wide 
  • Minimum background material 0.80m per square 
  • Minimum retro-reflective material 0.20m per square

Examples: 

  • Hi-vis bomber jackets
  • Hi-vis parka jackets
  • Hi-vis long sleeved vests 

CLASS 2 – Intermediate protection level 

  • Band of retro-reflective material should not be less than 50mm wide
  • Minimum background material 0.50m per square
  • Minimum retro-reflective material 0.13m per square

Examples: 

  • Hi-vis sleeveless vests

CLASS 1 – Lowest protection level 

  • Band of retro-reflective material should not be less than 50mm wide
  • Minimum background material 0.14m per square
  • Minimum retro-reflective material 0.10m per square

Examples: 

  • Hi-vis trousers

Get in touch

Eltham Workwear & Safety is a distributor and supplier of quality workwear and PPE to the UK market. The head office is based in Dartford, with another branch in Portslade, Sussex. We offer both B2C and B2B solutions via our website and our dedicated sales staff. We deliver to London, Essex, Kent, Sussex, Surrey and Hertfordshire, and we use DHL for deliveries to the rest of the UK.

Please get in touch with our friendly team if you need any advice or to speak about how we can help you with safety workwear. We can, for additional cost, add your logo to all manner of garments and items, from caps and hardhats to fleeces and jackets using various methods of personalisation. Please click here to find out more.