Why Fit Precision Matters in High-Visibility Apparel for Workers

Adhering to high-visibility apparel safety standards set by organizations, such as the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), is important, but these organizations provide little guidance on how fit impacts employee safety and comfort. It is largely up to business owners and safety managers to ensure employees have proper fitting hi-vis apparel at all times.

A recent study published by the Journal of Safety Research showed an increase in (PPE) non-compliance when workers reported PPE restricting movement, becoming tangled, feeling too heavy, or impeding communication. Instead of seeing the PPE as keeping them safe, these employees felt that the PPE was actually a hazard. The study also reports that construction workers who do not use PPE are three times more likely to be injured than those who do. Wearing improperly sized clothing can also have psychological effects on workers. Discomfort or frustration caused by ill-fitting clothing may lead to decreased morale, reduced productivity, and an increased likelihood of non-compliance with safety protocols.

For safety and best performance, hi-vis garments should fit workers properly and be comfortable. Below are five factors to consider to provide properly fitting and comfortable hi-vis apparel for your workforce.

1) Adjustability

Some high-visibility garments come with adjustable features such as elastic waistbands, Velcro closures, or drawstrings. These features allow for a more customized fit and can accommodate different body shapes. The more adjustable a hi-vis garment is, the more likely workers are to achieve a proper fit.

2) Adaptability

A garment may seem like a proper size in one set of circumstances and become uncomfortable if the environment changes. For instance, a hi-vis jacket may appear to be the correct size for an employee until the employee tries to layer the jacket over a bulky base layer, such as a sweatshirt. Improper layering can make a once-comfortable jacket feel too tight. One way to avoid this issue is to provide 3-in-1 systems gear layerable outerwear that is adaptable to changes in the weather.

3) Garment Ease

Garment ease is the amount of additional volume a garment has to allow for mobility. Overly tight hi-vis apparel can restrict movement, making it difficult for workers to perform their tasks safely and efficiently. This can lead to accidents, especially in environments where quick reflexes and agility are necessary to avoid hazards. Hi-vis clothing must not restrict movement in any way. Tight-fitting clothing may also restrict blood flow or cause discomfort, leading to distraction or decreased focus on the task at hand. On the other hand, overly loose fitting clothing is uncomfortable and poses a risk of becoming caught in machinery or equipment.

4) Garment Length

Pay attention to the length of sleeves, pant legs, and overall garment length. Sleeves and pant legs should be long enough to provide adequate coverage without being excessively long, which could pose a tripping hazard or become caught in machinery.

5) Specialized Sizing

Not all workers are the same size, which makes specialized sizing an important safety feature for hi-vis clothing. It is important for a large range of sizes to be readily available from your supplier at all times to accommodate the sizing needs of any employee. Reflective Apparel consistently stocks a large range of sizes from XS to 8XL Big and Tall so that every worker can be visible and safe at all times.

It is important for employers to provide properly sized high-visibility apparel that meets safety standards and guidelines. Additionally, regular inspections and assessments should be conducted to ensure that workers' clothing fits correctly and is in good condition. Workers should also be trained on the importance of wearing properly fitted high-visibility clothing and encouraged to report any issues with their safety gear.

Need help finding the right high-quality, hi-vis safety apparel and uniforms for your team? Reach out to the Reflective Apparel team to get started.



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