The hi viz jacket comes in many different forms. The hi vis bomber jacket, like a hi visibility parka jacket but cut off at the waist and finished with an elastic waistband is preferred over the hi vis coat, or hi vis parka as it is referred to in some instances. The hi vis bomber jacket, in most cases, features the same pocket configuration and attributes as what a hi viz parka does given it being the sister product of one another because it allows the user greater freedom of movement, especially when climbing ladders, getting into lorry cabs or simply just sat in a seat. Some companies also have a preference of having a multi-use hi viz jacket. A 3 in 1 bomber jacket may have a zip out fleece and zip out arms to allow the user to transfer the original hi vis bomber jacket that could be used for winter into a fleece-less bomber jacket for summer use or even a hi vis bodywarmer. Multi-function reflective jackets can come in combinations as low as 2 in 1 high visibility jackets up to 7 in 1 high visibility jackets.
Be Smart Clothing host many reflective coat options on our website and otherwise. With support and supply from brand manufacturers like Portwest, Supertouch and Leo Workwear, the support we receive from our brand suppliers allows us to support, supply and contract manage our commitment to our customers safety jackets requirements.
The hi vis jacket doesn’t necessarily always mean it comes in hi vis yellow or hi vis orange. A jacket in this category can be a reflective jacket but that may not be a required EN safety standard but may be adequate for job roles such as parking attendants, events management or crowd control personnel. The hi vis jacket on todays market vary greatly in price, attributes and manufacture. The fabric composition can be a factor in price depending if the jacket is just a standard jacket for use with companies, who need minimal requirements for exposure to British weather conditions, or, if they need maximum protection from the elements such as motorway work force personnel, railway ground workers or airport ground crew. Fabric technologies include wind resistant, breathable and waterproof fabrics.
Safety jackets are used for countless job roles and where a reflective jacket is used, it may be required to meet a certain EN British Standard. Briefly explained, the most popular EN safety standard is EN ISO 20471. This standard is the basic requirement for the hi viz jacket to be capable of visually signalling the wearers presence in any light condition. Another safety standard that can be specified and usually a requirement for hi vis coats is EN 343. These standards class how jackets perform against adverse weather, namely rain, snow, ground humidity and fog. It also accounts for the breathability of a product. One other hi viz jacket rating given to, and only to specific high visibility orange jackets is GORT 3279. GORT 3279 is the Railway Group Standard for compliancy of hi vis coats, and all types of workwear for the intention of use on British Railways. GORT 3279 products tested by Satra Technology tests these products for chromaticity – colour, and luminance – brightness. The difference between a normal high vis orange jacket and a GORT 3279 hi vis orange jacket may not be recognisable to the naked eye but will be stated in the garment label and on the garment specification documentation that accompanies the jacket. A Spectrophotometer is required to define the difference of these two similar jackets. The Spectrophotometer measures the colour of the background material used in these garments. Testing of the background material also includes colour fastness and various strength tests on the materials. Now defining standards have been laid out to assess the compliancy of a product, these are rated further to class numbers ranging from one to three. Class 1, offers the lowest level of compliancy for a particular product where as class 3 offers the highest leaving class 2 to be the intermediate. As an example of class ratings, taking a hi vis trouser, hi vis jacket and hi vis bodywarmer, for example, you will be able to see how the class structure works. A hi viz trouser has the lowest surface area of reflective ability because of the amount of fabric and reflective tape on show at any one angle. This is therefore rated, for example, EN ISO 20471 Class 1. A reflective jacket on the other hand has a lot more fabric that covers the body and arms of a person wearing the jacket and offers the most exposure of reflective ability. This is therefore rated as EN ISO 20471 Class 3. Lastly, taking the high visibility bodywarmer, because it is sleeveless and has less than a jackets surface area of reflective ability but more than high visibility trousers, this may be classed as EN ISO 20471 Class 2. Further considerations are taken into account when classing a reflective jacket and that can be where an extra small jacket is concerned. A regular medium sized hi vis jacket may be award a Class 3 certification but because an extra small jacket is a lot smaller with less surface area, this may only be awarded a Class 2 certification. While the entire compliancy tests have been applied on products at source, it should be considered that any after market branded applied should not over-bear the reflective jackets’ ability to perform how it should.
As new technology is made available to the every day reflective coat market, Be Smart Clothing are proactive in getting those products recognised to our customers to offer them the best protection against accident prevention. The newest technology to be made available in reflective jackets is Glowtex from Portwest. An innovative new technology that allows a garments reflective panelling to glow in the dark therefore it doesn’t need light to reflect from, it is its own light emitting technology taking hi vis coats into another generation.