Be visible, not just on the road. Reflective clothing

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Social campaigns which promote the use of reflective elements by children and adults have quite long history. And the truth is you can’t have too many of them. We would like to focus on the use of warning clothing by professionals, those employed in warehouses and truck drivers.


Such clothes increase our visibility at night and during the day. They are used in many situations: on the road, in the warehouse, in a logistics terminal - in any place with increased vehicular traffic or when the risk of being run over is particularly high.

Categories (classes) of reflective clothing vs. the risk level

Reflective clothing is designed and made in three categories - 3, 2 and 1. Category 3 is the highest. Clothes with the highest visibility (category 3) are best for works connected with the high risk of being run over on the road (e.g. works on motorways).  Category 3 reflective clothing guarantees being spotted by a driver from the distance of even 300 metres. This is a sufficient distance for the driver to react in an appropriate moment and thus avoid a collision. Category 2 reflective vests ensure visibility from up to 150 metres.

Reflective clothing as a standard in the vehicle, warehouse and the terminal

Each driver should have quick and easy access to reflective clothing. This means that keeping a vest in the trunk or in the ADR kit is not the best idea. Having a vest within reach turns out to be particularly important in the event of a vehicle defect or an accident on the road. Remember that in those situations we are often forced to leave the vehicle quickly and to perform certain actions in the vicinity of increased vehicular traffic. It is also a good idea to have vests for all passengers in the car.

Nevertheless, expressways and motorways are not the only places which can pose danger. Transport depots and logistics centres also deal with high volume of traffic of various vehicles. That is why they are considered the areas with an increased accident risk. Using reflective clothing in those places should be a standard.

Wearing reflective clothing (category 2) is mandatory in all Raben Group warehouses. This obligation is the consequence of extremely high internal traffic and frequent transloading operations. One should be aware that a collision with a fork-lift truck, for instance, can be as serious as a road accident.

European standards guarantee safety.

Certainty that the accident risk has been minimised ensures safe work conditions and thus increases its efficiency. In order to be sure that the reflective clothing we use is visible at a distance, check if they have been made in accordance with the European standard EN 20471:2013.

Certified clothes for professionals can use inly three colours of fluorescent background: yellow, red and orange-red, and the standard defines their luminance (brightness) factor.  The minimum width of the reflective material is 50 mm whereas how much reflective tape is used depends on the clothes category.

When buying reflective clothing, pay attention if the product has been made in compliance with the said standard or if it is compliant with the ISO standard 13688: 2013.

Pictograms and clothing arrangements

The pictogram of the vest with the number refers to the clothing category (1, 2, 3). The maintenance pictogram specifies the number of permissible washing cycles (25 in this case), after which the item loses its reflective qualities. Reflective clothing can be arranged in many configurations. For instance, a class II vest connected with trousers of the same class form a full class III set. It is similar when we match, for instance, a class II vest with class I trousers. In turn a class II reflective jacket and class II reflective jacket will form a class II set

Certainty above all

We often say to ourselves, especially when we are experienced employees, that nothing bad can happen to us. After all we know the profession inside out, we have witnessed many, often very dangerous incidents so we know how to behave so as not to be a victim or a perpetrator of an accident. However, the problem is that as much as we trust our concentration and competencies, we are not able to vouch for others. Work in industrial facilities is always connected with increased risk. So we must do everything to minimise the risk of an accident. One of the basic elements which ensures work comfort is the reflective clothing. 

Grażyna Łukasik

Grażyna Łukasik

SHE Manager

Runs SHE projects (Safety, Health and Environment)in Raben Group. Specializes in occupational health and safety as well as in ergonomics of workstations. A DGSA Advisor since 2003.


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