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Choosing Hi Vis workwear for winter and cold environments

The combination of poor light, darker evenings and bad weather increase risks to worker safety considerably during the winter months. Add to that the fact that studies show that accident frequency increases by 35% in extremely low temperatures and you can appreciate that choosing the right Hi-Vis PPE to ensure workers stay safe, dry and warm is particularly important. Here is our guide to the key things to check when you’re buying this kind of workwear and PPE.

While it may be tempting to use the same Hi-Vis workwear year-round, research reveals that ensuring staff are warm and dry can be as important as making sure they are seen. Workers tend to behave in a more unsafe way and make poorer decisions in cold weather. For example, they may take shortcuts or lose the ability to stay alert if they feel too cold.

It’s also important to ensure that the PPE is breathable to make sure workers who are exerting themselves keep their body at the right temperature.

Key qualities to look out for when buying Hi Vis PPE for cold weather:

Does the PPE have the right level of visibility for the work being carried out?

There are 3 classes of Hi Vis workwear and they must attain minimum surface areas.

Class 1 Reflective Tape 0.10 sqm Fluorescent Material 0.14 sqm

Class 2 Reflective Tape 0.13 sqm Fluorescent Material 0.50 sqm

Class 3 Reflective Tape 0.20 sqm Fluorescent Material 0.80 sqm

Hi-Vis Class 1 Lowest level of visibility

Items that commonly meet class 1 include hi-vis trousers when worn separately from other hi-vis garments.

Hi-Vis Class 2: Intermediate level of visibility

Items that commonly meet class 2 include hi-vis sleeveless vests.

Hi-Vis Class 3 Highest level of visibility

Items that commonly meet class 3 are hi-vis jackets and sleeved hi-vis vests.

It can be possible to reach the right class by combining different elements of Hi-Vis clothing such as trousers and long-sleeved jackets.

Choosing the right Class for your workers will mean conducting a thorough risk assessment, including consideration of risks such as whether workers will be working near traffic, how fast that traffic will be moving and if workers will be working outside after dark. It can be a complex task, but our team can help to advise you on what will be suitable for your needs, so do get in touch on 01726 74264 or at if you would like help with this issue.

Is the Hi-Vis workwear windproof and waterproof?

Getting wet, and windchill are both high-risk factors in workers suffering from hypothermia. For those likely to be working outdoors in very cold conditions, it is worth investing in high quality Hi-Vis PPE that has strong seams to protect from wind and water as well as extra insulation.

This quilted bomber jacket by Portwest has a two-way front zip, studded flap and knitted storm cuffs provide strong protection against poor weather conditions as well as a packaway hood.

Does the PPE offer a range of layers to ensure that workers can maintain a comfortable body temperature?

This Gore-Tex Jacket Hi-Vis Yellow is made with two layers to ensure workers can control their body temperature while still wearing Hi-Vis outwear

Is the workwear made with breathable material?

If it’s likely that a worker might be doing work that requires physical activity, it’s really important that the PPE is breathable to ensure any perspiration is allowed to evaporate. If the worker is wet and the weather cools, it can lead to rapid dropping of body temperature.

If you would like more information or assistance in finding Hi-Vis products that will meet your needs and your budget, please contact our team on 01726 74264 or at


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