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Hi Visibility vs. Enhanced Visibility Apparel

Discover how hi vis and enhanced vis garments can help you meet safety compliance.

Motorized equipment can pose a serious hazard to your employees in the field, be it cars on the road, planes on the runway or forklifts in the warehouse. Without proper safety gear, these hazards can result in serious injury or even death. In these high-risk work environments, enhanced employee visibility is an essential way to keep your team safe.     

As a leading supplier of workplace uniforms, Vestis provides several options for work environments where visibility is critically important. It’s important to understand the differences between each as well as the common applications for each.   

The Basics: Understanding Hi-Vis and Enhanced Vis

So, what are the differences between high visibility (hi-vis) and enhanced visibility uniforms? The primary difference is whether the apparel is held to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards as applied in federal and state laws, which mandates clothing and usage requirements for specific high-risk industries and specific job roles.   

Enhanced-visibility garments help people stay safe in workplace environments that are risky, but not quite as risky as those require high visibility gear. Enhanced visibility clothing features reflective striping on both the upper and lower body that contrasts well with the rest of the garment to make the wearer more noticeable. Enhanced visibility clothing does not have to meet the stringent standards set forth by ANSI.   

Hi-vis garments are legally required (and regulated) for workers in many key industries. These uniforms are more reflective and colorful than enhanced visibility and are designed to maximize the visibility of wearers as much as possible.     

Enhanced Visibility: Balancing Style and Safety

Enhanced visibility is any garment that is outfitted with reflective tape to improve visibility. For enhanced visibility shirts, this reflective taping is typically positioned on or around the lower chest and arm areas of the wearer. For pants, the reflective colors and striping are usually on or around the lower leg/shin area.   

Enhanced visibility garments are not required to meet the ANSI standards, and therefore, they can be used across a range of business industries and environments, and some of the more common applications include workers in certain oil and gas industry roles and warehouse environments.   

Hi-Vis Workwear: The Standard in High-Risk Environments

Hi-vis workwear is a legally mandated requirement for specific industries and jobs as defined ANSI and International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) standards. ANSI established the first set of standards in 1999 which applied to certain jobs and assigned garment classes for distinct types of environments. In 2008 these standards made their way into federal law for Federal Aid highway environments, encompassing workers doing highway construction, maintenance and utility work.   

Then in 2010, the government expanded these standards to include additional industries and job roles while implementing additional requirements for: 

  • Construction  
  • Emergency responders  
  • Utility  
  • Airport ramp personnel 
  • Any other employees who routinely work in low visibility areas while on the job 

Today, specific requirements can vary a bit by industry and job type, which are categorized into different classes. The garments themselves must adhere to modern standards as it relates to design, component colors, care labeling, fabric quality for both wet and sunny conditions (to reduce fading caused by the UV rays and/or rain), reflective material placement, and performance requirements materials.   

Benefits of Enhanced- and Hi-Vis Uniform Rental

When considering your unique situation, it may make sense to leverage a uniform rental program from Vestis to reap the many benefits.  

  • Staying compliant – The ANSI/ISEA standards and federal requirements can be complex, making it difficult to interpret your compliance obligations for every position you need to. Vestis experience in this industry means we can provide you with garments that support your specific requirements, making sure you always have the right uniforms for the right jobs while also meeting any statutory requirements. 
  • Laundering, maintenance and replacement – With so many care requirements that help to maintain the reflective and performance qualities of high- and enhanced-visibility clothing, you need a partner that knows how to keep these garments clean and maintained. Within our uniform services program, Vestis will pick up, wash, repair and even replace garments as needed and use methods that help these items retain their safety enhancing properties. We then deliver them back to your location so that the uniforms are always there to keep your team safe on the job.  
  • Ensure safety with constant availability – Vestis will regularly pick up your soiled or damaged garments and replenish your supply with clean, ready-to-use clothing. This means that your team should never be without their critical safety gear. 

Your Hi Vis Uniform Program Partner

From legal requirements to safety best practices, Vestis is here to help ensure your team’s safety is maximized whether you’re in need of basic enhanced visibility uniforms or high-visibility garments. To learn more about our uniform rental programs, contact us today to get started! We will happily assess your needs and walk you through the available options that will keep you compliant, safe and happy. 

Browse Our Hi Vis and Enhanced Vis Workwear

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