Skip to content Skip to navigation menu

Managing Traffic Injury Risks

Hi-vis clothing is one of a range of safety measures

This page will start you thinking about the control measures you can put in place to remove or reduce the risks to your employees from moving vehicles and other mechanised equipment. Wherever possible prevention should come before protection.

Reduce the Likelihood of Incidents

For each situation, the question needs to be asked whether traffic hazards can be removed entirely. Safety leaders should then do everything they can to ensure workers are not at risk. Any residual risks of vehicle incidents should then be controlled so that harm is unlikely.

Ensuring workers stand out near vehicles by wearing high visibility clothing is one of a range of measures that can be taken to manage workplace safety, helping to prevent tragic accidents.

Look at facilities and equipment on site:

  • Ensure site facilities are suitable. For example, examine the lighting levels, road routes, warning signs and markings, barriers and parking facilities
  • Keep pedestrians and vehicle traffic a safe distance apart whenever possible, both inside and outside, and especially during loading/unloading
  • Provide safe crossing places for pedestrians when needed
  • Ensure vehicles are safely maintained, service records kept
  • Think about other sites where your employees work and those who drive on public roads for work purposes

Look at policies and procedures:

  • A suitable site induction should be given to everyone, pedestrians and drivers, so that they remain safe around vehicles. They need to be properly informed of procedures and policies before entering so they follow safety rules and wear correct PPE
  • Vehicle should only be operated by those authorised in writing as competent to do so
  • Have clear site rules, including speed limits for all drivers and enforce them through management and penalties
  • Ensure safe work practices are adopted, for example when anchoring loads, coupling, sheeting, lifting and doing vehicle checks
Wearing yellow hi-vis jacket and trousers a maintenance worker walks under a crane at an industrial port.

This list will not be comprehensive for all sites, so ensure you undertake your own, thorough risk assessment

Hi-Vis Clothing for Increased Visibility

For high risk environments, providing EN 20471 compliant high visibility clothing is a simple, cost-effective way to improve the visibility of workers. It attracts the attention of vehicle operators, gives them more time to react and so reduces the risk of people being hit. It also provides workers with the confidence they need to carry out their job safe from harm.

Genuine hi-vis clothing is made from two materials that aid conspicuity in daylight, at night and in adverse weather:

  • The fluorescent material provides daytime visibility
  • Retro-reflective tape helps keep people visible at night and in low-lighting. Retroreflective materials reflect light directly back towards light sources, for example from a pedestrian back towards a driver's headlights, increasing the wearer's visibility in darker conditions

Dress for the Level of Risk

For some jobs, a hi-vis vest may be all that's needed to make sure others can see the wearer in time to prevent an incident. However, workers who are particularly at risk may need full body hi-vis to ensure they're as visible as possible to drivers (eg maintenance workers or marshallers). The greater the risks, the greater amount and higher class, of hi-vis clothing needs to be worn to ensure that workers are easily seen.

On the UK railway network, it is compulsory for all people working on the track or lineside to wear fluorescent orange, RIS-3279-TOM high visibility workwear.

Car breakdown assistant is clearly visible on the dark roadside in his highly reflective hi-vis.

Working Outdoors

Think about the environment employees are working in, as hi-vis clothing may also need to provide workers with protection against the weather.

Clothing that keeps workers comfortably warm in the winter and cool in summer helps concentration and so increases their effectiveness and productivity.

Providing employees with layers that they can wear or remove depending on their level of activity or external environment, helps them to remain in control of their personal "thermal comfort" levels at all times. Wearing an outer, mid and base layer in cold weather is also more effective than one thick layer as insulting air is trapped between them.

In hi-vis trousers and jackets two air ambulance medics quickly walk from a helicopter in the rain.

Maintaining Hi-Vis Clothing

When first purchased, garments are tested to ensure they perform and meet the standards specified. However, when hi-vis clothing becomes dirty, its visibility is compromised, meaning it may no longer work to the desired effect.

If you're relying on hi-vis clothing to keep workers being seen, it's essential to wash it regularly to remove dirt, oil and grease. Remember, in order to preserve the life of hi-vis clothing, it's important to adhere to the recommended care instructions printed on the garment label and in the manufacturer's instructions. It's also important to regularly check the condition of hi-vis clothing, looking for any physical damage such as torn retroreflective tape.

We have worked with our partners Gore to illustrate the importance of maintaining your hi-vis hazardwear.


As well as providing suitable clothing, employers must ensure all staff are properly trained on how to wear their garments and that workers understand the reasons for wearing hi-vis. They also need to know how to clean, inspect and maintain their gear and when it should be replaced.

To drive meaningful changes, workers also need to be educated around safe working practices, particularly if pre-existing habits need to be overcome. In an environment of increasing technology in the workplace, it's important that employees don't become too reliant on sensors, anti-collision systems and cameras. Arco Professional Safety Services can provide training, for both safety leaders and your workforce. Visit for more information.

More from Arco

Recommended Products

We sell a wide range of hi-vis clothing to suit all budgets and applications to ensure your employees can always be seen. We have it all, from premium quality GORE-TEX® to Arco Essentials; from waterproof jackets to polo shirts; flame resistant yellow hi-vis to railway approved orange hi-vis, for both women and men, plus branding options and a bespoke design service.

All Expert Advice