How often should you replace high-visibility clothing?

Q:

How often should you replace high-visibility clothing?

A:

High visibility clothing is an essential part of the PPE package for workers who need to ensure that others can see them on the job site. But just like other protective gear, it doesn’t last forever – and using hi-vis gear beyond its lifespan could cost you dearly.

In general, you can expect high-visibility clothing to last about six months with regular use (read about the 6 Key High-Visibility Clothing Options to Consider). The clothing might last much longer, of course, if it isn't worn on a daily basis. Workers in hazardous conditions or those who work in extreme temperatures, on the other hand, may find that their garments don’t even make it to the six month mark.

For this reason, there’s really no set time when you should replace the clothing. Instead, it’s important to consider the condition it's in. Performing a daily inspection (or inspecting it before every use) is the best way to determine when your hi-vis apparel needs to be replaced (learn about What to Look for in High-Visibility Safety Apparel).

In particular, you should replace clothing that is:

  • Faded
  • Torn
  • Dirty or soiled
  • Excessively worn
  • Defaced
  • Not visible from 1,000 feet during the day or night

To prolong the life of your high-visibility garments, be sure to maintain and clean the equipment after each use. Store it properly and inspect it on a regular basis to identify any potential problems early. If you have any doubts about the effectiveness of your hi-vis gear, do not wear it and talk to a safety supervisor to have it replaced.

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Written by Jessica Barrett
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Jessica is a freelance writer, editor, and communications consultant. After starting her career in the travel industry, she branched out on her own in 2016 and hasn't looked back since. Jessica is a regular contributor to several websites and works with numerous small businesses and NGOs around the world to craft content for both online and offline platforms. When she isn't writing, you might find her practicing yoga or adventuring (aka eating) her way through a new country.

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