High Visibility Clothing – EN 20471

EN ISO 20471 is an international safety standard introduced in 2013. This standard imposes the specifications on the high visibility workwear and safety requirements of the employees. Each standard is reviewed every five years. Hence, it was considered and confirmed again in 2018 and is applicable in the present time. 

High visibility clothing is required in the industries where maximum work occurs in traffic or the dark, with big motorized vehicles like cranes, bulldozers, excavators, or such others. It is intended for visual signaling of the workers’ presence in any light condition and to avoid accidents. In high-risk areas, using the right safety wear is extremely important.

EN ISO 20471 is the most widely accepted norm under the PPE directive. In the new standard, many safety policies were regulated. Water tightness, reflectiveness, and durability of the material have been assessed. It sets out strict specifications for fabric color, design, pattern, and performance of each component of the clothing. 


EN ISO 20471 is categorized into three classes. It depends on the visibility/reflectivity of the garment and protection level for different situations.

CLASS 1 – Minimum level

Class 1 high-visibility clothing is used where a minimum level of protection is required.  It is suitable for work within the company’s premises or on the private road, which has a maximum traffic speed of 30km/hr. It is used in situations with a low risk of accidents and collisions. High visibility clothing must integrate a minimum of 0.14m2 of background material and 0.10m2 of retro-reflective material and 2 meters of 5cm wide reflective tape.

CLASS 2 – Intermediate level

Class 2 high-visibility clothing is suitable for work on public roads of A and B class, with a maximum traffic speed of 50 km/hr and for delivery drivers. It provides excellent visibility for roadworks, even in the dim light. It must integrate a minimum of 0.50m2 of background material and 0.13m2 of retro-reflective material and 2.60 meters of 5cm wide reflective tape.

Class 3: Highest Level

The highest level of protection is mandatory for any person working in the dark, on or near motorways or airports or dual carriageways, at traffic speeds up to 90 km/hr. The optimum visibility hugely reduces the risk of collisions or accidents. It must integrate a minimum of 0.80m2 of background material and 0.20m2 of retro-reflective materials and 4 meters of 5cm wide reflective tape.

The new standard EN ISO 20471 is concerned with the regulations of high visibility clothing with the risk analysis and risk assessment in high-risk scenarios. In this new standard, the CE mark harnesses have been eliminated. It has a high visibility requirement consisting of reflectors and fluorescent materials. It modulates the safety of employees, by the risk zone they work in.

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