Hi-Vis clothing colours & classes

All you need to know about high-visibility clothing

You may have seen a few different colours of Hi Vis vest and jackets – parking attendants in Blue, horse riders in pink – but which colour is best for the working environment? Neither – these two colours wouldn’t be allowed anywhere near a building site.

Fluorescent yellow is the most common of the Hi-Vis colours, but if you’re working outdoors, surrounded by trees and grass, fluorescent yellow will just blend in to the background. To avoid this, choose orange Hi Vis to stand out and be safer. That’s why rail workers wear orange, so they can be spotted by the train drivers from distance.

If you’re working indoors, in a warehouse, on a building site or factory environment, yellow Hi Vis is the best choice. Although orange is great for rural settings, it doesn’t show up as well in less well-lit buildings. Yellow is much better for low-light conditions.

Some Hi Vis clothing is made up of two colours – often one fluorescent and one not. This can sometimes denote a specific area in which you are working. Some items of clothing have darker lower halves which help disguise dirt, oil etc.

The Class System

Hi Vis clothing comes in three classes:

  • Class 1: This is considered low-level protection. Two-tone vests and Hi Vis that contain a minimum of 0.14m2 of fluorescent material and a minimum of 0.10m2 of reflective material
  • Class 2: The middle-level protection choice. Hi-Vis vests that contain 0.50m2 fluorescent background fabric and 0.13m2 reflective material
  • Class 3: This is the highest level of visibility. Hi-vis jackets, long-sleeve sweatshirts and T-shirts, vests that when combined contain 0.8m2 fluorescent background material and 0.2m2 reflective fabric

Red, Pink, Green, Blue are Black vests may have reflective strips, but these items of clothing are not fluorescent and would be no good for the working environment and are therefore not classified as Hi-Vis clothing.

Find the best Hi Vis colour for your job with our Hi Vis Collection.

Explore our Helly Hansen Workwear range to find the best kit for when you’re on the job.


Ardmoor teamClothingGuides