Choosing the Right Hi-Vis PPE for the Heat

A selection of standard construction safety equipment spread out on a wooden table, viewed from above.

Selecting personal protective equipment (PPE) that ensures visibility and maintains comfort and safety is crucial, especially when working in hot environments. High-visibility (hi-vis) PPE keeps workers visible in low-light and high-risk conditions. However, during the scorching summer months or in consistently warm climates, the added layer of protection must not contribute to heat stress or discomfort. Learn how to choose the right hi-vis PPE for the heat and get some tips for staying cool while wearing it.

Understanding Hi-Vis PPE

Hi-Vis PPE includes garments, such as vests, jackets, and coveralls, that have brightly colored materials (usually fluorescent yellow or orange) and reflective tape. These colors are easily visible during the day and they reflect light at night to increase visibility in low-light conditions.

Workers who wear hi-vis gear and work on construction sites, roadways, airports, mines, or anywhere else where they must be visible to moving vehicles or equipment.

Choosing the Right Hi-Vis Gear for Hot Environments

Here are a few key factors to consider when selecting hi-vis PPE for hot environments:

  • Look for materials that allow air to circulate and moisture to evaporate, keeping the body cool and preventing heat stress. Mesh or vented fabrics are ideal for this purpose.
  • Hi-Vis PPE should have moisture-wicking properties—where the fabric pulls sweat away from the skin, keeping workers dry and comfortable—in addition to breathability.
  • Heavy fabrics can contribute to heat stress, so opt for lightweight materials that still provide adequate protection.
  • The sun’s rays can be just as dangerous as the heat, so choose hi-vis gear with built-in UV protection to keep workers safe from harmful exposure.
  • Ill-fitting PPE can be uncomfortable and restrict movement, leading to added stress in hot conditions. Ensure that the gear fits properly and allows for freedom of movement.

Tips for Staying Cool in Hi-Vis PPE

Wearing hi-vis PPE in hot environments is necessary, but it doesn’t have to be unbearable. Here are some tips for staying cool while wearing hi-vis gear:

  • Drink plenty of water before, during, and after work to prevent dehydration and heat-related illnesses.
  • Schedule regular rest breaks in a cool, shaded area to allow the body to cool down.
  • Consider using cooling vests or towels that you can soak in cold water and wear under hi-vis gear to relieve the heat.
  • Schedule work for earlier or later in the day when temperatures are cooler, if possible.
  • Look for signs of heat stress in your fellow workers and take action if necessary.

Choosing the right hi-vis PPE for the heat is crucial for safety and comfort. Workers can stay cool and protected while on the job by considering factors such as breathability, moisture-wicking, and fit. Remember to take precautions such as staying hydrated and taking breaks to prevent heat-related illnesses. With the right hi-vis gear and some simple strategies, you can stay safe and cool while working in hot environments.  

Hi Vis Safety can help you find the perfect hi-vis gear if you need Ansi safety vests for hot environments. Check out our selection of lightweight, breathable, and moisture-wicking PPE today to stay safe on the job. Keep cool and be seen with hi-vis gear from Hi Vis Safety.