Hi-vis (short for high-visibility) clothing is a common sight all over the UK. An essential part of the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) of all types of workers from builders and roadworkers to security guards and police officers, hi-vis clothing is also used by cyclists and indeed anyone who needs to be seen, particularly in low light conditions.

Hi-vis clothing dates back to the 1930s, when fluorescent fabric paint was invented by Bob Switzer. After being injured in a workplace accident, Switzer spent the time of his convalescence mixing naturally fluorescent minerals with wood varnish to create what he termed 'Day-Glo Paint'. Bizarrely, Switzer decided to test his invention on his wife's wedding dress!

Switzer's 'Day-Glo' fabric paint clearly did what it was supposed to and, along with his brother, Switzer began manufacturing it on an industrial scale. The paint was quickly adopted by the military for various uses during World War II such as on panels to send signals from the ground to aircraft and painted onto buoys to show areas that had been cleared of mines. Aircraft carrier crews also began wearing fluorescent fabric to aid pilots to land in the correct areas.

Over the next decades, hi-vis clothing became a central feature of workwear all over the world. In the UK, hi-vis gear was first trialled on rail workers in the 1960s and, by 1974, was included in the 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act. The Personal Protective Equipment Act of 1992 followed and wearing hi-vis clothing is now mandatory in many industrial sectors.

BS Fixings supply an extensive range of hi-vis clothing as part of our comprehensive collection of PPE. Jackets, vests, shirts and trousers are all available so check out the range today and stay safe at work!