UK Safety Expert Arco Advises on Standing Out Safely This Winter

An engineer wearing high-vis PPE clothing

As the winter weather approaches, fog, heavy rain and snow can make it difficult to see outdoor workers and sadly, the consequences can be devastating. The second most common cause of workplace death is being struck by a moving vehicle. As periods of daylight lessen and the weather worsens, ensuring all workers are in the correct hi-vis clothing is an essential measure to help mitigate the risks. Arco, the UK’s leading safety expert, shares guidance on being safe and seen when working outdoors during the months ahead.

Clothing may seem brightly coloured, but only specific yellow, orange-red, and red coloured garments made following safety standards are sufficiently bright to prevent accidents. In recent years, the need for vigilance on product quality has been clearly demonstrated by counterfeit and low-quality PPE being sold in the UK. For all high-risk environments, providing EN 20471 certified high visibility clothing is a simple, cost-effective way to improve the visibility of workers and ensure compliance. The standard ensures that:

  • The garment has a sufficient area of fluorescent material to provide high visibility in daytime
  • Retro-reflective tape covers a sufficient area and is arranged to reflect light on all sides, keeping workers visible in low light

A roadwork crew wearing high-vis PPE clothing

Different designs affect whether hi-vis clothing offers the highest possible level of protection (class 3) for very high-risk environments or lower-level protection (class 2 or 1) for lower-risk environments such as settings with slower traffic. As a member of the British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF) Registered Safety Supplier Scheme, Arco supplies protective clothing that is compliant with the relevant standards and regulations and genuinely performs as it claims.

The European standard for hi-vis clothing is based on a series of tests, including colour fastness, colour measurement, dimensional stability, reflective tape testing and garment assessment. However, care should still be taken to ensure that any hi-vis clothing issued is adequately cleaned and maintained. This means checking for any damage such as rips or tears that could become a snag risk or get trapped in moving parts, ensuring that garments are cleaned regularly and the maximum wash cycles are not exceeded. Businesses should also consider their unique working environment. For example, dirty environments will require protective clothing that is able to withstand the rigours of industrial laundering.

A risk assessment considering the wearer and the task at hand, the weather conditions and the industry can help determine which hi-vis garments are needed. Arco provides expert advice on hi-vis suitability and product selection to keep workers safe and businesses compliant. For more information or to view Arco’s full range of hi-vis clothing, visit Arco’s expert advice page.

Man wearing reflective high-vis PPE in the rain

About Arco: What they do and how they’re different

Arco is the UK’s leading safety products and services company. Its core purpose is to keep people safe at work. It distributes a world-class range of over 170,000 quality assured, branded and own brand products, including personal protective equipment, workwear, safety footwear, gloves, workplace safety and hygiene products. It is unique.

Arco Professional Safety Services provide consultancy, training, services and equipment to manage the most complex and high-risk, high hazard scenarios. Specialising in working at height, confined space and respiratory management, they deliver solutions for those working in situations with the highest risk of serious injury or irreversible damage to health.

Headquartered in Hull, Arco reaches its customers through its extensive product catalogue, website and national network of retail stores. The company has sales of over £320m and employs more than 1600 people nationwide. Its 400,000 sqft National Distribution Centre distributes products to 25k customers in the UK and Ireland, dispatching 150 pallets and 8000 parcels a day. Arco makes it easy for customers to procure and issue PPE with services such as digital procurement, vending, a mobile issue unit, wearer packing and branded workwear from their in-house Clothing Centre based in Preston.

As the market leader, Arco is committed to helping shape the UK’s safety agenda in order to ensure workers go home safe every night. Through an extensive public affairs programme, Arco experts have contributed to some of the key debates on health and safety regulation, product quality and standards, PPE procurement and emergency planning.

Arco is committed to providing safety equipment that is genuine and compliant with relevant standards and regulations, Arco tests both its own product range as well as carrying out surveillance on other products in the market to ensure compliance. With a five-step product assurance process, Arco remains the only safety distributor with an independently accredited testing laboratory, this assisted by a team of specialists in their Xiamen, China office who support with sourcing, quality control and factory inspections. Additionally, it is a member of the BSIF Registered Safety Suppliers Scheme, and Arco experts sit on numerous Standards Boards.

Arco was the first member within the H&S industry to join the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) incorporating its internationally recognised code of labour practice into its own ethical policy and in 2010 became a member of Sedex, the Supplier Ethical Data Exchange. To ensure ethical standards are met throughout its supply chain, Arco carries out regular independent supplier auditing. Working with the ETI and other regulatory bodies, the company plays a leading role in helping to educate and eliminate modern day slavery across the globe.

Principles of sustainable development have long been embedded in the way Arco does business. Arco’s Sustainability Action team has committed to ensuring the business behaves responsibly in all areas, investing significant time and resource to identify ways to reduce plastics, packaging and recycling.

Founded in 1884 and with a heritage spanning five generations, Arco demonstrates traditional family values and is dedicated to its Corporate Social Responsibility policy. Arco is committed to help keep communities safe, inspire young people to achieve their full potential and to enhance local life, making the communities they serve better places in which to live, work and invest. It does this through charity and community support, donating 1% of pre-tax profits each year. Arco also gives colleagues two days’ paid leave each year to volunteer in the community and the opportunity to partner with and sponsor community groups and charities, forming lasting relationships that support them in the vital services that they offer.

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