Are Your High Visibility Garments Aging As Well As You?

You need dependable and long-lasting ANSI-compliant workwear no matter where your day, or night, takes you. When you’re faced with low-light conditions, heavy traffic, or harsh weather conditions, your high visibility gear is often the only thing between you and danger. How you take care of these garments matters. Do you know when to replace your aged garments? 

The Useful Life of High Visibility Garments

High visibility safety apparel is only as good as its ability to protect workers. That means garments like these can’t be judged on looks alone. Do you know what to look for when inspecting your high-visibility garments? 

Determining the useful life of a high visibility garment is complicated. When examining your high visibility gear you must take into account how often it is worn, how dirty it gets, how much damage it has endured, as well as its ability to help workers stand out from complex backgrounds. We use well-regarded ANSI 107 standards to make determinations on the useful life of high visibility workwear, but knowing when it’s time to replace a garment isn’t always so cut and dry. Our Garment Inspection Card from Kishigo is one tool that can help safety managers, compliance officers, and field workers identify when a garment needs to be replaced.

Pro Tip: According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), garments that are worn daily have a typical life expectancy of about 6 months.

Assess Garment Compliance

Garment inspection made easy. Watch this How-To video to learn how to check your high visibility garment’s effectiveness.


Look for colors to be vivid, bright, and contrasting, with proper reflectivity to offer the highest level of visibility and safety.


Garment will have good levels of reflectivity, despite some light soiling and fading.


Any garment that is torn, faded, worn, abraded, or dirty will fail to provide adequate reflectivity and does NOT offer proper visibility.

Is your garment unacceptable? Learn what to look for here.

  1. Fade –Test background fabric colors to ensure they offer maximum visibility and meet ANSI standards. If the garment is faded past what ANSI considers acceptable, the garment may not be compliant.
  2. Tears – Look to ANSI standards to determine the amount of reflective and background material your garment requires. If the garment is tattered or torn, it’s time to replace.
  3. Excessively dirty – Some soiling may be acceptable, but if your garment has excessive levels of dirt or soiling that degrades the level of visibility, it may be time to replace.
  4. Excessively worn – Garments with excessive wear often experience degraded performance of background and reflective materials that can limit visibility protection. The more you wear your garment, the more likely it will need to be replaced.
  5. Abraded – If your garment has been defaced or altered in any way, it may have less background material and reflective properties, rendering it non-compliant and in need of replacement.

Know Your Garment’s True Life Expectancy. Get your Garment Inspection Card.

*The garment card is to be used as a reference tool only.



Step 1

1. Hold directly on the garment

2. Compare garment fabric color vs. the brightness color on the card.

3. If the color matches the "CAUTION" zone, it's time to replace your garment.


Step 2

1. Try and locate an area that is as dark as possible (if applicable).

2. Have the wearer hold the card, placing the cutout area on top of the garment's reflective trim. The reflective strip on the card should be facing away from the body. 


Step 3

1. Have a second person hold a flashlight approximately 30 feet away.  

2. The person holding the flashlight should place the flashlight by their eyes with the beam towards the garment inspection card.

3. View the reflective material on the card compared to your garment's reflective material. If the brightness of the reflective material has deteriorated due to abrasion, dirt, grease, etc. it is time to replace your garment. 

Be Seen & Stay Safe

We are proud to partner with Kishigo, and our goal is the same. To protect the American workforce with the best high visibility safety apparel there is. We believe it’s our duty to help you work safely. That’s why we want to encourage you to regularly inspect your garments and determine their useful life. Because it’s our job to help you do your job safely.

You have a lot on your plate, and keeping it all straight can be challenging. But don’t worry. We are here with you every step of the way. To help make it easier, we want to share an inspection card to help you keep your garments in compliance. Fill out the form below, and one of our helpful sales representatives will be in touch with you soon.

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