What is the Best High Viz for Tree Surgery

Guides Health & Safety

23rd August 2019 | Info

The Importance of Hi-Viz Clothing in the Tree Surgery Industry

How many times have you been up a tree (especially evergreens with dense canopies), shouting at your groundsman to get somewhere more visible as you need to drop sections out of the tree, but you can’t see them? The above images give an example of two grounds staff and how much clearer it is to see them when they wear Hi-Viz clothing. You would be devastated if you hurt someone you work with by dropping a heavy section of a tree onto them from height, not to mention how serious of an injury they could gain from doing so. We have all seen the dents left in the ground from large sections, so imagine what it could do to a person.


With the increase of garments available in the tree surgery marketplace, there is no excuse these days to not wear suitable clothes. Yes, they can vary in price considerably, and the cheaper versions are often not so comfortable, but with the competition available there is an increasing number of decent items available at a more affordable price.

Hi-Viz Clothing and Tree Surgery – 'What to Wear and When’

There is much misconception on the rules and regulations for Hi-Viz clothing and what class of clothing to wear for what occasion. Research into this has led to a conclusion that there are no specific definitions of workplace scenarios for the class differences and that it is based more on the levels of retro-reflective material on show.


With tree surgery and other industries, it is often more the client’s requirements and rules that govern what we must wear on site. Modern manufacturers generally base their garments on the Railway industry rules and regulations as this is considered the highest recommended level of visibility protection to be seen clearly.


The Facts:


Tree surgeons and other industry workers often think that it is about the number of bands on a Hi-Viz garment. This is not necessarily true as it is the amount of Hi-Viz material and the amount of background material that is on show that counts.

The Class classifications of Hi-Viz Clothing

CLASS 3 – Is the highest protection level of retro-reflective material that is a minimum of 5cm/50mm wide, with an overall coverage of 0.20m sq. on background material, which is a minimum of 0.80m sq.


CLASS 2 – Is the middle class of protection where, like Class 3, the retro-reflective material is no less than 5cm/50mm, with an overall coverage of 0.13m sq. It differs from Class 3 as it can be on background material of 0.50m sq.


CLASS 1 – Is the lowest level of protection although the retro-reflective material is also no less than 5cm/50mm but can be a minimum of 0.10m sq. on a minimum background material of 0.14m sq.


This classification is based on EN ISO 20471:2013, which has been revised from the previous high visibility PPE standard – EN 471. W.


Links for further reading on the facts can be found at:





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