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Judith Hackitt, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) chair, has issued a warning about the growing familiarity of high visual workwear across the country.

Writing in a recent HSE website blog post, Hackitt recalled a first-hand experience at Wantage market in Oxfordshire. As well as adult jackets and tabards, she queried the display of similar clothing for small children on one of the stalls.

Going on to say that the essential personal protective equipment (PPE) makes perfect sense in areas such as industrial settings and on transport networks, Hackitt said:

“There's no doubt that in some jobs high visibility coats or tabards are absolutely necessary and can genuinely be life saving...”

“[But] for workers in people's homes or children in playgrounds? What's the logic behind wearing them here?”

She went on to say that the ubiquitous nature of PPE in inappropriate settings risked undermining the importance of measures put in place to safeguard health and safety.

Hackitt also reiterated her belief that such clothing should only be used where there is a clear risk.

However, she feels that many firms are simply instructing their workers to wear clothing as a knee-jerk reaction to essential workplace health and safety policies.

With hi-vis apparel being showcased on the catwalks at London Fashion Week, she did say that there could well be a benefit to a trendy image being developed.

Writing that whilst it may help to dispel many people's misgivings about wearing the gear when working in areas that pose a high risk, she said it is still vital to distinguish when it is and isn't a necessity.

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