What is EN ISO 20471 certification and why it is important to a safety vest company

What is EN ISO 20471 certification and why it is important to a safety vest company

EN ISO 20471 is a European standard that focuses on high-visibility clothing for workers. Its main goal is to enhance worker safety in high-risk and low-light conditions by making them more visible to others, like drivers. The standard sets guidelines for the design and performance of high-visibility clothing to ensure it effectively increases visibility.

Key points of EN ISO 20471:

  1. Color and Reflective Material: The standard specifies the color and amount of reflective material that must be used in the clothing. The combination of bright colors and reflective elements makes workers stand out in dim lighting.

  2. Performance Classes: EN ISO 20471 defines three classes of high-visibility clothing based on the amount of reflective material used. Class 3 provides the highest visibility, while Class 1 offers the lowest.

  3. Design and Coverage: The standard outlines design requirements to ensure that the clothing provides maximum visibility from all angles. It covers various garments like vests, jackets, trousers, and coveralls.

  4. Testing Methods: EN ISO 20471 sets out testing procedures to assess the reflective and fluorescent properties of the clothing. These tests ensure that the garments meet visibility standards and work effectively in real-life situations.

EN ISO 20471 is divided into three classes, in accordance to the risk zone you work in and to how well the product is able to protect the employee. It is the visibility requirement – and thus the requirement for the area consisting of reflectors and fluorescent materials – that determines which class you need to choose. In all products, the reflecting ability of all reflectors fulfils what previously corresponded to class 2.

Minimum areas of visible materials in m^2.

Class 3 Class 2 Class 1
Reflective Tape 0.2 0.13 0.1
Fluorescent Material 0.8 0.5 0.14
Contrast Material 0.2


Hi-Vis Class 1: The lowest level of visibility

Items that commonly meet class 1 include hi-vis trousers when worn separately from other hi-vis garments.

Hi-Vis Class 2: The intermediate level of visibility

Items that commonly meet class 2 include hi-vis sleeveless vests.

Hi-Vis Class 3: The highest level of visibility

Items that commonly meet class 3 are hi-vis jackets and sleeved hi-vis vests.

Class 3 can be achieved in 2 ways:

  1. By wearing an individual garment rated as class 3
  2. By wearing jointly certified products that make up class 3 based on the total area of fluorescent and reflective material

You can identify when products are jointly certified by looking on the inner label where the joint article will be stated. 

EN ISO 20471 certification is essential for workers in jobs where visibility is crucial for their safety, such as construction, roadwork, and emergency response. It ensures that the high-visibility clothing they wear meets the necessary safety standards. Additionally, many businesses in the European Union prefer using certified high-visibility clothing to comply with safety regulations and promote a safe work environment.

ENISO 20471 Certificate