Why did the safety vest fail?

Many consumers will feedback after purchasing the product for a period of time, why the safety vest does not work? As a seller, how should we give consumers a satisfactory explanation to maintain the brand image, and at the same time, what matters should we pay attention to when purchasing; this article will take you to explore the reasons for the failure of reflective vests.

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The function of a Safety vest is to ensure you’re visible enough to other onlookers and drivers a good distance away at any job site. The day it ceases to do such is when you should consider replacing it. Because you’ll risk getting in an accident due to lack of noticeability.

There are various reasons why your safety vest has lost so much of its functional properties.

Why did the safety vest fail?

Safety vests consist of pieces of fabric meant to last as long as possible; however, certain factors and poor practices cause them to fail fast. Here are the following reasons why your safety vest failed:

  • You’re using the wrong one
  • Its reflective quotient is diminishing
  • Faded colors
  • It’s damaged
  • It has surpassed its wash cycles
  • It is damaged.

Please read on to know more about the possible reasons why your safety vest may be failing. Along with that, we’ll also discuss how to maintain it and how to look for another one…

5 Reasons why the safety vest failed

There are several reasons why accidents still happen to workers that wear Hi Vis safety vests:

Wrong one

One of the most common reasons is that the users probably wear the wrong one for the job. There are various types and classes of safety vests, each meant for certain types of jobs with varying risks. For instance, you can’t wear a class one hi-vis safety vest to a high-risk road construction site at night. You’ll need a class 2 or class 3 hi-vis safety vest.

You can also choose the wrong color for the job. How? The best type of safety vest to wear in urban areas with less traffic is the lime-colored one. It is because they stand out better among building backdrops. But in high-traffic environments, the orange safety vest is ideal.

Faded colors

If it is not the wrong one, then your vest probably has a color brightness problem. Most likely due to many hours of rigorous and messy tasks that cause it to fade over time. Thus failing to meet the American National Standard Institute 107 color requirements. Unsuspecting workers with such vest risk serious worksite injuries.

safety vests color contrast

Note: you can use an ANSI inspection card to determine if it visually meets the required colors.

Its reflective quotient is diminishing

Another reason a safety vest may fail is if its reflective tape fades from long-term use. The reflective tape is a crucial part of the vest that reflects light to the source. Thus keeping its user safe for tasks that involve machinery in low-light conditions. Without the tape in good condition, you risk getting into a worksite accident.

It has surpassed its wash cycles

Despite the vest’s durable build, washing it causes it to wear and tear (at a very slow rate). You shouldn’t just dump it straight into the washing machine filled with corrosive substances, which will affect its brightness and ANSI compliance status over time. Spot cleaning is the best alternative to give you a long-lasting experience with the vest.

safety vest max wash
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Note: every safety vest has a care tag that says how long it’s expected to last.

It is damaged

If your safety vest is damaged (ripped, torn, or can’t close again), you risk work site accidents. For instance, a vest in pieces or holes won’t be fully-effective at reflecting light to the light source. Another possible problem with a damaged safety vest is the likelihood of getting cut by dangerous objects or active machines on the work site.

How do you maintain a safety vest?

To ensure your safety vest is always in tip-top shape now and later, you have to adopt some practices that’ll maintain and prolong your vest’s lifespan:

Spot cleaning

If you wish to preserve the life cycle of your safety vest, it’s best to practice spot cleaning. Using a soft sponge or cloth and mild soap would be best. However, such a method would be a poor choice if you’re coming from a messy task. Like asphalt resurfacing or pipeline repair. The appropriate action will be to wash the vest completely.

Note: wash your safety jacket concerning its wash cycle limit.

Keep away from direct sunlight

Uv rays from sunlight are the active reason why the fluorescent color became faded over time. So try to give your safety vest a break from the sun’s rays. You could keep them in an area free of direct sunlight.

Air-dry your vest

Please, do not dry your vest with a dryer. It will affect your vest’s compliance with the American National Standard Institute 107 color requirement. Instead, it would help if you air-dry over a line indoors, away from indirect sunlight.

Abide by its care instruction

Each vest comes with its care tag or care instruction, which usually includes its wash cycle limit and sometimes tips on how to dry them. Some even indicate that they are washing machine safe.

How do you wear a safety vest?

If you don’t wear your vest properly, you risk getting into an accident. Here are two tips on how to wear your safety vest correctly:

It must be visible

When you’re wearing your safety vest, you should avoid covering it up with a cover overcoat. The idea is to keep you visible to others during operation hours. This tip also applies to stickers and even the company logo.

It should be your fit

Your safety vest must fit you comfortably so that you can work easily while being safe from potential accidents. If your safety vest happens to be too tight, you are bound to experience discomfort throughout your day at the job. And thus cause you to damage the vest or wear it improperly.

On the other hand, if it is far too loose, it is also dangerous. Because the vest will most likely latch on anything dangerous on the work site, it may even cause you to be stuck in a dangerous area.

women workerwear

Tips on how to clean your safety vest

Here are tips to effectively clean your safety vest without hurting its lifespan:

  • Do not use fabric softeners
  • Make sure to check the instructions tag before drying
  • Only use a delicate cycle setting on the washing
  • Try to practice spot cleaning as much as possible.
  • Keep your safety vest away from harsh cleaning products.


The safety vest is a delicate piece of clothing you should care for. With wrong practices, it can become useless in playing its part which is to increase noticeability. With the recommended preventive practices, you should never have to wear a defective safety vest again. And the ones you do have are sure to last longer.

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Hello there! I'm Ellen, your go-to safety clothing expert with over 16 years of experience. My team and I specialize in hi-vis clothing and reflective wear, helping businesses like yours thrive.

What sets us apart is our commitment to streamlined processes, transparency, and prioritizing your needs. We're not just vendors, we're solution providers.

So, why not connect with me for a no-risk free consultation and a free sample? Let's start a conversation today!


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