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Lime Green Mesh High Visibility Safety Vests - Is There An Easier Way to Put On?

Updated on April 15, 2011


OK, I've been wearing these thin, mesh, unrated, lime green high visibility safety vests for a long time.  I still get screwed up once in a while putting it on.

I'm not the brightest guy on Earth. Not even close.... not...even... close.... but I should be able to wear a vest.

If you use the classic thin, mesh, lime green high visibility vests you probably know what I mean. We started using a slightly different vest at work and it is much easier to put on.

Why So Awkward to Put On ?

The green mesh vests without the reflective tape are very light weight. Only several ounces. They are very comfortable to wear. So light and comfortable. that it is easy to forget that you have one on. I've actually gone home without realizing I am still wearing my vest.

This comfort comes with one small caveat in that they can be tough to put on. It is hard to explain unless you've actually used this safety garment. They are so thin and lightweight that there is no rigidity to the product.

For comparison, think about how easy it is to but on a heavy winter vest. The more rigid winter vest makes it easy to get your arms through the holes. The heavier weight helps the vest to hang down neatly off your body with no folds or ends tucking in odd directions etc.

On the other hand, the light weight lime green vest is so light that it goes completely limp when you hold it out in front of you. Half the time when I grab the vest from the rack, I can't tell if it is upside down or inside out.  It gets worse when you handle the vest while walking or trying to put it on during a windy day.  It's like trying to get your arms around a rabid dog. OK... not really... but you get the idea.

One Way to Fix This

Honestly, I make it sound more like rocket science than it is. One way to overcome this is simply by regular use. We all want you to be safe. If your job requires you to wear your high visibility vest regularly, everyday then wear it regularly, every day. With daily use you'll develop a knack for putting it on though, I assure you, there still will be those days where you look like child trying to dress for the first time

Another Way to Fix This

Another way to get that vest on easier is to upgrade to the green (or orange) safety vest with the 1" reflective tape. This high visibility safety garment has the 1" wide tape already permanently adhered to the garment. This visibility tape actually makes it easier to put this garment on.

I suggest the vest with the 1" tape since that is also what we use at work.  Larger tapes might even work better but I only have experience with the 1" tape.

Keep in mind to, for this article, I'm not lending any safety advice.  Different work conditions call for different vests.  The mesh lime green vests we use without tape are 'non-rated' safety vests. The next logical 'step up' for our work environment would be the same vest with the 1" tape.  Your conditions may vary so please speak with a safety professional before making any safety garment decisions.

Keeps Good Shape Even Before Put On
Keeps Good Shape Even Before Put On
Mesh Vest With Reflective Tape Keeps Good Shape When Worn
Mesh Vest With Reflective Tape Keeps Good Shape When Worn

Why Does the Reflective Tape Make it Easier to Get on

When we switched to using the vests with the tape I wasn't thrilled with the overall appearance. No safety vest is what I would exactly call 'handsome' but I was just getting used to the lime green only vests. Like all humans, I suppose I was biased by my own habits. Once I gave in and started wearing the vest with the tape, I realized it is a much easier product to get on and off my body. It also fits to my body better when I wear it.

Reflective tape on the vest certainly makes you more visible in this vest than in others. Besides that, the 'built in' tape gives this garment more weight and more rigidity. The tape reinforces the fabric nicely.

The rigidity also allows the garment to hold its shape before you put it on. You can tell this simply by holding it before you put it on. This rigidity helps when you are finding the arm holes and helps ensure that you are putting the vest on the right way (not upside down, backward or inside out)

The weight of the reflective tape garment isn't much more at all than the all green (or all orange) version. That said, that extra couple ounces of weight helps the 'reflector' garment to maintain its shape on your body. The vest without tape tends to hang sloppily off of your body. The non-reflector vest easily shifts and folds over on your body giving it an awkward, wrinkled look. The vest with the tape does much less of this.

Why is this Important

Honestly, I'm not going to sit here an pretend this is the most important article you have ever read.  Only people who have worn the lighter green version truly know for sure what I am talking about.  With that in mind, if the vest is easy to get on more people are apt to wear it when they are supposed to.   Also, a high visibility garment that isn't put on correct isn't going to be as visible as it should be .  The reflective, green vest should encourage use because it is easy to put on. The tape will make it more visible as well

Don't Take My Word For it.

As with any occupational safety article, don't take my word for it. The vests we use do not have special ratings or classifications. I reference the vests with 1" tape because that is the next 'step up' for our company.  Your needs may differ depending on what hazards are faced on the job.

If you have a special need for safety garments or personal protection devices, be sure to consult with your workplace safety team or safety officer for the proper rated equipment.

In lieu of a safety team, please contact a safety professional and see out his or her guidance. Workplace safety is paramount. There is no sense doing anything unless you are sure you can complete it without hurting anyone, including yourself.


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    • TurtleDog profile image

      TurtleDog 6 years ago

      Thanks Jacmo! I appreciate you stopping by and checking out my reflector vest article

    • profile image

      Jacmo 6 years ago

      Handy article. Thanks.

    • TurtleDog profile image

      TurtleDog 7 years ago

      Very well said. I saw a number of kids wearing them at Halloween as well. I suppose fisherman could wear them during hunting season or perhaps a dozen other reasons I didn't think of until you mentioned it. I was in a 'work' frame of mind when I wrote this.

      Thanks for the comment 2uesday!

    • 2uesday profile image

      2uesday 7 years ago

      Visability vest are a good idea for cyclists too, especially in winter when the evenings are darker as people travel home form work. This was a good idea for a hub page article.