The FPS Economy inspected the reflective safety vests distributed to consumers and professionals on the Belgian market. The overall results of this inspection campaign are disappointing. The FPS Economy is taking action against unsafe reflective vests, but also urges the consumers to watch out for certain things when buying and using a reflective vest.
Reflective safety vests (also known as reflective safety jackets) help to improve the visibility of vulnerable road users and prevent accidents.
We all wear a safety vest from time to time:
- Members of youth organisations;
- Car drivers; …
Since 2009, the safety vest has also become part of required on-board equipment in every vehicle, along with a warning triangle, a first-aid kit and a fire extinguisher.
Professionals use security vests:
- On building sites;
- oOn the road;
- During road and maintenance works;
- In ports and airports; and
- In factories.
Results of the inspection
An investigation carried out by the inspection services of the FPS Economy revealed that not all safety vests on the Belgian market meet the legal criteria.
The FPS Economy inspected 56 different safety vests over the winter of 2010-2011. The samples were gathered from a range of different retailers: petrol stations, DIY stores, supermarkets, …
Special attention was also paid to retailers offering customized safety vests, such as print shops and other companies selling customized (promotional) material (on the internet). The complete list can be found in the our campaign report (PDF, 1.21 MB).
The FPS Economy inspected:
- the administrative compliance on one hand:
- CE marking;
- instructions for use;
- required documents and certificates.
- and on the other hand, the technical safety aspects (characteristics of the fluorescent and reflective material), which were checked by an external and independent laboratory.
The following conclusions emerged from the results of this inspection campaign:
- Only 4 out of the 56 safety jackets in this inspection campaign complied with both technical and administrative points;
- 24 inspected safety vests(43%) were withdrawn from the market due to (severe) technical deficiencies;
- In 5 cases, the producer recalled his products.
A further 26 safety vests (46%) posed a medium risk, and the stocks were withdrawn from sale until the required modifications were made.
In a follow-up inspection of the non-compliant products on the market one year later, it was established that all companies had carried out the corrective measures that we demanded.
What to watch out for when buying and using a safety vest?
- The safety vest must bear the CE marking;
- The product must have instructions for use, including the following information:
- The name and address of the manufacturer;
- The name and address of the inspection body;
- All useful instructions for storage and maintenance.
- The mention of the EN 1150 or EN 20471 standard on the label is an indication that the safety vest meets the required safety regulations;
- The most visible fluorescent colours are: yellow, green, orange, red and pink;
- The surface of the reflective material (grey strip on the vest) must be large enough;
- Too large an opening on the side reduces the lateral visibility;
- Watch out when wearing a backpack or other bag: this reduces the visibility of the road user;
- Always follow the washing instructions carefully, in order to maintain the quality and performance of the product.