Hi-Visibility Certification Scheme
Helping you make sure your hi-viz is up to standard
BETA have launched the BETA high visibility garment certification scheme to help to clear up the confusion surrounding high visibility garments and accessories for riders.
Following the re-classification of high visibility garments under EU legislation to category II Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), all such garments must be tested to pass the appropriate European performance standard. The identification and understanding of this certification has proved challenging for retailers and riders alike, leading to the development of the BETA certification scheme.
Companies joining the new scheme will use BETA labels and stickers to make the identification of their garments easier for both buying and selling them. Only garments that are certified to one of the relevant standards applicable to visibility clothing will be allowed into the BETA scheme. BETA will monitor the garments entered into the scheme and undertake a system of rolling checks annually to ensure that the garments remain certified and up to standard.
Each of the standards covered by the scheme will be represented by a different coloured label, similar to the well-known BETA Body protector standard. Please note that the requirement for garments to be certified to one of these standard only applies to products for the rider, not for the horse.
The three standards and related colours covered under the scheme are:
EN471 (2003) & EN20471 (2013) (Aqua label)- For professional use.
If working with or around horses and being supplied with hi-viz garments as part of your work, then they should be to this standard in order to meet health and safety legislation.
EN1150 (Royal blue label)
For non-professional use, ie leisure riders.
EN13356 (Navy blue)
For accessories such as detachable belts, arm and hat bands, gloves and half chaps.
Hi-Viz Standards....Buy safely for your safety
Why has BETA set up this certification mark?
A number of member manufacturers and distributors of hi-viz approached BETA to set up a BETA branded certification mark. Whilst their own PPE garments were up to standard, they were concerned about the number of uncertified garments being placed onto the market place causing confusion amongst customers as to how to recognise properly tested and certified garments.
What is PPE equipment and how does it affect high visibility garments?
Personal Protective Equipment is a product that offers you a certain amount of protection or is safety related. PPE is divided into categories depending on the risk factors so something like an electric kettle is Category I, whilst body protectors and riding hats are Category II. Until recently high visibility clothing was also Category I, however a decision was made in April 2009 in Brussels to re-classify hi-viz clothing as Category II which requires the manufacturer to submit their garments to a notified/approved body (such as a testing house) for “type examination” (testing to the appropriate standard) – meaning in the case of riders either EN1150 or EN471. Only once this has been done can a CE mark then be placed on the product.
Why do these standards exist?
Standards are in place to guarantee you, the buyer and user, that the garments do what the manufacturer claims they will do. They ensure that clothing is reasonably durable and does not fade or suffer a loss of reflectivity after washing or a short period of use. In the case of Hi Viz, the standards set requirements for colour and luminance to ensure that the wearer can be seen by day, whilst it sets the requirements for retro-reflective strips that will make the wearer more visible in the dark when illuminated by light. It also sets requirements for wear and tear and requires washing instructions,( including the number of cycles through which the garment will retain its reflective performance to be given) as well as clear sizing (more than just S,M or L).
What if products are not certified?
If the garment is not certified then you could risk buying a garment expecting to be clearly visible to traffic when in fact you are not. High visibility garments work by reflecting light back towards the light source. The retro-reflective bands usually appear just as a dull silver/grey colour so the buyer or wearer cannot tell whether the garment's reflectivity is good or not. Not only could you be taking an unnecessary risk with your own life and that of other road users, but if you were involved in a traffic accident you could find that you may have invalidated or reduced your insurance cover by contributing to the accident.
What about items for the horse?
The PPE directive only applies to garments for people, so items for the horse do not fall under the directive.
What about rider accessories?
Accessories such as detachable belts, arm and hat bands, gloves and half chaps are covered by EN13356. Compliance is an assurance that the product gives sufficient reflection at night in all weather conditions and has reasonable durability. If compliant the accessory must be permanently marked or labelled to indicate compliance, together with user information and product information similar to garments.
What if the garment doesn't claim to be hi-viz, even if it looks like it is?
If it looks like hi-viz and you are given the impression that it acts like hi-viz then the garment should meet the relevant standard.