Poundworld Fined for Non-Reflective Hi-Vis Jackets

Published on: 10th Dec 2015

Poundworld has been fined £70,000 for selling £1 'Hi-Vis' jackets with the logo 'be safe, be seen' that were not actually reflective.

The high street retailer sold 95,000 of the Chinese-made vests for £1 in their stores, however tests showed reflectivity was no more than 2.4% of what it should be. As a result all jackets in UK stores were recalled following a Trading Standards probe.

The company pleaded guilty to engaging in misleading commercial practice. The Chinese manufacturers had provided test certificates that were misleading to Poundworld. The fine demonstrates the court's disapproval of those who put on the market safety aids that are not safety aids at all.

This demonstrates that you get what you pay for. Most of these high visibility vests were bought by the public to wear when riding bicycles, running at night, keeping in their cars for emergencies etc. So what is the cost of a 'real' one that meets the requirements of a suitable and sufficient hi-vis vest:

    • The Safety Supply Company - £1.48
    • Amazon - £1.76
    • Arco - £1.85
    • Screwfix - £3.99

What you need to know

  • There are 3 classes of garment type based on the levels on conspicuity they provide.
  • On all garments the retro-reflective tape must not be less than 50mm wide.
  • CLASS 3: Highest Level of conspicuity
    • Minimum background material 0.8m2
    • Minimum Retro-reflective material 0.2m2
    • i.e. Jackets with sleeves to be worn in accordance with Clause 4.2.4 and to Class 3 on dual carriageway roads with a speed limit of 50mph or above
  • CLASS 2
    • Minimum background material 0.5m2
    • Minimum Retro-reflective material 0.13m2
    • i.e. Arco code 1880500 2 Band & Brace Hi-vis waistcoat 
  • CLASS 1
    • Minimum background material 0.14m2
    • Minimum Retro-reflective material 0.10m2
    • i.e. Minimal risk such as off road activities. Hi-vis trousers will commonly meet this standard when worn separately from upper garments.

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