Sunday, June 08, 2008

Spot the worker.

I am off to work this afternoon and last week I was given a new item of uniform that I must wear. I have not bought clothes for work since 1978, my employers have always provided my work clothes. Never before in my working life have I been given one of these, a Hi-Vis Waistcoat made to EN471 Specification: Class 2 out of 100% Polyester in a bright yellow/green colour. It has Black Polyester Bound Edges, 2 Band & 2 Brace, 2 Reflective Strips stitched on around body & 1 over each shoulder with a Velcro Fastening down the middle. My company name and logo is stenciled on the back of this bright garment.

Well, now I stand out in the crowd and wearing this garment last week I was aware just how ubiquitous these Hi-Vis Waistcoats have become throughout the British workplace. Everywhere I look there are workers dressed in these yellow/green Hi-Vis Waistcoats. No matter what the person's job is they are wearing a Hi-Vis Waistcoat. A man stands up from a chair and he must put on a Hi-Vis Waistcoat before he can walk away. Foreign visitors may think that these Hi-Vis Waistcoats are a national dress because they are so common among the workforce.

What I am aware of, which has nothing to do with Elf and Safety, is that customers can identify workers very quickly at a glance. These Hi-Vis Waistcoats really stand out in a way that uniforms can not. The employee does not portray a corporate company image which is rather subtle but these Hi-Vis Waistcoats SHOUT OUT the message "I WORK HERE".

Should these Hi-Vis Waistcoats be worn all the time is open to debate. There is no need to wear them all the time, only when there is an increased risk of injury to the employee. Some workers wear them all the time so that they do not have to remember to put them on in vulnerable locations. I see a lot of bus, coach and lorry drivers coming towards me with the driver wearing the Hi-Vis Waistcoat in the cab. This practice of wearing the Hi-Vis Waistcoat whilst driving is a similar clan style statement to bikers riding motorcycles wearing a cut-off denim jacket over their protective coat.

This uniform item is cheap, just £4.50 buys you a Hi-Vis Waistcoat in yellow/green or a bright railway orange. These make the workers stand out from the crowd and I worry that employers in the future may withdraw the company uniform in favour of just supplying a Hi-Vis Waistcoat and nothing else. Then I would have to buy my own work clothes, out of my own pocket, which is something I have not done since 1978.
Steve, you need to get a hobby, buy another motorbike you know that you want to. Oh bugger I've just spent some time replying to your blog does that mean that I need to get out more as well.
Hello John, blogging is a wonderful hobby and far cheaper than owning a motorcycle. You have to get the balance right between internet time and life outside the house. I think I have got the balance right and although motorcycles are fun for a single person they are no use in a married relationship or if you have a dog.

I look forward to you starting a writing a blog of your own.
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