Monday, 23 September 2013

The Day the World Turned Day-Glow?

Since When Did the Florescent Hi-Viz Yellow Safety Vest Become a National Costume? 

Yes, This is Real

I am not the sort of person who is astute enough to recognise an investment in a product as a potential winner going into the future, but whoever designs, sells and manufactures high-visibility safety vests must surely be making a killing (that's a pun btw) off the Health and Safety hysteria we are surrounded by these days. These yellow (sometimes orange) day-glow garments are to be seen everywhere now. From school yards to backyards. They have almost become a kind of casual wear as so many people will not go out in public without wearing them.

Recently, I was walking through the hardly remote mountains near where I live among the rustic and rocky landscape and I suddenly catch sight of this procession of yellow bobbing objects coming towards me. As they got closer it dawns on me that it is the local hill walkers club and they are all fitted out in spectacular bright yellow safety wear that would scare off all indigenous wildlife for fifty miles around while causing dormant plants to spontaneously pollinate. 

Here they were, out to enjoy nature at its most natural and they were dressed as unnatural as possible. What was the great danger that these visual markers are so badly required? This is an Irish mountain trail with gastropub at the end of it, and not a remote outcrop in the far reaches of Mongolia were you might need to be identified by a helicopter several thousands feet up in the sky during a blizzard. They were in more danger of blinding each other with their yellow high-visibility safety vests and tripping on a rock, than they would be dressed more in tonal sympathy with the landscape.

I can understand the need for being seen while working on a construction site with heavy machinery moving back and forth, or walking the dog/cycling at night on a country road, but mowing the lawn in the front yard? Yes, one of my neighbours does just that. And he is not the only one. I see it all over Europe now. The National Costume of the European Union and elsewhere is now this sleeveless garment of blinding yellow polyester. 

How long before they will be a legal requirement for having sex? Cooking dinner? Watching TV for heaven's sake. Will bands have to wear Hi-Viz vests on stage so they do not bump into each order to prevent a serious injury from a guitar pick? Will babies be delivered wearing them?

More tellingly, from a societal point of view, the fact is that high-visibility safety vests are not a requirement; legal, safety or otherwise in most situations in which they are worn, speaks volumes about how conditioned humans have become. People have been trained to 'assume' they 'have' to wear them even when they are not required and offer no safety benefit. They also put people into a mindset that they consider their fellow humans a danger, a potential safety issue, and social and even family contact if fraught with imaginary dangers and risks. A world of sheep being its own sheep dog.


  1. Teaming them with shorts or micro mini skirts and high heeled boots is quite funny though. Making them a fashion statement so that they will be acceptable. I used to think they were odd at first but since so many people wear them for work I don't think anything about wearing one.

  2. they put the safety of construction workers at risk by making them ubiquitous

  3. Just think, one day it might become compulsory to wear hi viz yellow onesies (more social engineering?) all the time, you will have no choice...beautiful.

  4. On the bottom of this post is an advertisement so you can purchase a vest, funny how someone is always there to make a buck off something. Powers that be never miss a beat.