Spectrophotometry Ensures Color Quality Control of High-Visibility Safety Clothing


Posted on October 4, 2017

Workers across the nation depend on high-visibility safety clothing every day when they get up and go to their job site. Highway workers, construction workers, airport runway personnel, firefighters, some factory workers, and telephone linemen all rely on fluorescent clothing to be seen by other in order to prevent accidents.  Practically everywhere that workers perform their duties in dangerous areas with low visibility, safety clothing is an essential element of their daily gear. High-visibility clothing can be important in civilian life as well, for bikers, hunters, or anyone outdoors during hunting season.

While it’s common sense that garment manufacturers have a stake in the correct coloration of their products, in the case of high visibility safety clothing, correct coloration has actually been codified into law. According to the U.S. Occupation Safety and Health Administration, workers performing dangerous tasks requiring high visibility, such as roadside workers, must wear garments that conform to the requirements established in ANSI/ISEA 107-2015.1 The ANSI standards require that a garment’s material must be tested by an accredited laboratory and certified by the manufacturer with a Declaration of Conformity.2Without proper testing and the ability to guarantee that their products meet ANSI standards, manufacturers cannot sell high-visibility safety clothing without exposing themselves to a high degree of risk. In order to compete in the safety clothing marketplace, manufacturers must invest in color quality control instruments and processes, including spectrophotometers.

Spectrophotometers Ensure High-Visibility Color Quality Standards Are Met

Color measurement instruments that ascertain the exact color of opaque materials by measuring reflected light are known as reflectance spectrophotometers. Manufacturers of high-visibility safety clothing depend on these spectrophotometers to ensure their clothing meets the color standards prescribed in ANSI 107. The extraordinary degree of color measurement accuracy offered by reflectance spectrophotometers makes them essential to determining the color of these garments, and a standard part of safety testing.3

Even when relying on a third-party laboratory to certify garments, manufacturers can use a spectrophotometer on premises as part of their own quality control processes. In doing so, they can ensure that their products will pass inspection and not lose any valuable time or materials by manufacturing and shipping improperly colored garments.

Manufacturers can ensure that their colors exactly match the prescribed standard by using the color measurement software that comes with modern spectrophotometers. This software interprets color as a series of numerical values, allowing it to measure exact shades with decimal accuracy. By programming the software with the desired shades specified by the ANSI requirements, manufacturers can know for certain whether or not their garments meet the standard before they are passed to the lab or shipped to the distributor. These standards can be saved in the instrument’s memory, so technicians can quickly select the standard they need when testing different batches of clothing.

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