What do Safety Vest Colors Mean? (Which One to Use When)

Safety Vest ColorsSafety vests generally come in two basic colors: fluorescent green-yellow and fluorescent orange. But the question is what do the colors mean?

To answer that, we can shortly tell that both the fluorescent colors are just meant to be noticeable from far in order to prevent struck down by a vehicle.

In this article I am going to tell you in details about the two colors of the safety vests and what do they really mean that is why and where are they used.

So, without any further delay…

Let’s get started!

Orange Safety Vests

Orange safety vests are actually fluorescent orange in color because safety vests are meant to be bright, fluorescent and attractive or visible from very far. The orange safety vests are used by:

      • Traffic signallers
      • Construction site workers

Why and when are they used?

Orange safety vests are used in open areas, especially for the day time. They are used to make a contrast with:

      • The green environment
      • The blue sky
      • The yellow sunlight
      • The black background

Orange Safety Vests

The contrast of color the orange safety vests make with these backgrounds accounts to its use in those environments.

The Yellow Safety Vests

Yellow safety vests are actually fluorescent green-yellow in color and they are meant to prevent accidents and to keep people safe. The yellow safety vests are used by:

      • Construction workers
      • Emergency responders
      • Workers who work outdoors

Why and when are they used?

Yellow safety vests are mostly used at the night time because the human brain notices the fluorescent yellow color from a far distance and that is also one of the reasons behind using this color for warning signs and hazard symbols.

Yellow Safety Vests at Night

The selection of colors:

If you want to use which colored safety is the best for you, you need a deeper understanding of some factors which I have mentioned below:

What do you mean by conspicuity?

The term conspicuity refers to the ability of the object’s color to come to direct notice of the observers. 

But what are the factors that make an object color noticeable in complex environments such as a busy traffic area which is filled with a number of colors?

The key factors working behind conspicuity are:

      • Contrast
      • Recognition

Now let me explain these two terms in details:


Contrast Safety VestContrast means a color that is very different and unique to the rest of the background colors.
Contrast is essential for detection and detection can be attained by using a fluorescent color that is very different from the rest of the background. 

For example, if the background environment consists of more of greeneries and the worker wears fluorescent green-yellow, it won’t be a visible or distinguished from far because the yellow color will mix with the green background.

Therefore, in order to make the worker visible we have to make a contrast in the object color and the background, and this can be achieved by the orange safety vest because orange would give a good contrast with the green colored background and the worker would be visible from a far distance by any fast driven vehicle. And the yellow color would be better suitable with a black background.


Recognition refers to the subconscious response to a particular color. While fluorescent yellow is the brightest color on the chromaticity scale and can be detected fastest by the human brain than any other colors, orange on the other hand, compels the human mind to think of impending hazards or dangers. 

While the yellow color might be used for less risky jobs that is traffic signalers or off-road construction workers, orange on the other hand being able to set a good contrast with the green and brown natural environment, might be used for on-road construction workers.

Top 10 Safety Vest For Construction For Men And Women

Before we say Good Bye:

Both the colors work very well for safety purposes. While the orange safety vest makes a great contrast with the background environment, the fluorescent green-yellow safety vest is noticed by the human brain very fast and from a greater distance as compared to the other colors.

You have to choose one between the two according to your work conditions and the requirements.

The safeties offered by both the colors on their own grounds are unparallel.

That’s all guys for today. We will be back shortly with another piece of information. Till then, take care, stay safe and…

Work safely!