Tradie Given First Degree Burns By Reflective Stripe On High-Vis Shirt
A West Australian doctor has issued a warning to tradies, after treating a worker for first-degree burns from the reflective stripe on his high-visibility uniform.
The 40-year-old man took himself to the Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital emergency department in Perth, complaining of a painful red rash across his back.
The rash, which stretched across the width of his back, coincided with the upper high visibility band on his work shirt, which he had been wearing all day while working as a field environmental engineer.
"The patient also reported that the high visibility tape on his shirt often becomes extremely hot when he works out in the sun," Emergency medicine specialist Ioana Vlad wrote in the Medical Journal of Australia, released on Monday.
"And he has to change position so the shirt does not touch his skin in that area."
The man was treated for a first-degree burn and was reportedly left in pain for a few days.
To the author's knowledge, it's the first reported case of skin burns occurring due to the overheating of retroreflective tape.
"Workplaces mandating clothes with retroreflective tape should ensure that garments with the tape in areas touching the skin are not worn in very hot and sunny conditions and consider using removable vests instead," Vlad wrote.
The patient had been working as an environmental engineer and was required to wear the high visibility shirt.
According to the author, the patient had complained the retroreflective tape often became so hot while he worked in the sun that he had to constantly change position so the tape did not touch his back.
Retroreflective material is usually made up of minute glass beads or prismatic elements held in a transparent film. This reflects light, such as sunshine, back at its source.
The Queensland Government warns that this material can cause "discomfort and sunburn".
"In some cases where the tape bands extend over the wearer's shoulders, it increases heat build-up around the shoulders, neck and ears," it says on its Business Queensland website.
It advises that possible hazards should be recognised in the workplace's risk management practices and procedures.