Safety and Design for Retroreflective Safety Tape

Published: 01st February 2012
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The technology used in glass bead reflective items is over 60 years old. This system works by reflecting light when the light hits the back surface of the bead and then bounces back to its source. The glass bead technology is much different from the microprismatic technology as the glass beads vary in both size and placement, which effects the reflectivity of the material. Typically, glass bead technology only returns about 30% of light, unless there is heavy rainfall. The rainfall will cause the reflective optics to scatter and distribute rather than bounce back directly which creates blackouts of the material until it is dried.

Retroreflective Microprism Technology

Over 40 years ago, microprismatic technology was invented by Reflexite. This technology has been proven to be the most proficient way of ensuring visibility from long distances in low light times and active areas such as dusk, dawn, work zones, roadways, at sea, and many other environments where visibility has become an issue.

The prismatic technology differs from glass bead technology in that it reflects light from the three surfaces of the Reflexite microprism before it returns the light to the original light source. The exact arrangement of the microprisms,which can be seen in a microscopic view, increases the retroreflective activity. By having the microprismsí make efficient use of surface area, it is able to deliver top notch retro-reflection. It can return light to the original source with efficiency of at least 80% which greatly enhances the visibility of the person or object fitted with the reflective material.

Why Reflective Technology is Important

Perhaps the most important part about reflective tape is that itís used in many industries to provide and improve safety. Whether glass bead or microprism, each type is used in certain ways to bring attention to potential hazards on the job and help both professionals and civilians avoid injury and danger.

Vehicles- Reflective tape isnít limited to any one surface: it can be found on vehicles around the world, most commonly on shipping vehicles for increased safety. Specific requirements exist for trucking companies, owner-operators and fleet operators such as using a particular amount of reflective tape on the sides and rear of the equipment to increase visibility.

Safety Apparel- To improve worker safety, many different industries rely on different classes of high visibility clothing. The most common industries to utilize high visibility clothing are the construction industries. Typically road construction crews use it the most and often turn to glass bead technology for their safety vests and high visibility clothing in order to produce the widest angle of light reflection toward oncoming vehicles. Marine workers, dock workers, warehouses, shipping, landscaping, grounds maintenance, flight decks and a variety of other workers and industries use the different classifications of glass bead and microprism reflective tape technology.


Rescue Gear- Both emergency medical personnel and fire rescue crews can end up in dangerous working environments. Reflective tape is on their personal protective equipment to alert nearby traffic and to keep them visible to each other in low light situations such as burning homes with large amounts of smoke.

Recreational Use - Reflective tape has made its way into recreational clothing including sporting gear, backpacking and camping gear, hats, gloves, equipment, bags and more. Outdoor enthusiasts can even purchase simple marker flags that can be used to improve the visibility of a camp site when traveling.


retroreflective safety tape is proven to help keep workers safe on the job. Professional are searching for more ways to improve their health and safety, so consider adding qualitysew on reflective safety tape that adheres to ANSI regulations for your target US market with Loxy brand reflective safety tape.

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