Orange is a colour that is seen in many safety items people use. It is a warm colour that encourages socialization, activity and even appetite. It is a naturally bright colour that radiates energy and warmth. It warns people about danger when there isn’t a threat of severe injury or death.
When this colour is used for safety, it has multiple names: blaze orange, safety orange, hunter orange, or Catalan orange. For this explanation, the name blaze orange will be used. Blaze orange is used as a standard choice by occupational health and safety organizations like OHSA or ANSI as one of their safety colours. People can use or wear blaze orange for its high visibility effects to remain seen making the colour safety to use in various occupations.
These are some of the following places you can find blaze orange used for visibility:
- machine parts
- road construction / maintenance signs
- safety vests
- game hunting
- warning signs
Fluorescent compounds are added into the colour dye to enhance visibility for people viewing things at a distance. The orange fluorescent colour will appear red-orange but will absorb ultraviolet light and blue rays then it will re-emit them has a radiant red-orange into your eyes. The orange has the “dominant wavelength between 595 and 605 nanometers, a luminescence factor of not less than 40 percent and an excitation purity of not less than 85 percent,” from the International Hunter Education Association about Hunter Orange. Blaze orange is so unique in nature that no other colour can be found so easily in the woods.
This orange is blended with florescent chemical treatments that radiates brighter colours in the light. The vests for construction workers have reflectors attached to them for more visibility. The reflectors, like fluorescent treatments, are added in afterwards.
When people are working outdoors, the sign is very visible during the day and night. Blaze orange is a complementary colour to the blue sky background contrasting seeing them from a far where most road construction and maintenance people would be at work. Construction workers wear the orange to appear visible in traffic and extremely busy areas.
Blaze orange is instantly recognizable and signals caution to the viewer, especially in low light situations.
In The Woods
Blaze orange is also used by hunters in the woods. They wear this orange to stand out against the greenery of a forest. This colour was standardized for hunters to wear to remain visible that other hunters don’t shoot at them and accidentally injury or kill them. In most provinces, territories or states, it is mandatory to wear an identifying colour in the woods when hunting to avoid being accidentally killed. Most other hunters could wear the colour voluntarily for the same reasons.
The orange also has a “size on body” requirement to be legal and how fluorescent the orange has to be. Some styles of hunting come in camouflage patterns that blend into the background versus a solid orange. The patterns, like camouflage, would just look like slightly moving greenery.
Blaze orange was first mentioned in the 1960 magazine publication Field & Stream. They were running an article “Hunter Orange – Your Shield For Safety” written by Frank Woolner. The article stared that the colour was for oter hunters. This was further expanded upon by Woolner’s brother Jack and the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Game’s information officer, through visibility experimentation in various types of lighting conditions. Other colours were tested before orange was a good match for sportsmen. It concluded that standard red appeared black in the shadows and yellow and some white appeared off-white indirect light. This made the orange the best choice; furthermore, some people might confuse reds and greens in their vision making it better for them to see the bright orange. Also, pink is commonly used and usually marketed to women to wear but it still doesn’t have the same type of vibrancy and noticeably like blaze orange.
Most animals cannot see blaze orange because most of the animal hunters hunt like deer, ducks and bison are colour blind. The game animals that are hunted usually have two cone cells in their eyes which would make it difficult for them to see most colours like oranges, some yellows, red and browns which would require three cones in their eyes.
Anytime there is a need to see someone from a far or a sign from a far, people would incorporate this colour into their designs or fashion in some way. People can wear blaze orange in vests, full jumpers, hats, jackets, etc.
This orange just helps with safety but never replaces common sense.