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. People can use or wear other types of high visibility items to remain safe.
These are some of the following scenarios that use orange for safety:
- machine parts
- road construction / maintenance signs
- safety vests
- game hunting
- warning signs
This orange is best explained with the best explains of the colour in public use.
When people are working outdoors, the sign is very visible during the day and night. Blaze orange works have a complementary colour to the blue sky background where most road construction and maintenance people would work. The colour pops even more in the rarity of finding this particular orange outside (not including any road construction.) 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 the fluorescent orange version that stands 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 kill them. In some provinces, territories or states, it is mandatory to wear an identifying colour in the woods when hunting to avoid being accidentally killed.
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 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.
Most animals cannot see Blaze orange because most of the animal hunters hunt 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 complex colours like fluorescence or warm colours which would require three cones in their eyes to have colour vision. The fluorescent colour will appear red-orange but will absorb ultraviolet light and blue rays then it will re-emit them has red-orange to your eyes. Other colours were tested to see if they were any better than orange. 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. Other colours were tested before orange was a good match for sportsmen. Red appeared black in the shadows and yellow (some yellows) appeared off-white indirect light. Pink is commonly used but it still doesn’t have the same type of vibrancy and noticeably like Blaze orange.
Construction workers and hunters wear the same kind of garment to remain visible to others around them. This orange is blended with florescent chemical treatments that radiate 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.
Anytime there is a need to see someone from afar or a sign from afar, people incorporate this colour into their designs or fashion in some way. People can wear blaze orange invests, full jumpers, hats, jackets, etc.
This orange just helps with safety but never replaces common sense.