A doctor in Perth has issued a warning to tradies after his patient suffered first-degree burns from a reflective strip on his high-vis vest.

The 40-year-old went to the emergency department of Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital complaining of pain across his back.

When he was examined, Iona Vlad noticed a burn.

The tradie had suffered a first-degree burn on the reflective strip across his high-vis shirt, Dr Vlad wrote in the latest issue of the Australian Medical Journal, out today.

“The patient … was required to wear (the shirts) throughout his working day (and) also reported that the high visibility tape on his shirt often becomes extremely hot when he works out in the sun,” Dr Vlad said.

“He occasionally has to change position so the shirt does not touch his skin in that area.”

He went onto say that it appears to be the first case of skin burns from the overheating of reflective tape.


The case was not life-threatening but did cause pain for a few days, it was treated with aloe vera cream and a simple analgesia.

“Retro-reflective tape is used on work clothing to increase the wearer’s visibility to others, especially in the dark,” Dr Vlad said.

“It usually consists of minute glass beads or prismatic elements encapsulated in a transparent film, which reflect light back towards its source.”

“Manufacturers should consider designing shirts that decrease direct contact between retro-reflective tape and skin, potentially by increasing the number or thickness of cloth layers under it,” Dr Vlad finished.

Missed The Christian O'Connell Show? Catch up by clicking play below and join us from 6AM every weekday!