Man suffers 1st-degree burns while wearing reflective jacket

A 40 year-old Australian environmental engineer was sent to the emergency room after he suffered first-degree burns from wearing a high-visibility jacket, news.com.au reports, citing the Australian Medical Journal. 

In an article that was published on Monday, Iona Vlad, a doctor in Perth who examined the man, said the burn came from the reflective strip found across the jacket.

"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," the doctor wrote. "He occasionally has to change position so the shirt does not touch his skin in that area."

Photo: Supplied

Vlad said she believes this is the first reported instance in which an individual suffered a skin burn from the overheating of reflective tape. Fortunately, the unnamed engineer's burn was not life-threatening, and he was prescribed aloe vera and analgesics.

Reflective tape is used to help increase visibility. It is usually made of "minute glass beads or prismatic elements encapsulated in a transparent film, which reflect light back towards its source," Vlad wrote.

The doctor has since cautioned that those who are required to wear safety clothes with reflective tape at the workplace do so in appropriate weather. Vlad also suggested that companies that manufacture such garments be mindful of the health risks that the tape poses.

"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," she wrote.

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