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First of all, the correct personal safety item should always be supplied with CE marking, producer info and the EN13356:2001 on the bag or product. Unfortunately this doesn't give guarantee that the product is correct and certified - there are still lots of counterfeiters (in China and Europe) who mark non-compliant products with these markings.
If you want to be 100% sure the product you are wearing is certified, contact your local Governmental Road Service, they should have all needed knowledge to recognize the "real deal" or even have a black list for the companies who produce counterfeit.
If the item looks like a reflector but it's named differently (reflective accessory, reflective toy etc.) you must note that these items don't have such names for nothing - it means that these items do not comply as CE EN13356 product. The reasons are different: either it is the product’s size, material, lack of waterproofness, or the item is not visible at all times, etc. We recommend to use such as an addition to a real certified product.
No, definitely not!
EN471 (currently revised as EN ISO 20471:2013) directive is meant for protecting clothing. It applies to the people who work on or near a roadside, whilst they go about their day to day jobs (firemen, police, ambulance, road workers etc.). 130cm2 - this is the minimum standard for high visibility clothing! It means at least two 5cm high bands placed around the body! Even the material is canvas, the technology is glass bead, which means when the product gets wet, it starts to lose its reflectivity - the glass on the canvas is unprotected from the environment. It is calculated so: when under the rain, there is enough reflective area which will keep the person safe. Note! Those stuffed animals are not and cannot be EN13356 certified!
The EN13356:2001 directive standard specifies the optical performance requirements and surface area requirements for accessories intended for non-professional use, and intended to signal the user's presence visually when illuminated by vehicles on dark roads. The accessories can be worn, attached to or carried by persons. This standard does not apply to garments.
The standard identifies 3 types of accessory:
Type 1: Free hanging, such as reflective hangers or dangle tags.
Type 2: Removable, such as slap wraps and arm bands.
Type 3: Mounted, such as adhesive stickers.
Maximum thickness 10mm
This is actually rather complicated issue. Yes, when certain terms are fulfilled, it is okay to print such way, but in such case, you should work with a very trustworthy and smart partner/producer.
The point is, that such printing decreases the product’s reflectivity, therefore the reflector must be bigger in overall size. Calculating the right allowed amount for print or product size demands very good technical knowledge of the product. We have seen MANY miscalculated products from other producers on the market. We do want to believe such mistakes are not done deliberately but from ignorance - still, it is a matter of life or death, users trust it is working right way, and it should!
There are only few number of high quality reflective material producers in the world ( they are located in US, no-where else ) who can provide premium quality certified material which can be used for making certified pedestrian reflectors. Even Chinese admit that they don't have any material producer who could offer stable good quality reflective material and there is a good reason why; to fulfill the requirements, the backside of the material must have millions of small prisms pressed to the film - over 7000 prisms into 1cm2!
All prisms tips must be pointed to the same direction as well, otherwise the reflector will not mirror the light back to its source. It takes enormous effort to reproduce so tiny prisms in the density mentioned above.
Bad thing for the customer is that it is impossible to estimate material quality visually at the daylight. Therefore companies who are able to make that kind of material are using certain marking to separate their product - reflective material without any marking is probably counterfeit ( this applies for EN13356:2001 products - for road safety it can be different ).
3M for instance has 3 little triangles in its material - the triangles make a pattern as they are placed about 1,5 cm distance from the next 3 triangles. Dark Aid uses 3M Scotchlite material when making its products.
Always check the top layer of the safety product because only white (silver) or fluorescent/lime yellow materials can be certified, highly reflective materials! There might be some cases when from the distance, the certified reflective products look some other colour but when taking a closer look, you should notice that actually the top material is white or yellow. This means the colourful printing is inside the product and this way the reflection doesn't suffer.