Road Safety Authority left red-faced as high-vis vests aren't visible
They're the high-vis vests that turned out to be embarrassingly low-vis.
Now the Road Safety Authority (RSA) is to begin the task of replacing more than 200,000 free high-visibility vests over the coming weeks – because they just aren't visible enough.
After a highly publicised campaign last year to distribute the free vests – bearing the logo "Be Safe Be Seen" – to reduce road deaths, the RSA is replacing them due to flaws in the reflective tape used by their Chinese manufacturer.
While the vests are not being recalled – because they do give wearers added visibility on the road – another 150,000 remaining in stock have been destroyed and the manufacturer has agreed to make "significant changes to its production process".
The "low vis" vests failed to meet "the minimum retro-reflective requirements of the relevant standards" after the RSA had the vests tested.
Following consultation with the European Commission and independent experts, the National Consumer Agency (NCA) concluded "that the vests did not comply with the basic health and safety requirements".
"The RSA have been working on a notification strategy with the supplier to make the public aware of this issue and to organise replacement of the vests. This is scheduled to start at the end of July with a public notice on rsa.ie, nca.ie and in national publications advising of the issue and of the replacement strategy.
"It is also important to note that the costs will be borne by the supplier," the statement read. The revelation is contained in the NCA's 2012 report.
Tom Bourke, the NCA's head of product safety, said the vests were among 116 products sold or distributed here in 2012 that were recalled, or required major modifications because they did not meet EU standards.
Other faulty products sold here included 2,000 240-model Mister Monitor carbon monoxide alarms sold at Woodies and Atlantic Homecare that were recalled in January 2012 because they failed "sensitivity requirements" to properly detect the deadly odourless gas.
The majority of the unsafe products, 58pc, were manufactured in China or other Asian countries.
The number of notifications in 2012 was down slightly from 2011 at 122 but they average around 115 a year, Mr Bourke said. He also said the sheer volume of products coming into Ireland from China gave rise to the large number of faulty goods.
But there was also a problem with shoddy manufacturers there as well, he added.