When working outdoors, its important for personal protective equipment to provide protection against the elements in order to aid the health and wellbeing of the wearer. The European standard EN 343 is used to assess protective clothing offering protection against rain, and is commonly used as a basis for testing outerwear such as jackets and over trousers.
If the sole purpose of the garment is to keep the wearer dry, then the manufacturer is able to self-certify the product based on the completion of an appropriate technical file. If the garment is intended to offer additional protection such as EN ISO 20471 (high visibility workwear), then EN 343 is added to the product certificate alongside EN ISO 20471 and any other applicable standards.
Testing in accordance with EN 343 covers two key qualities of the garment: Water penetration (the ability of the garment to protect against rain) and water vapour resistance (the ability of the garment to disperse water vapour arising from perspiration). In addition to this, the garment is subjected to dimensional stability, tensile, tear and seam strength testing to ensure that it is durable enough to withstand day-to-day usage.
The garment will obtain a performance level for water resistance and a separate performance level for water vapour penetration. In each instance, Class 1 offers the lowest level of performance, whilst Class 3 offers the highest level of performance. For example, a EN 343 Class 3:3 garment will have achieved a high level of water resistance and a high level of water vapour dispersion (commonly referred to as a high level of breathability).
The performance levels of a product are indicated beside the EN 343 symbol, with water resistant appearing above breathability. This marking can be found on product packaging (if applicable) and the garment washcare label.
Garments achieving EN 343 Class 3:3 are considered to be premium products as they provide greatest levels of foul weather protection and comfort for the user. If you ’d like to find out more about EN 343, contact us today and we ’ll be happy to help.
Interested in finding a premium EN 343 Class 3:3 garment? Take a look at our Hi Vis Breathable range here!