Clad Safety’s Guide To Waterproof Workwear EN 343
Did you know that it typically rains for 148 days every year in the UK? This equates to 40% of the time.
A bit of rain may be an inconvenience for most of us. But for industries such as Construction, Utilities or Rail – the work can’t always stop just because it’s raining. This is especially the case for emergency works or even large scale projects that are time sensitive as just two common examples.
To be able to carry out their duties in all weather conditions, workers need to be geared up with clothing and safety footwear that is waterproof. As well as ensuring better comfort for workers, waterproof workwear also has various health and safety benefits too.
Waterproof workwear is one of our specialisms as leading UK workwear and PPE suppliers. Here is an overview of the different types of waterproof workwear we stock, along with an explanation of the applicable European standard for waterproof clothing – EN 343.
Working In The Rain – Regulations You Need To Know About
The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations of 1992 (recently updated in April 2022), states that “Employers must protect workers from health and safety risks. This means they must provide PPE free of charge if a risk assessment shows it is needed.”
Beyond the basic safety risks that would require waterproof clothing, comfort of workers is also extremely important. If clothing or safety footwear is wet through, then this isn’t pleasant to work in, and can even lead to the onset of various health conditions. Therefore, waterproof workwear and safety footwear is strongly recommended if workers will be exposed to wet working conditions.
Risks Of Working In Wet Conditions
Foul weather clothing is usually associated with wet conditions caused by rain, snow, sleet or ice. However, the general ground conditions may also pose a risk. For instance, on a construction site, various building materials such as fresh concrete may be in liquid form. There may also be spillages, floods or other unforeseen liquids that pose a hazard.
When buying workwear or PPE, it’s important for employers to consider the risks of working in wet conditions, both from the weather and the nature of the job.
These are some of the top health and safety issues that waterproof workwear seeks to eliminate:
Slips and trips – Anything from spillages to wet floors can cause slips and trips. Injuries from slips and trips can range from strained muscles to serious fractures or dislocations. While site safety plays a part in reducing slips and trips at work, so too does the safety footwear your employees wear.
In its guidance for employers on how to avoid slips and trips at work, the HSE states: “With footwear, like any product, you tend to get what you pay for. Ensure you buy footwear which will do the job – this will not necessarily be the cheapest. But it may be more comfortable or attractive – ensuring that staff wear it, and it may last longer.”
Chilblains – Chilblains can occur due to exposure to cold weather. The condition causes itchy swellings on the face or extremities and can be extremely bothersome.
Hypothermia – When the body loses heat faster than it can produce it, hypothermia can set it. Hypothermia is a medical emergency and can be caused by exposure to cold air, water, wind or rain. Therefore, those who work outside or in cold or wet conditions are at risk of developing the condition.
Other cold-related conditions – There is a wide list of medical conditions that can be caused or exacerbated by exposure to cold or wet weather. All of which could increase employee sickness rates while decreasing workplace satisfaction.
What Does EN 343 Mean?
EN 343 is a European Standard for protective clothing which is designed to be worn in wet weather. It takes into consideration the construction of the garment along with the fabric used.
There are two main category ratings that make up EN 343. The first looks at how waterproof the item is, and the second measures its breathability.
Each of the two categories runs on a scale of 1 to 3, with the higher the number meaning the better level of protection. These numbers will follow after the EN 343 rating. So for instance, an EN343 class 3:3 label means it has the highest possible rating for both waterproofness and breathability.
Every industry and usage requirements will differ. So, if you’re not sure what EN 343 level rating applies to your team, it’s important to consult an accredited supplier of waterproof workwear such as ourselves here at Clad Safety.
Clad Safety Waterproof Workwear Types
- Waterproof safety footwear
- Waterproof high visibility jackets
- Waterproof high visibility coveralls
- Waterproof high visibility overtrousers
- Waterproof jackets
- Waterproof overtrousers
We stock a wide range of clothing and footwear that can help protect your workers from the elements. Some of our top brands include GORE-TEX, which has the famous slogan ‘Guaranteed to keep you dry’. Other notable mentions include Leo Workwear, which has developed LTEC (their own version of GORE-TEX).
Another popular product to check out is our Marisco Rain Jacket which has the benefit of being waterproof, breathable and compliant with EN 20471. Available in high visibility yellow and high visibility orange (RIS 3279-TOM), it’s suitable for several industries including Construction, Utilities or Rail (hi vis orange only). Made from 100% 75D polyester stretch twill hydrophobic microporous PTFE membrane, it meets EN 343 4:4 standards for being extremely waterproof while being highly breathable.
Clad Safety – Waterproof Workwear Supplier UK
In search of waterproof workwear for a large team? Or have any further questions about EN 343?
Clad Safety is a leading UK supplier of waterproof workwear. With over 30 years in business, we work with a wide spectrum of industries including construction, engineering, health, rail and utilities.
Our products along with our dedicated workwear portal Clad Serve are geared towards procurement managers, health and safety managers and buying teams from large organisations. So if you’re in search of quality clothing or footwear for your employees, including waterproof clothing then you’re in the right place.
Give us a call today on 0800 161 3661 or email us at [email protected] to place an order with us or for further information.