Inclement weather can make working outdoors extremely tough. There’s nothing that saps the spirit more than getting caught in a downpour and spending hours of the day in damp or wet clothing. Unfortunately for anyone that works outdoors in the UK, damp conditions are a fairly common problem incorporating anything from mist, drizzle and showers to thunderstorms, downpours and driving rain.
Let’s be clear, when you’re looking to defend yourself from the elements you need products that offer the maximum in protection. We’re not talking water resistant or water repellent here, we’re talking waterproof workwear! Those items that will keep you so protected you’ll want to tap into your inner Gene Kelly (for those of you old enough to remember the musical) and start singing and dancing in the rain!
So, what’s the difference between water resistant, water repellent and waterproof workwear?
Water resistant clothing can withstand exposure to wet circumstances up to a certain extent but will not be effective in a heavy shower or deluge of rain. Products that are water repellent are not as easily penetrable as water resistant garments due to their hydrophobic nature. Their surface material expels water from the fabric but moisture can still get into areas such as seams, zips and pockets. Fully waterproof clothing, on the other hand, offers protection from foul weather and differs from its counterparts in how it keeps you protected.
Under the British Standard EN 343, garments are tested against their ability to offer protection against precipitation, fog and humidity and secondly their ability to breathe in those particular conditions.
These values are split into 4 classes, with 4 representing the highest level of protection and 1 the lowest.
Water Penetration Resistance
1 – Minimum level of rain protection
2 – Intermediate rain protection
3 – Very good rain protection
4 – Highest level of rain protection
1 – Not classified as breathable under EN343
2 – Intermediate level of breathability
3 – Very good level of breathability
4 – Highest level of breathability
These ratings are reflected on the CE label inside the garment, where the EN343 mark will be followed by two numbers for example; EN343 Class 4:4. This label signifies the highest level of waterproofness and breathability.
Of course, there may be other functionalities you also need to incorporate into your waterproof clothing such as hi-visibility or protection from arc flash in which case the EN 343 standard will be used in combination with other EN standards.
In addition to the basics, waterproof clothing now also features a host of innovative design characteristics to enhance comfort and support working practices. Features such as storm flaps, breathable side panels, cuff adjusters, seamless shoulders, storage for accessories and tools, radio loops and designated mobile phone pockets.
Clad Safety stock a wide selection of waterproof jackets and trousers, waterproof hi-vis garments and waterproof arc flash protective clothing. With such a versatile collection it can be difficult to know where to start so below we’ve highlighted just a few of our favourite designs alongside the features that our clients love!
Scandinavian designers, Elka provide functional rainwear that offers complete freedom of movement. The Elka Waterproof Premium Jacket, priced at £57.05 + VAT (discounts available on multiple orders) is a quality, lightweight, waterproof and breathable jacket. Available in sizes small to 3XL the jacket conforms to standard EN 343 3:3 and comes in two colours; grey/black and navy/black.
Made from Oxford Polyester, the jacket is both durable and smart featuring a hidden, detachable hood, double storm flap with press buttons, 2-way zipper, adjustable wrist, lower hem (back length 76 cm on a size L) and taped seams. There is an inside pocket with zipper and inside phone pocket. The jacket is fully waterproof; water column rating mm H2O: 8000mm with breathability at 5000g/metre squared/24h.
The Elka Working Xtreme Waterproof Jacket with Hi Vis stripes benefits from many of the features associated with the Premium jacket as described above but offers enhanced visibility due to the addition of reflective stripes on the jacket front, back and shoulders. At £78.35 + VAT the jacket is also available in grey/black or navy/black in sizes small through to 5XL.
Complementing either jacket, the Waterproof Breathable Trousers, priced at £59 + VAT can be worn either on their own or as an over-trouser. Benefitting from multiple pockets; 2 with zippers, 2 back pockets with Velcro, a cargo pocket and double tool pocket, the trousers also have flexible and tough Cordura knee reinforcements for protection and added durability.
If you’re looking for a hi-vis option, then look no further than the Marisco Rain Jacket (£132.50 + VAT). Available in both yellow and orange the Marisco jacket is a high performance, breathable rain jacket with 2 way adjustable detachable snorkel hood, reinforced hood visor and comfortable ribbed inner neck.
Available in sizes small to 6XL the jacket is manufactured from 75D Polyester Stretch Twill with a Hydrophobic Microporous PTFE membrane. Conforming to Safety Standards ISO 20471 Class 3, EN 343 and RIS 3279 (orange only) the jacket is extremely waterproof and when tested met the requirements of the EN 14630 rain tower test and to 20,000 mm on the hydrostatic head test. With folded cuff adjusters and large hand pockets with stud fastenings and internal zip pockets the jacket is ideal for those in construction or working on site.
If you require waterproof clothing with the added protection of flame resistance or protection from Arc Flash then look no further than the ProGARM™ range. Favoured by many of our clients and conforming to a wide variety of safety standards, the Lightweight Waterproof Jacket, priced at £269.85 + VAT offers the ultimate protection in wet weather environments. The fully-lined jacket boasts many features including a two-tone design, taped seams, storm flap, elasticated inner cuffs with Velcro fasteners, seamless shoulders and a fully adjustable, removable hood. Easy stretch side panels, radio loop, inner pockets, zipped hand pockets and napoleon pocket with incorporated phone compartment add to the array of benefits.
As a RIS-3279-TOM compliant garment, the jacket is also suitable for use on and near railways, features ThermSAFE™ 50mm heat applied reflective tape, ThermSAFE™ plastic flame retardant zipper and a SafetyICON™ on the arm.
The ProGARM™ Lightweight Waterproof Jacket is designed for pairing with the ProGARM™ Arc Flash Lightweight Waterproof Trouser (£232.65 + VAT), a brilliantly designed lightweight option that offers the ultimate in wet weather protection whilst keeping the wearer’s safety, comfort and convenience in mind. In sizes small to 4XL and available in orange and yellow the fully-lined trousers feature an adjustable suspender backplate with removable suspenders. Reflective tape and SafetyICON™ ensure added visibility, whilst the extra-wide belt loop prevents the wearers’ belt from riding up. Side access when wearing as overtrousers, side pockets and a combat and phone pocket offer practical solutions.
For maximum effectiveness always ensure waterproof products are well-fitted and zipped/closed fully to reduce any chance of water penetration. As with all types of protective clothing, EN 343 certified waterproof garments should be maintained, stored and cleaned in accordance with manufacturer’s guidelines to maintain their protective qualities.
Clad Safety has been operating for over 30 years and takes pride in the excellent service that we offer to our customers. Our product range, combined with expert technical advice allows us to offer valuable workwear solutions. For further information or to find out more on how Clad Safety can support your workwear and PPE needs please contact our Customer Service Team on 0800 161 3661 or email [email protected]