EN Standards: How Do They Keep You Safe?


European Union standards is an umbrella term based on the safety standards provided by the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN), European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardisation (CENELEC) and European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI). While each organisation offers their own set of safety standards, upon request by the European Commission, these were harmonised to provide a streamlined approach and split the responsibilities of various safety standards between European legislation and European standards bodies.

There are literally dozens of safety standards set out to provide the highest standard of safety for everything including building, clothes, video apparatus and even toys. When it comes to safety and high visibility clothing, there are a number of safety standards designed to provide the highest levels of safety performance

What is EN 471?

EN 471 represents the minimum standard of performance and test methods for high visibility clothing with approved reflectors. Essentially it outlines that a fluorescent garment must be capable of visually signalling a wearer’s presence within a hazardous environment or one of reduced visibility.

In total there are 3 different classes of high visibility protection, each more stringent than the last:

In some scenarios, garments of a lower safety class can be combined to achieve a higher class of high visibility safety should they meet the minimum class 3 requirements.

After washing and wearing, the performance of a high visibility garment can diminish as the reflective tape begins to fade. It’s important to maintain the garments at their highest standard of safety and take the necessary measures to repair and replace high visibility clothing when this is no longer the case.

What is EN ISO 11611?

EN ISO 11611 refers the minimum safety requirements for protective clothing when used in welding and allied processes. The standards are based around garments designed to offer protection to the wearer’s body, head and feet when working in welding and other processes which contain a comparable risk.

EN ISO 11611 offers two specified classes of minimum safety requirements designed to provide added protection against splatter of molten metal, minimum contact with flames and radiant heat from the arc along with minimising the possibility of electrical shocks:

To meet the minimum standard of safety for EN ISO 11611, the protective garment must cover the whole body. This can done by combining multiple garments such as a jacket and trousers. For the highest standard of protection, these garments should also be used in combination with other PPE such as welding gloves, aprons and helmet.

What is EN ISO 11612?

EN ISO 11612 refers to the minimum safety standard required for protective clothing used against heat and flames. All garments must be made from flexible materials and offer protection in situations of limited flame spread properties to which a user can be exposed to radiant, convective or contact heat or to molten metal splashes.

There are 6 different standards within of certified safety standards which range from A to F.

What is EN ISO 1149?

EN ISO 1149 refers to the ability for a garment to offer electrostatic properties and surface resistivity that are going to protect the wearer from any form of electrostatic discharge. To conform to the minimum requirements there are a number of factors which must be taken into account in addition to the use of antistatic fibres which prevents the transfer of charge.

All antistatic clothing should be worn in conjunction with antistatic footwear to provide you with added protective to help dissipate the build-up of antistatic electricity from the body and keep you grounded.

What is EN 388?

EN 388 refers to the ability for gloves to provide the wearer with protection against mechanical hazards. The safety standards are based on four levels of performance: