BS EN 342

Protective clothing – protection against cold (BS EN 342)

This EN Standard specifies the requirements and test methods for garments and clothing combinations designed to protect the wearer in a cold environment (characterised by a combination of humidity, wind and air temperature lower than -5 °C). The standard does not contain any specific requirements for head, hand or foot protection.

About this EN Standard

This standard’s pictogram is an ice-crystal placed alongside three figures that represent the insulation (Clo), air permeability (X) and, if applicable, the water vapour resistance (Y) values. The precise meaning of these values is explained below.

The Clo, X and Y values

The Clo value indicates a garment’s insulation properties and is a measurement of how long a person can work at a specific temperature when wearing this clothing. It is not a specific class, but can be any value. The table below shows the significance of the Clo value.

(Table to follow)

The X value indicates a garment’s air permeability. The X value has 3 classes (1 to 3). Class 1 garments have the highest air permeability and Class 3 the least. The air permeability is a wind proofing measurement, Class 1 is therefore the least windproof and Class 3 the most.

The Y value indicates a garment’s water vapour resistance. The Y value also has 3 classes (1 to 3). Class 1 garments have the lowest water vapour resistance and Class 3 garments the highest.

A more recent version (2004) of EN 342 is now available

The new version has the following values: Icler / Icle, this is the equivalent of the Clo value and two Y values. The first Y value indicates the air permeability; it is assessed in a different way to the old EN 342, but is still given as Class 1 to 3. The second Y value indicates the garment’s waterproofing. Clothing that complies with EN 342 does not necessarily have to be waterproof. This value can therefore sometimes be omitted. This value has 2 classes – 1 and 2. Class 1 is the least waterproof and Class 2 the most. If a garment is waterproof, its breathability must also be tested.


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