Protective clothing – protection against rain (EN 343)
EN 343 specifies the requirements and test methods for materials and the seams of protective clothing that has been designed to give protection against precipitation (i.e. rain, snow,) mist and ground moisture. There is also a separate test EN 14360 for assessing the waterproofness of the complete finished garments but this test is not included in EN 343.
About EN 343
This standard’s icon shows an umbrella placed under two numbers that represent the X and Y values. The X value indicates the waterproofness and the Y value indicates the water vapour permeability (the garment’s breathability.) There is also an optional test, EN 14360 for assessing the waterproofness of the complete finished garments and if this test has been conducted the EN343 pictogram will display the letter “R”.
This standard falls within the scope of ‘self-certification’. This means that manufacturers are allowed to certify their own products, which therefore do not need to be assessed by an independent Notified Body. This is because the only risk to the wearer is that he/she might get wet, which is not a life-threatening hazard. If EN 343 is used in combination with other EN standards the whole combination of standards is assessed by the Notified Body.
The X and Y values
The X value indicates the waterproofness of the garment. There are 4 Classes with 4 being the highest (i.e. the most waterproof) and 1 is the lowest. A specific quantity of pressurised water is applied to the fabric and the respective Class is derived from the amount of pressure the fabric can withstand. The Y value indicates the breathability of the fabric/s (all the layers used in the article). There are also 3 classes for breathability with Class 1 being the lowest and Class 4 the highest. Wearing Class 1 garments longer than x minutes is not recommended (the length of time the article may be worn (x) is given in the standard in a table.)