PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) is designed to ensure the safety of wearers in the world’s most dangerous industries; therefore each and every PPE garment or accessory must go through rigorous testing in order to meet exacting industry standards. This is why all safety equipment comes marked with a code that shows it is compliant with these standards, and provides additional information about the product’s use.
If you’re a DickiesStore customer, you’ll already know that every quality product we stock is marked with these codes. Here’s a little more insight into the EN specifications of these products, from head to toe:
A safety helmet with the specification BS EN 397 can withstand a 49 joule Crown Point impact. These helmets are essential in any environment where falling objects pose a risk, such as a construction site.
Product example: Dickies Safety Helmet EN397 (SA8402)
You can never be too careful when it comes to protecting your eyesight, and safety goggles are required to meet the basic BS EN166 requirement at the very least. EN specifications appear on both the frame and the lens of every pair of safety goggles, providing the wearer with detailed information about the levels of protection they provide.
Frame markings: These typically include the manufacturer name and BS EN compliancy, followed by information on the strength of the frames and the type of protection they provide. For example, in the case of frames marked Dickies 166-F T 4:
- Dickies is the manufacturer,
- 166 shows that the frame complies with BS EN166 regulations,
- F tell us that they can withstand an impact of up to 45mps,
- T shows that they can be used in extreme temperatures,
- 4 indicates dust protection over 5 microns.
Lens markings: These provide information on the radiation protection, light transmission, optical quality and lens properties of the glasses. It is vitally important that every one of these aspects provides suitable protection from the surrounding environment.
If you work in an environment where the noise levels are 85db or higher, effective hearing protection is essential. There are three basic forms of industrial hearing protection to choose from, namely:
- Earmuffs – BS EN 352-1
- Earplugs – BS EN 352-2
- Earmuffs attached to helmets – BS EN 352-3
The various hearing protection equipment available offers a range of different benefits. For example, earmuffs are easier to fit and more comfortable to wear over long periods of time, while earplugs are more lightweight and form a more effective seal.
Product example: Dickies Ear Defenders 25db EN352 (SA8500)
Masks, filters and compressed-air units are all forms of respiratory protection. Their EN numbers reflect their application, which falls into two main groups:
- Particulate filters.
- Gas and vapour protection.
Product example: Dickies FFP3 Respirator EN149 2 Pack (SA8008)
Safety gloves include a safety graphic and EN specification that give the wearer information about their resistive properties. A higher number means higher performance.
- Mechanical protection – EN 388
- Heat protection – EN 407
- Cold protection – EN 511
- Micro-organism protection – EN 374
- Chemical protection – EN 374
Long-lasting protection and comfort are essential, which is why safety shoes are designed for all-day wear.
EN 20345 is the specification for shoes or boots with protective steel toe caps.
Product example: Dickies Cleveland Super Safety Boot EN20345 SB P (FA23200)
EN 20347 is the specification for footwear that does not contain a protective toe cap.
Product example: Dickies Non Safety Landmaster Wellington Boot EN20347 (FW91105)
Garments like overalls and warehouse coats are designed to protect wearers from a number of hazards. These can be split into three major categories, namely Environmental, Mechanical and Heat.
Environmental hazards include bad visibility, foul weather and low temperatures. EN specs vary depending on the purpose of the garment; for example, BS EN 342 indicates protection against cold temperatures, while BS EN 471 means high visibility.
Product example: Dickies High Visibility Bomber Jacket EN471 EN343 (SA22050)
Mechanical hazards include sharp tools and machinery. A garment with the spec BS EN 381 protects against hand-held chainsaws, while BS EN 510 minimises the risk of the wearer getting tangled in moving machinery.
Fire/ heat hazards include flames, molten metals, radiant heat and convective heat. A product’s EN specifications will depend on what type of heat it has been designed to resist.
EN specifications might sound complicated, but at the end of the day they serve a simple purpose – to provide you, the customer, with the guarantee of safety and protection in your working environment.