Protective clothing against rain and bad weather
EN 343:2003 Protective clothing - Protection against rain
This standard specifies the requirements and test methods for materials and the seams of clothing designed to give protection against precipitation (rain, snow), mist and ground moisture. The clothing falls into risk class I, so no type testing by an independent test institute takes place unless the garment meets several standards in addition to this EN 343. In 2019, the standard has had an update. An additional (improved) class 4 has been added.
The contents of this standard
This standard's pictogram is an umbrella placed under two numbers that represent the X and Y values. The X value indicates the waterproofing and the Y value indicates the water vapour permeability (the respective garment's breathability).
This standard falls within the scope of ‘auto-certification’. This means that manufacturers are allowed to certify their own products, which therefore do not need to be approved by a test institute. This is because the only risk to the wearer is that he/she might get wet, which is not life-threatening. If EN 343 is used in combination with other standards (for example, a 4-safety parka that is waterproof), the whole combination of standards is assessed by a test institute.
The X, Y and R values
The X value indicates the waterproofness of the article. There are four classes: here, 4 is the highest class (i.e. the most waterproof) and 1 is the lowest. A certain amount of pressurised water is applied to the fabric (in combination with an insert); depending on the amount of pressure it withstands, the class is determined. Classes 1, 2 and 3 have remained the same. With class 4, the waterproofness (of fabric and seams) is better and this is tested after pre-treatment, also for the seams.
The y value indicates the breathability of the fabric(s) (all layers used in the article). There are also four classes for breathability. Class 1 is the lowest value and Class 4 the highest. If an article falls in class 1, it is recommended not to wear the article for more than x minutes (how long the article can be worn is indicated in a table in the standard). . Class 4 is a better added class and the boundaries of classes 2 and 3 are shifted
The R-value is optional and indicates whether the finished product has been tested using the rain tower test. An "X" indicates that the clothing has not been tested for this
The requirements set in this standard
- Models must meet the requirements specified in EN 340
- The tensile strength, tear resistance, shrinkage and seam strength must be within the tolerances specified in the standard
There are no further model requirements for this garment. Obviously, the clothing may not have any openings (e.g. detachable sleeves) that will allow water in during normal use.