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How to choose the most suitable PPE online

  Essential Safety Wear   Oct 04, 2017   Uncategorized   0 Comment

safety standard

Here at Essential Safety Wear, we are experts in PPE and sell only the best value, best quality personal protective equipment around.

No matter what industry you work in, whether it is rail, warehouse, retail, catering or industrial, you’ll find the best safety wear and PPE online with Essential Safety Wear.

However, when you go to purchase your personal protective clothing online, there are often many factors that make it difficult in making your decision. First of all, you’ll need to find out any specifications from your employer when it comes to any particular requirements or standards you need your PPE to reach. As you browse our PPE range, you’ll find that there are various specifications that you should understand before making your purchase. You’ll then need to consider sizing, prize and whether the safety clothing fits in with your company uniform.

To help you when it comes to choosing the most suitable PPE online, follow our simple checklist and you can be sure to make a suitable purchase:

Check the specifications required

Depending on what type of workwear you are looking for, you’ll need to look at different specifications. If you are looking at safety footwear, for example, you’ll need to consider S1P/SB specifications, and slip resistance. Whereas, thermal workwear will entail looking at thermal resistance specifications.

We offer work clothing that reaches different standards here at Essential Safety Wear. However, what exact specifications should you be looking out for? Here is a brief guide on what a few of the basic standards represent:


BSI refers to the British Standards Institute and helps businesses establish best practices in their industry. The BSI works with governing bodies and businesses to help make organisations a true success.

While BSI may not always directly impact your choice of safety wear, it is useful to be aware of the institute and keep an eye out for organisations that are BSI approved.

CE Mark

The CE Mark is relevant to all types of safety clothing and essentially means the product has been approved to Conformité Européenne (which is French for European Conformity). All PPE should be marked with the CE Mark to prove it meets the necessary standard for all European PPE.


ISO is a standard that is applied to most PPE and stands for the International Standards Organization. It is, in fact, the largest developer of international standards and is really useful to refer to when buying your online PPE.

Here at Essential Safety Wear, we stock a wide range of products that are standardised under ISO, which makes it easy for our customers looking for a certain specification of safety wear.

But how can I make sure I am using the right standard for the right piece of personal protective equipment?

Recognising the necessary standards for safety footwear

The most basic standard to look out for when purchasing your safety footwear is EN ISO 20345:2011, which is the standard approved by ISO in 2011. Ultimately, this standard represents the minimum safety standard required for safety footwear and is important to bear in mind when purchasing your online PPE.

Further requirements of basic safety footwear are as follows:

SB: Features a toe cap that is resistant to 200 joules.

S1: Features a closed heel area, antistatic properties, fuel and oil resistance and energy-absorption.

S1P: S1P features all mentioned in S1, but is also penetration resistant.

S2: Offers water penetration and absorption.

S3: Has a cleated outsole and penetration resistance.

S4: Waterproof and leak proof (with a moulded/rubber upper).

S5: Features a penetration resistant midsole.

In addition, you may want to consider slip resistance when purchasing your safety footwear. The following acronyms can help you recognise which safety shoes have approved slip resistance and which do not.

SRA: Has been tested on wet ceramic tile (covered in a mild soap formula).

SRB: Has been tested on steel covered in glycerol (non-toxic) liquid.

SRC: Tested under both SRA and SRB controlled conditions.

Standards of thermal workwear

EN 342 stands for protection against cold and, therefore, when you purchase EN 342 approved thermal workwear, you can be confident that the item has been approved for insulation, as well as permeability and breathability.

The EN 343 standard represents safety clothing that offers protection against foul weather. What’s more, this standard can be broken down into two further specifications:

X- Resistance to water penetration (1-3).

Y- Garment breathability (1-3).

Hi Visibility Clothing

The standard EN 20471 is now the current regulation for high visibility clothing and has superseded EN471. It essentially ensures workers are visible for 24 hours, wearing appropriate reflective and fluorescent clothing in hazardous light conditions.

Further categories for EN 20471 are as follows:

Index 1 – The minimum requirements environments that are thought to be low risk.

Index 2 – The minimum requirement environments that have a medium risk, like construction sites or warehouses.

Index 3 – Should be worn when working on and/or near any traffic, for example, railway workers or road workers.

Flame resistance

Depending on your job role, you’ll require different levels of flame resistance. The standards for flame resistance are as follows:

EN ISO 14116: Offers protection against limited contact with flames. This standard can be broken down into Index 1, Index 2 and Index 3, each of which offering increasing levels of resistance.

EN 532: The standard for protection against heat and flame, PPE that meets this standard is suitable for workers in an industry that is exposed to heat.

EN ISO 11612:  This standard has superseded EN 351 and is the standard for heat and flame protection. It refers to the performance of items of clothing that protect the body from heat and flames (all body parts except the hands).

What to consider when using your PPE

It is, of course, highly important that PPE is worn appropriately and maintained as instructed by the manufacturer in order to offer appropriate protection.

You’ll, of course, want to ensure your PPE is securely fitting and comfortable and conforms with your company’s uniformity. Essential Safety wear also offer embroidery to ensure company branding on your safety wear.

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