Certification of workwear and accessories

Certification of workwear and accessories

Learn more about certifications for workwear and accessories

Making sense of the European EN standards and certifications for workwear, knee pads and gloves might seem complicated, but failure to comply with them can lead to costly fines. We have compiled a list of the most important certifications to help you get informed and ensure that you choose the right workwear and equipment for the work you’ll be carrying out.

Certification of workwear

EN ISO 20471 (ex EN 471) - Visible, Hi-Vis clothing

EN ISO 20471 is the international standard for high visibility clothing, also called reflective or Hi-Vis clothing, and is the most common workwear certification. EN 20471 is the replacement for the previous EN 471 standard. The fluorescent colour makes you visible in daylight, with the reflectors ensuring you are also visible in the dark. This certification is required for work in high-risk areas, where you work near traffic, construction sites or generally near motorized vehicles, such as cranes and excavators. EN ISO 20471 is categorised into 3 classes based on the material’s surface visibility – the amount of fluorescent material and reflective material determines which safety class the clothing belongs to. Class 3 sets the highest requirements.

  • EN ISO 20471-1 - minimum 0.14 m² fluorescent material and minimum 0.10 m² reflective material.
  • EN ISO 20471-2 - minimum 0.50 m² fluorescent material and minimum 0.13 m² reflective material.
  • EN ISO 20471-3 - minimum 0.80 m² fluorescent material and minimum 0.20 m² reflective material.

See the selection of workwear with EN ISO 20471 here.

Class 3 clothing can be achieved in several ways. You can use a class 3 product or combine two class 2 products, which together become class 3 certified.

You can see the combination options in the table below:

EN ISO 20471

Class 3
Can be worn
on its own

Class 2

Class 1

Class 2

Total class 3

Total class 3

Total class 2

Class 1

Total class 3

Total class 2

Total class 1

EN ISO 11612 (ex EN 531) - Flame retardant workwear

EN ISO 11612 certified protective clothing protects the user from short-term contact with high heat and flames. The clothing is referred to as flame retardant or fire retardant in everyday speech. The clothing is classified according to various parameters, such as heat radiation, contact heat, etc. Workwear with the EN ISO 11612 certification is, among other things, suitable for electricians and industrial workers who may be at risk of exposure to fire or other hot environments. This certification is only used for clothing - with the exception of hoods. For the protection of the face or hands, additional protective equipment must be used.

See the selection of flame retardant workwear with EN ISO 11612 here.

A1, A2 Requirements for limited flame spread, A1: Surface ignition
A2: Edge ignition
B (1-3) Protection against convective heat and open flames
C (1-4) Protection against radiant heat
D (1-3) Protection against molten aluminium splash
E (1-3) Protection against molten iron splash
F (1-3) Protection against contact heat

EN ISO 14116 (ex EN 533) - Flame retardant workwear (limited flame spread)

EN ISO 14116 certified protective clothing protects against brief, accidental contact with sparks or heat in circumstances where there is no significant heat risk and where there are no other types of heat. Workwear with EN ISO 14116 certification reduces the likelihood of ignition, which poses a safety risk.

If heat risk protection is required, EN ISO 11612 is recommended.

EN ISO 14116 is often used for clothing and accessories with a lower level of flame-retardant properties. This might be Hi-Vis vests, rainwear, knee pads, socks and more.

Class 3 is the highest level. Clothing under index 3 must be used in combination with clothing in accordance with EN ISO 11612. Index 1 clothing may not come into direct contact with the skin. That means it may only be worn on the outside of clothing of index 2 or 3.

See the selection of flame retardant workwear with EN ISO 14116 here.

Index 1

Flame spread, flaming debris and afterglow properties

Index 2 Flame spread, flaming debris and afterglow properties
(Index 1) + hole formation properties
Index 3 Flame spread, flaming debris and afterglow properties
(Index 1) + hole formation properties
(Index 2) + residual flame properties

EN 13034 clothing for protection against liquid chemicals

This should be used when there is a risk of exposure to light fumes, liquid aerosols, small quantities of spray or accidental small splashes. EN 13034 protection is used when a complete barrier to liquid penetration is not required. Remove the work clothes immediately if you are exposed to chemicals.

Find workwear for protection against liquid chemicals with EN 13034 here.

Chemical group Chemical
Acid H2S04-30% (sulphuric acid)
Base NA0H 10% (sodium hydroxide - also known as lye or caustic soda)
Aromatic hydrocarbon 0-xylene
Alcohol Butanol

IEC 61482-2

Clothing with this certification protects against thermal arc hazards of an electric arc. This means that the protective properties are designed to prevent the occurence of second-degree burns. The standard does not take into account other risks associated with arcs such as metal fragments, pressure waves, electric shocks and harmful gases that occur during the evaporation of the material.

The higher the calorific value of the material or clothing, the better it will protect the user. A test can also be performed on combinations of materials, thus achieving a higher protection value.

In 2019, a new safety clothing pictogram was added that meets the requirements of IEC 61482-2, which includes two test methods with different levels of risk:

IEC 61482-2

​​​​​​​IEC 61482-1-1 - Open Arc test

Involves a medium voltage range (> 1000 V)

Materials and clothing are exposed to an open arc during this test. Each material or combination of materials then achieves a result that is stated in terms of calorific value. The calorific value is the limit for the heat energy a material can be exposed to and still protect the user from second degree burns, the ATPV value, or for when holes appear in the material, the EBT value. ATPV and EBT are calculated on the basis of a 50% degree of protection.

ATPV and EBT were supplemented with an ELIM value in 2019. The idea behind ELIM is to eliminate the risk of a 2nd degree burn and help to protect the user safely - without increasing other risks or preventing the user from working.

​​​​​​​IEC 61482

IEC 61482-1-2 - Box test (directional arc)

Involves a low voltage range (400 V).

Material and clothing are tested against a direct arc at a certain value, and with a voltage of 400 V over a time period of 500 ms. The test is conducted in two different classes. Upon completion of the test, the result will be approved or not approved. Often, a combination of lined clothing or varied clothing is required to pass the class 2 Box test.

  Arch Time
Class 1/APC1 4kA - 168 kJ (400 V) 500 ms
Class 2/APC2 7kA - 320 kJ (400 V) 500 ms

EN ISO 11611 (ex EN 470-1) - Workwear for welding

Protective clothing certified in accordance with EN ISO 11611 is intended for those who may come into brief contact with flames, work in welding or carry out similar work with similar risks. If the welding clothing is soiled with flammable substances, the flame-retardant effect is reduced. In addition, the welding clothing must be used along with other EN ISO 11611 certified clothing in order for the wearer to be fully protected. EN ISO 11611 is categorised into 2 classes:

  • EN ISO 11611-1 - protects against less hazardous welding methods and situations in which lesser amounts of splashing and radiant heat may occur.
  • EN ISO 11611-2 - protects against more hazardous welding methods and situations in which larger amounts of splashing and radiant heat may occur.

See the selection of workwear for welding with EN ISO 11611 here.

EN 342 - Cold

Protective clothing certified EN 342 protects you from cold. Cold is considered to be a combination of humidity and wind with an air temperature of below -5 ° C, where it is important to keep dry and warm. If the clothing gets wet, the properties are impaired. If there is a lot of wind, you may need more insulation, even if the temperature is unchanged. The protective qualities of the clothing can be impaired if the clothes are wet, so it is important to keep the clothes dry. Clothing for cover the hands, feet and head are needed to prevent localised cooling, which also provides better protection against cold. Make sure the clothing is zipped up and properly tightened around the wrists.

See the selection of workwear specifically designed for cold weather conditions here.