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EN 14058:2017 – Garments for protection against cool environments

An overview of the European standard for cool environment clothing.

Image © volkansengor

The EN 14058:2017 standard specifies the performance requirements and test methods for garments that provide protection against local body cooling in cool environments. A garment meeting the requirements of the standard is intended for use in an environment characterised by the combination of humidity and wind (wind cooling effect) at air temperatures above -5ºC.

Many work activities are carried out in cool environments – for example, outdoor construction work or indoor food processing jobs. The type of clothing tested to EN 14058 includes waistcoats, jackets, and trousers, and also separate thermal linings that can be added to a garment.

Ensembles and garments intended for use in cold environments, where air temperature is -5ºC or below, must be tested to the requirements of the EN 342:2017 standard. The EN 14058 and EN 342 standards are not applicable to headwear, handwear, or footwear. Furthermore, coveralls can only be assessed against EN 342. If it can be anticipated that a cool environment may also include wet conditions (such as rain, mist or fog), a garment should be assessed against the requirements of EN 343:2019 – the standard for classifying garments that afford protection against rain.

Ideally, cool environment clothing should be lightweight, wind-resistant and breathable. If it is, a user is provided with a degree of comfort. High levels of thermal insulation results in perspiration, which in turn leads to wetting of a garment interior, thereby reducing effective thermal insulation.

Cool environment clothing that is destined for use within the European Union (EU) has a status of 'Category I' personal protective equipment (PPE), as defined within the EU Regulation 2016/425. Many garments that are sold within the EU may have multiple claims made for them, such as high-visibility and/or (for instance) protection against heat and flame. These types of garments can also be tested to EN 14058 when a claim for protection against cool environments is made.

Testing to EN 14058

The principal classification of the protective property of layers of an EN 14058-conforming garment is based on an assessment of its thermal resistance (Rct). Thermal resistance values gained through testing result in one of four classes being ascribed to a garment. However, if as a result of testing it is found that thermal resistance is Class 4, the resultant effective thermal insulation (Icler) of the garment layers must be determined. This test is carried out using a whole garment mounted on a walking manikin. It may be noted that materials with a thermal resistance in excess of EN 14058 Class 4 requirements are normally used in the construction of cold environment clothing that are sought to comply with EN 342. Moving manikin tests require an ensemble of clothing to be tested, which may include outer clothing and underwear specified by a supplier. If no standard underwear is specified for use, a standard set of underwear as defined in EN 342 can be used.

Figure 1: The pictogram indicating protection against a cool environment

If a cool environment garment is intended to be used outdoors, the air permeability of the garment layers is measured in order to determine a construction's wind resistance. The EN 14058 standard gives guidance on material classification. It also states air permeability classification for materials that are suitable for indoor or outdoor use. If any degree of water penetration resistance is claimed for an EN 14058 garment, it must meet the minimum requirements given in the standard. This does not mean that a garment meeting the minimum requirements can claim protection according to EN 343, which has more complex requirements. When water penetration resistance is claimed for a garment, water vapour resistance testing must also be conducted in accordance with the EN ISO 11092:2014 standard. This standard also requires materials for testing to be pre-treated, normally by washing. In addition, physical tests are demanded, such as material dimensional stability to washing, and tear and/or burst strength.

Clothing that meet the requirements of EN 14058 must be marked with a pictogram (figure 1) against which are recorded the performance levels as determined by testing. When optional tests are not carried out, the symbol X must be recorded in place of a classification or result.

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