What are the 11 coverall testing methods? In recent years, safety managers are more concerned if Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) wears the CE market. CE mark has become a must, certified by law, especially for the PPE to be sold in Europe.
What does CE mark/certification mean for the PPE?
The CE mark ensures that the PPE product is compliant with relevant EU safety and quality requirements. A CE mark is a symbol that must be affixed to many products before they can be sold on the European market. The mark indicates that a product:
- Fulfills the requirements of relevant European product directives
- Meets all the requirements of the relevant recognized European harmonized performance and safety standards
- Is fit for its purpose and will not endanger lives or property
The presence of CE marking further indicates that appropriate technical documentation supporting the use of the mark is available and can be provided by the manufacturer, importer, or person responsible for placing the product on the EU market upon request.
According to European Commission, Regulation (EU) 2016/425 covers the design, manufacture, and marketing of PPE. It deﬁnes legal obligations to ensure PPE on the EU internal market provides the highest level of protection against risks. The CE mark aﬃxed to PPE will provide evidence of compliance which product applicable to EU legislation. It indicates risk categories of which PPE is intended to protect users, such as protective clothing that complies with Category III is appropriate to prevent death or irreversible health damages.
CE mark VS PPE performance
The technical performance of PPE is specified by European Norms, harmonized standards, or in a technical file when the harmonized standard does not exist. Very often you will find a reference to this European Norm as additional information on the product, the packaging, or other documentation.
CE Standard for protective clothing (EU)
The CE regulation further specifies the coveralls into 6 types of suits.
- Type 1: Gas Tight Suits (EN 943 part 1)
- Protects against liquid and gaseous chemicals. More or less equivalent to US level A.
- Type 2: Non-gas Tight Suits (EN 943 part 1)
- Protects against liquid and gaseous chemicals. More or less equivalent to US level B.
- Type 3: Liquid Tight Suits. (EN 14605)
- Protects against liquid chemicals for a limited period.
- Type 4: Spray Tight Suits (EN 14605)
- Protects against liquid chemicals for a limited period. More or less equivalent to US level C.
- Type 5: Particulate suits (EN ISO 13982-1)
- Protects against airborne dry particulates for a limited period.
- Type 6: Reduced Spray Tight Suits (EN 13034)
- Protects against a light spray of liquid chemicals. More or less equivalent to US level D.
The 11 coverall testing methods
To pass the testing standards, protective clothing/coveralls must meet or exceed minimum requirements of materials’ physical and chemical properties.
Type 1 EN 943-1 Gas-tight suits
Type 2 EN 943-1 Non-gas-tight suits
TYPE 3 EN 14605 Liquid Jet Suits
The principle of this type 3 EN463 test is to determine if there is leakage under a jet aqueous stream. The test method is that a jet of water, containing a fluorescent or visible dye tracer is directed under controlled conditions at chemical protective clothing, which is worn by a test mannequin or human test subject. Inspection of the inside surface of the protective clothing and outside surface of absorbent clothing worn underneath allows any points of inward leakage to be identified.
TYPE 4 EN 14605 Liquid Jet Suits
The principle of this type 4 EN468 test method is to determine if there is leakage under an aqueous spray condition. The test method includes an aqueous spray, containing a fluorescent or visible dye tracer is directed under controlled conditions at chemical protective clothing is worn by a test mannequin or human test subject.
Type 5: EN ISO 13982-1 Particulate Suits
Performance requirements for chemical protective clothing are to protect the full-body against airborne solid particulates (type 5 clothing).
Test requirements for seams, joins & assemblages of Type 5 protective clothing
The test method specified in clause 5.5 is EN ISO 13935-2
Testing for an inward leakage of aerosols & solid particles‒Type5 protective clothing
Test method of determination of inward leakage of aerosols of fine particles into suits.
Before entering the test chamber the test subject (real person) is asked to repeat the following sequence of movements 3 times at what is termed “normal working speed”
Once they have completed these movements the suit is inspected visually for tears or rips in the fabric, seams, closures, or connections to gloves, boots, or mask (if any). Any damage is mentioned in the test report, but the test would be discontinued if the damage was significant or hindered the test subjectsʼ movement. If this happens then the garment is deemed to have failed!
On entering the test chamber, the test subject is asked to perform various test exercises in sequence:
Throughout the process, various measurements are taken on the concentration of particulates inside and outside of the suit. A calculation is then used to ascertain the inward leakage during each test and the total inward leakage of particles into the suit. The test agent used is Sodium chloride aerosol.
Type 5 chemical protective clothing has to meet the following requirements;
TYPE 6 EN 13034 Reduced Spray Suits
Performance requirements for chemical protective clothing are to protect the full-body against liquids in the form of mist (type 6 clothing). This standard sets out the general requirements for protective clothing.
Mist Testing Methods
On entering the test chamber, the test subject is asked to perform various test exercises with 7 movements:
If the test subject is not able to perform the test due to the hindrance of the suit or if the test results in substantial damage to the suit, the suit will be considered to have failed.
The test method of EN 468 shall be modified as follows for low-level spray testing conditions:
NOTE The low-level spray testing conditions result in about 10 % of the liquid loading onto the suit surface compared with the full level spray test of EN 468, as used for the testing of type 4 chemical protective clothing.
When tested by EN 468 using the modifications described above, all chemical protective suits shall pass the test, i.e. there shall be no penetration of any suit, i.e. the total stain area on the undergarment shall be less than or equal to three times the total calibrated stain area.
For suits that do not cover the entire body, the test report shall specify other components with which the suit was worn to achieve the mist test performance, e.g. an appropriate hood, gloves, boots, etc.
EN 14126 Against Biological Hazards
The European standard EN 14126 defines performance requirements for clothing materials to protect against infective agents. The test methods specified in this standard focus on the medium containing the microorganism; such as liquid, aerosol, or solid dust particle. Due to the heterogeneity of micro-organisms, the standard does not define performance criteria for specific types of microorganisms.
This is not a ‘stand-alone’ standard and needs to be combined with standards for Type 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and/or 6 protective garments.
Protective suits made of EN 14126 compliant fabrics must also meet the whole suit requirements specified in the relevant chemical protective clothing “Type” standard. They must be CE Certified as Category III and can be identified by the bio-hazard pictogram.
EN 14126:2003 comprises the following material tests conducted on garment fabrics:
EN 1149-5 Antistatic
This standard specifies requirements for clothing that conducts electricity. This clothing (combined with e.g. shoes that conduct electricity) forms part of a completely earthed system. The clothing prevents sparks and therefore explosions.
EN 1149 consists of the following parts:
The fabric from which the clothing is made must be EN 1149-1, EN 1149-2, or EN 1149-3 compliant – or entire garments must be tested by EN 1149-4 (under development).
EN 1149-1: Protective clothing – Electrostatic properties, part 1
EN 1149-3: Protective clothing – Electrostatic properties, part 3
The fabric releases its electrostatic charge to the air (and not via conduction).
The requirements set in this standard
EN ISO 14116 Flame Retardant Test
The EN ISO 11612 is established to protect people who are exposed to heat and flames.
FABRIC REQUIREMENTS ACCORDING TO EN ISO 11612
To meet the EN ISO 11612 standard, the protective fabric needs to pass at least two tests: the A test and at least one of the B, C, D or E test. Per test, the performance of the fabric is tested on:
The test results are classified into ‘performance levels’
Performance level 1 for example, indicates that the fabric provides the minimum protection to pass the test.
It is important to understand the different performance levels because they are related to the size of the risk impact. The three performance levels in the E test, for example, tell you something about the protection of different amounts of a molten iron splash: E1 stands for 60 to < 120-gram molten iron splash and E3 for >200 gram.
11612A (ISO 15025) – Flame Test
This test consists of applying a flame to a fabric sample for 10 seconds. To pass the test, the after flame & smolder times and formation of holes must be within the tolerances (set in the standard). The application of a flame can take place in two ways:
11612B (ISO 9151) – Heat Transmission Test
Convective heat: determination of the heat transmission when exposed to flames. The sample is held above the flame and the rise in temperature on the top side of the sample is measured with a calorimeter. Subsequently, the length of time the sample can remain exposed before its temperature rises by 24 °C is determined.
11612C (ISO 6942) – Radiant Heat Test
In this test, a fabric sample is exposed to radiant heat (infrared rays). The temperature on the reverse (unexposed) side of the sample is registered using a calorimeter. Subsequently, the length of time the sample can remain exposed before its temperature rises by 24 0C is measured. The test procedure is the same as EN ISO 11611, but the classification is different:
11612D en E (ISO 9185) – Spatters of Molten Metal Test
This test is to determine the level of protection against spatters of molten metal. A membrane, similar properties to human skin, is attached to the reverse of the fabric sample. Subsequently, sequentially rising quantities of molten metal. The quantity of molten metal which deforms the membrane is determined.
The classification for molten aluminum is:
The classification for molten iron is:
11612F (ISO 12127) contact heat test
A new test supplementing 531): contact heat. The classification in this respect:
DIN 32781 Against Pesticides