European Safety Standards and Codes: What do they mean?

Knowledge of industry standards is crucial when choosing the correct safety workwear for your crew. At first glance the range of safety standards, codes and symbols can be confusing but fear not, we have put together this handy guide to help you navigate your way through the industry jargon and find the right level of protection for you.

ISO Numbers

The ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is the world’s largest body for voluntary international standards. ISO numbers can be seen listed alongside all our safety products. Take our High Specification Cantex Jacket for example. You can see it complies to six individual ISO safety codes, each of the numbers providing information about the different ways this jacket offers protection.


Harness: Safety at work should be the number on priority

ISO11612 deals specifically with flame retardant qualities of fabrics and the following numbers A1, C1 etc. show exactly which criteria within that ISO the garment complies with, for example standards on heat penetration, flammability when exposed to an edge flame, propensity to melting or length of afterglow.

The first one is EN ISO 11612 A1 which relates to surface ignition. B1 meanwhile shows that the garment offers protection against convective heat. C1 denotes radiant heat, D3 is molten aluminium splash while E3 relates to molten iron splash.

ISO numbers are global standards and the EN at the beginning of the code indicates it has also been adopted as standard within the EU.

Certification Symbols

Each ISO number has its own symbol that should be sewn into the inside of every protective garment. This enables you to tell at a glance whether a specific piece of clothing is up to the job. We won’t name them all – for obvious reasons – but these are the main ones you need to look out for when buying workwear.

11612ISO 11612 -Provides protection against flame, radiated and convection heat, molten metal spatters and contact heat and water.


ISO 14116 -Clothing with limited flame spread that will only burn for a short amount of time and will stop upon removal from an ignition source.


ISO 11611 – Provides protection in a welding environment. Protects against chance contact with the flame, molten metal spatter and UV.

EN 13034EN13034-6 – Provides protection against chemicals. Liquid repellent clothing that protects against chemical splashes.

EN IEC 61482EN IEC 61482 – Provides protection against arc blast. Protects against the thermal risks associated with exposure to an electric arc.

EN 1149EN 1149 – Antistatic. Provides protection against sparks generated by a build-up of electrostatic charge.

As we say, this is by no means an exhaustive list. This guide is intended to help users understand some of the more common symbols and ISO standards involved with the production of safety work clothing. For more information have a look at the website.

Specialist Work Clothing provides high quality protective clothing and safety workwear for industrial use. For more information, visit our website.

Photo Credit:

By U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Chad Runge [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


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