Protective clothing for chemicals

Protect employees against the risks of chemical splash and learn how to comply with the EN 13034 standard.

If you are active in an industry where your employees work with chemicals, it is extremely important that they are shielded against chemical splash. But how do you determine which protective clothing is appropriate for your unique work environment? And how do you ensure that your protective clothing is not only safe, but also comfortable to wear during a whole shift? In this page, we tell you all about protective clothing for chemical splash.

Why protective clothing for chemicals?

Because working with chemicals puts workers at risk of accidental exposure to these chemicals, they are required to wear protective clothing at all times. This clothing should not only shield the body from possible injuries caused by chemical sprays, splashes or liquid aerosols, but should also - regarding the work environment - allow proper heat release and sweat uptake. In order for the clothing to be truly protective, it should always be worn in the proper manner no matter the environment, emphasizing the importance of comfort even more.

The type of protective fabric you select determines, for example, the weight and moisture absorption. And in order to know which protective clothing you need, it is crucial to be aware of safety rules and regulations you should comply with.

What is EN 13034?

Suit type properties like this are divided in six types:

  1. Gas tight clothing 
  2. Not gas tight clothing
  3. Clothing that protects against fluids
  4. Clothing that protects against spray
  5. Particle protection
  6. Limited protection against spray

The Type 6 property is regulated in EN 13034.

Protective clothing that complies with the current EN 13034 standard offers protection against light spray, liquid aerosols or low pressure, low volume splashes, against which a complete liquid permeation barrier (at the molecular level) is not required. The document covers both Type 6 chemical protective suits and partial body protection (Type PB). To comply with the EN 13034 standard for Type 6 protective clothing, a series of tests is conducted on the fabric and on a model (mannequin).

The meaning of ‘limited performance chemical protection clothing’

Terms like ‘limited protection’ often causes confusion. We are, after all, talking about chemicals! On top of that, Type 6 Protective clothing that complies with the EN 13034 standard is not fully liquid-tight. This might raise some questions as well. It is very important to understand that workers in this industry are being exposed to chemicals by exception (by accident), not by rule! You can look at EN 13034 as an “entry-level” standard for protection against chemical spray, splash or aerosols. But does this type of protective clothing match your unique work environment.

Determine if EN 13034 is the right protective clothing standard for you

Your company has a general duty to ensure the safety and health of workers in every aspect related to work. By conducting a risk assessment, the employer is able to create insights in possible work related threats and take effective measures in regards to chemical safety clothing. The risk assessment might also expose other risks, like heat, flames or electric arc, that your workers need protection against.

Be sure to maintain the protective properties of the garment during its entire lifetime

As mentioned before, the Type 6 safety clothing for chemicals is not fully liquid-tight. The standard requires a fluorocarbon finish of fabrics every single washing, allowing it to repel light liquids or aerosols. This example strongly emphasises the importance of a close harmony between all parties involved in the protective clothing value chain.

That is why at TenCate Protective Fabrics, we encourage you to collaborate with fabric suppliers, garment makers and industrial laundries. Together with our partners we are able to develop protective fabrics that are Made for Life. Read more and find out how you can activate your role in the protective clothing value chain.

Learn how to build a strong safety culture and feel confident in all your protective clothing solutions

When you are in the process of improving your worker’s protective clothing, you most likely encounter multiple challenges, such as assessing relevant risks in your work environment, determining which rules and regulations to comply with, and prioritizing your protective clothing specifications. This FR Fabrics Guide educates you on all relevant aspects of protective clothing and helps you prioritize:

FR Fabrics Guide

Download the FR Fabrics Guide

This complete and comprehensive FR Fabrics Guide helps you by educating all relevant aspects of protective clothing and helps you prioritize during your selection process:

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