Protective Clothing Buying Guide

At Alexandra our PPE experts have selected a core range of proven, trusted products that will meet the requirements needed of most trades and businesses, helping you to protect your team from head to toe. Finding out what is suitable protection for the many different risks that your staff may face can seem like stepping into a minefield. 

Waterproof, weatherproof, hi vis protective clothing or insulated clothing is subject to regulations. This is if it’s use is necessary to protect employees against adverse climatic conditions that could otherwise affect their health and safety.

This informative guide will help to understand the symbols used and identify the correct hi-visibility product for each role, as well as making sense of essential requirements and answering questions such as: What does RIS mean? What does CE mean? What PPE should be worn on a building site? Learn what the best PPE in construction industry is.

Employees working in industries where the below tasks may be carried out will require protective clothing and consideration for the various standards of safety. If you:

• Work with hazardous substances.

• Work next to the highway or other areas with moving transport (e.g. construction sites).

• Execute outdoor work and grounds maintenance.

Choosing the right protective clothing:

Fit and comfort is essential to ensure that your staff wear the correct PPE that you are providing. You will find the garments we offer are available in a wide range of sizes and styles for different working environments. We also provide hi-visibility vests for children. To be effective, hi-visibility clothing should be of a colour that will allow the wearer to stand out against the ambient background found in the working environment.

If you are looking where to buy hi vis vests, look no further. You can choose from our range of fluorescent options including hi vis waistcoat with pockets, hi vis waterproof jacket, orange hi vis jacket or this hi vis waistcoat. Or if you are looking to personalise your safety gear, enquire about our hi vis waistcoats with logos.

Alexandra offers the standard hi-visibility coloured clothing in fluorescent yellow and orange. Each garment contains hi vis reflective tape or reflective strips at/or below waist level on waistcoats or jackets, or strips on our trousers and coveralls. Ask about our women's hi vis jacket or try our sweatshirt or hi vis hoodie with reflective tape.

Hi-visibility clothing should provide adequate protection both during the day and at night, as well as in adverse weather.

Types of protective clothing

These include:

• Protection against hazardous substances such as solids, liquids, gases, mists and fumes that can be present in the workplace.

• Clothing for cold, heat and bad weather conditions.

• To protect against flame, chemicals and anti-static properties.

• Clothing to protect against machinery.

• High visibility clothing.


Hi-visibility standards

EN ISO 20471 class 1

Lowest level of protection - this typically applies to trousers.

EN ISO 20471 class 2

Intermediate level of protection - this typically applies to sleeveless waistcoats and tabards.

EN ISO 20471 class 3

Highest level of protection - this typically applies to coats, jackets and coveralls.

EN343:2003 + A1:2007

Protection against foul weather, resistance to water penetration and water vapour resistance (breathability of the garment), 

Class 1 - 3 highest figure being the best.


Rail Industry Standard (RIS) for defective on-train equipment has been introduced to replace the original standard for GORT3437.

Ambient and artificial lighting conditions at the workplace should be taken into account and the effect of conditions such as fog and snow. For some jobs a hi-visibility waistcoat, for example, may be all that is needed, but those workers who are particularly at risk, e.g. from moving vehicles, may need full body hi-visibility clothing so that they are as visible as possible to the driver.

Certifications of Hi-Visibility clothing:

Since 1 July 1995, all new PPE must be ‘CE’ marked. What does CE mark mean?

The CE mark signifies that the PPE satisfies certain basic/minimum safety requirements. The following factors should be considered when assessing the suitability of PPE:

• Is the PPE appropriate for the risk involved and conditions at the place where exposure may occur? For example, goggles are not suitable when full-face protection is required.

• What are the needs of the job and the demands it places on the wearer?

How long will the PPE need to be worn? What are the requirements for visibility and communication?

• If more than one item of PPE is being worn, are they compatible?

For example, does a particular type of respirator make it difficult for eye protection to fit properly?

Care and washing instructions:

There is on average 5 to 25 cycles through which the garment will retain compliant fluorescent/reflective performance. We recommend carefully looking after the clothing issued to staff, with regular checks for damage. PPE should be in a stored facility when it is not in use.

As high visibility workwear is often used in harsh conditions and subject to abrasion and impact, it should be examined regularly for obvious defects and discarded if for example, a significant area of the reflective bands has been damaged. Common occurrences such as a serious reduction in reflectivity from rain when the fabric is wet and the loss of fluorescence after a short time in sunlight or after washing, can impact on the condition of the garment.

Remember: damaged or ill-fitting clothing will not protect you or an employee properly.

Specific washing and dry cleaning instructions are included with each compliant garment and must be followed. The label will also state how many washing and cleaning cycles a garment will withstand without it’s visual performance becoming impaired; each product will vary.

DIN EN 61482-1-2:2007

(Preceding standard: ENV 50354)

Protective clothing against the thermal hazards of an electric arc - parts 1-2 are test methods. 

Method 2: Determination of arc protection class of material and clothing by using a constrained and directed arc (box test).

DIN EN ISO 11611:2007

(Preceding standard: ENV 470-1)

Protective clothing for use in welding and related purposes.

DIN EN ISO 11612:2008

(Preceding standard: EN 531) Clothing to protect against heat and flame.

DIN EN ISO 14116:2008

Protective clothing - protection against heat and flame. Limited flame spread materials, material assemblies and clothing.

DIN EN 1149-5:2008

(Preceding standard: pr EN 1149-5) Electrostatic properties - material performance and design requirements.

DIN EN 13034 Type 6:2005

Protective clothing against liquid chemicals - performance requirements for chemical protective clothing offering limited protective performance against liquid chemicals.

DIN EN 14058:2004

Protective clothing - garments for protection against cool environments.