Bell Apparel has developed a two-layered garment that it claims will solve the problems of maintaining high-value (Class 3), high-vis waterproof garments, in accordance with PPE regulations.

The 1992 PPE work regulations require all PPE to be maintained, replaced or cleaned as appropriate.

Relatively low value waistcoats approved to EN471 Class 2 (the standard covering high visibility) may simply be replaced when they are dirty. High value Class 3 (sleeved items) may pose problems, particularly waterproof jackets.

The problems are two-fold, says Bell. First, waterproof coatings are not designed to resist high temperatures used in industrial laundry processes, and second, a logistics problem in that wearers often have only one jacket issued to them.

Bell claims its FlexiBell clothing system is the first quality EN471 garment designed to be properly maintained. It consists of detachable high-vis outer and a Goretex liner that is waterproof, windproof and breathable.

The outer, made of Tencate Polymole fabric, with 3M 9920 Scotchlite reflective tape, is designed to withstand the high temperatures used in industrial laundries (washing at over 80º and tunnel drying at 140º in laundry trials) and necessary to comply with Health Service Guidelines as well as maintenance requirements of EN471. The liner can be washed separately at lower temperatures.

As the outer is detachable, not only can it be washed separately but employees can be issued with two or three which can be washed and worn in rotation. A further advantage is that the outer can be worn on its own, avoiding the need for a separate summer high-vis jacket.

The FlexiBell system not only meets the requirements of EN471 (Class 3) sleeved garments but when the two layers are combined of EN343 (for waterproof garments).

John Bell, company MD said the system would open up opportunities for textile rental operations.