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What is FR or flame resistant apparel?
FR is a short name for Flame Resistant. ‘Flame resistant’ refers to the ability of a material or apparel to self-extinguish upon removal of an ignition source. Clothing that is NOT flame resistant can burn more than exposed skin. And most severe burns are caused by the clothing igniting, not the original hazard. Flame Resistant Protective Apparel is designed to keep workers safe. Wearing FR clothing will significantly reduce burn injury, give the wearer escape time, and increase chances of survival.
Who uses flame resistant apparel?
People who work in hazardous environments that may involve the following hazards:
Electric Arc – 70E, Utilities, electrical transmission, distribution and generation – electricians, electric utility lineman, or any workers who come in contact with energized electrical equipment.
Flash Fire – petrochemical, drilling and well services; mining industry; foundry, refinery, chemical and pharmaceutical workers, etc.
Combustible Dust Explosion – workers in the paper and pulp industry, food processing, paint and many more industries.
What does OSHA say about flame resistant (FR) clothing?
General Duty Clause states that employer and employees must follow OSHA guidelines by law. This insures that employees have safe work environment. The general duty clause has been cited where federal law doesn't exist and where workers were exposed to hazardous conditions.
OSHA CFR 1910.132 states that “Protective equipment…shall be provided, used, and maintained in a sanitary and reliable condition wherever it is necessary by reason of hazards of processes or environment, chemical hazards, radiological hazards, or mechanical irritants encountered in a manner capable of causing injury or impairment in the function of any part of the body through absorption, inhalation or physical contact.” This regulation holds the employer responsible for providing PPE whenever such PPE can protect the employee from a known hazard: environmental, chemical, or mechanical. This standard applies to hazards beyond those posed by arc flash, a hazard faced by electric workers.
OSHA CFR 1910.335 Safeguards for personnel protection.
(a) Use of protective equipment—
(b) Personal protective equipment.
(c) Employees working in areas where there are potential electrical hazards shall be provided with, and shall use, electrical protective equipment that is appropriate for the specific parts of the body to be protected and for the work to be performed.
OSHA CFR 1910.269 was readdressed in Spring 2014 providing guideline for electrical, generation, transmission and distribution workers eliminating the label "tools of a trade" and placing FR in a PPE category, which must be provided by the employer. “This protective equipment shall cover the employee’s entire body,” except for certain exemptions for hands, feet and head protection. Previously, 1910.269 required that “…each employee who is exposed to the hazards of flames or electric arcs does not wear clothing that, when exposed to flames or electric arc, could increase the extent of the injury that would be sustained by the employee.” Under the new ruling, pants must now be provided to workers.
What performance standards are required to ensure FR clothing meets the protection requirements of the assessed hazard?
2112 is the National Fire Protection Association Standard on Flame Resistant Garments for Protection of Industrial Personnel Against Flash Fire, 2012 Edition.
All Justin FR clothing is NFPA 2112 Complaint and Certified by UL (Underwriters Laboratories) to meet the requirements of NFPA 2112.
NFPA 70E is the standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace to protect against arc flash hazards.
All Justin FR clothing meets the NFPA 70E standard, CAT PPE Category level 2.
What is HRC, ARC and ATPV?
- PPE is the Personal Protection Equipment (formerly known as HRC- the Hazard Risk Category) which the ARC rating (ATPV or EBT) of the FR garment must be above. It is the level of arc flash FR clothing you must wear to protect against a minimum level of incident energy - measured in calories per centimeter squared (cal/cm2). Electrical equipment, under faulty conditions can cause an explosion, or arc at a certain level. The explosion can deliver a certain amount of heat to a certain distance. Each level, 0-4, is rated at a certain amount of flame resistance (measured in cal/cm2) – each level is considered a Hazard Risk Category.
ATPV is Arc Thermal Performance Value, which is a value attributed to materials that describes their performance to exposure to an electrical arc discharge; expressed in cal/cm2. The higher the number, the more protection.
CAT 1 – 4cal/cm2
CAT 2 – 8 cal/cm2 (All Justin FR Work Clothing meets CAT 2)
CAT 3 – 25cal/cm2 (generally insulated outerwear, heavy-weight, or multi-layered FR garments fall in this category)
CAT 4 – 40cal/cm2 (for heavy-duty/industrial protection)
What is the typical level of protection needed for NFPA Standard 2112?
NFPA 2112 specifies the minimum design, performance, certification requirements, and test methods for frame-resistant garments for use in areas at risk from flash fires.
NFPA 2112 establishes specific criteria for testing garments using the ASTM D613 test method.
Under ASTM F1930, a pass/fail criteria of 50% body burn - fabrics or fabric systems that achieve 50% predicted body burn or less under these conditions can be said to pass the performance requirements of 2112. Garments are exposed to a 3 second burn exposure at 2.02 cal/cm2 and the total predicted body burn is measured. Garments under the ASTM D6413 test method are constructed in a size 40-RG coverall configuration based on a standard pattern, fitted to a thermal mannequin, and tested over 100% cotton t-shirt and briefs. Justin's FR Work's "Flash Fire Rated" clothing is defined as having 50% or less predicted body burn in 3 seconds, according to the specifications of NFPA 2112 (ASTM F1930 test method).
The fabric must not melt, drip, or have more than 2 seconds after flame or 4.0 inches char length when tested and after 25 launderings when using ASTM D6413 test method.
What is the typical level of protection needed for NFPA standard 70E(electrical)?
While is impossible to provide the level of protection without a risk hazard analysis it has been found that many of the tasks faced electrical trade workers fall into PPE categories 1 and 2. However it is again highly recommended that a proper risk hazard analysis has been performed before selecting the proper level of FR clothing required. As a reference all Justin FR Work apparel is engineered to meet or exceed PPE categories 1 and 2.
How do you wash and care for FR clothing?
ASTM Standard F1449 Guide for Care and Maintenance of FR, Thermal and Arc Resistant Clothing is a good reference for wash and care of FR clothing.
Care label instructions found in each garment should always be followed.
In general; do not use chlorine bleach, detergent with bleach, detergents that contain animal fat (flammable), fabric softeners or dryer sheets (flammable), starch or insect repellant containing deet (flammable).