All activities in which workers are exposed to heat emitted by radiation, convection or brief contact with a flame and/or to splashes of molten metal require personal protection.
In January’s issue, we explored standards for FR garments and apparel, and so here we continue to dive into other standards that exist to help in the selection of appropriate garments for industry-specific hazards.
Depending on their performance levels, garments will protect workers in different occupations with different risk levels: metallurgy, steelworks, bodyworks, foundry, ironworks, steel industry, plastics industry, metal parts manufacturer, engine manufacturer, lighting equipment manufacturer, industrial mechanics, industrial piping, etc.
EN ISO 11612:2015 Protective clothing – Clothing to protect against heat and flame – Minimum performance requirements
EN ISO 11612:2015 specifies performance requirements for protective clothing made from flexible materials, which are designed to protect the wearer’s body, except the hands, from heat and/or flame. For protection of the wearer’s head and feet, the only items of protective clothing falling within the scope of ISO 11612:2015 are gaiters, hoods, and overboots. However, concerning hoods, requirements for visors and respiratory equipment are not given.
“all activities in which workers are exposed to heat require personal protection”
The performance requirements set out in ISO 11612:2015 are applicable to protective clothing which could be worn for a wide range of end uses, where there is a need for clothing with limited flame spread properties and where the user can be exposed to radiant or convective or contact heat or to molten metal splashes.
ISO 11612:2015 encompasses the spectrum of standard requirements of:
- Size designation and fit
- Pockets and closures
- Additional design requirements
- Sampling and treatment –sampling, pre-treatment, ageing and conditioning
- General performance requirements – heat resistance, limited flame spread, Dimensional change of textile materials, physical requirements, fat content of leather
- Heat transmission performance – convective heat (code letter B), radiant heat (code letter C), molten aluminium splash (code letter D), molten iron splash (code letter E), contact heat (code letter F)
- Summary of flame and heat transmission tests and corresponding letter codes
- Optional test – whole garment test against fire exposure on thermal manikin
- Information supplied by the manufacturer
- Mechanical pre-treatment for metallised materials – principle, sampling, apparatus, procedure
- Determination of property values for rating and classification
- Guidelines for clothing design
- Risk assessment
- Uncertainty of measurement
EN ISO 11612:2015 provides information on different categories on how the wearer is protected against short contact with a flame as well as convective, radiation, contact heat and molten iron splashes.
“clothing is an important tools for sun protection, however, some fabrics provide insufficient UV protection”
Protection against welding
EN ISO 11611 Protective clothing for use in welding and allied processes
EN ISO 11611 indicates that the protective clothing is intended to protect the wearer against small splashes of molten metal, short contact with flame, and ultraviolet radiation. EN ISO 11611 identifies two classes of which Class 2 is the highest. Code letter A1 (surface ignition) and/or A2 (edge ignition) indicate how flame spread was tested. This garment complies with class 1, A1+A2. after 50 washes at 60˚C.
Guidance for selection of Class 1 garments
Class 1 garments are suitable for manual welding techniques with light formation of spatters and drops, e.g. gas welding, TIG/MIG welding at low voltage, micro plasma welding, brazing, spot welding and MMA welding (with rutile covered electrode).
Class 1 garments are suitable for operating oxygen cutting machines, plasma cutting machines, resistance welding machines, machines used for thermal spraying and bench welding.
Guidance for selection of Class 2 garments
Class 2 garments are suitable for manual welding techniques with heavy formation of spatters and drops (e.g. gas welding, TIG/MIG welding, MAG welding, micro plasma welding, brazing, spot welding, MMA welding with basic or cellulose covered electrode, self-shielded flux cored arc welding, gouging, oxygen cutting, thermal spraying).
Class 2 garments are suitable for use in confined spaces while operating oxygen cutting machines, plasma cutting machines, resistance welding machines, machines used for thermal spraying, and bench welding.
Information on Ultraviolet (UV) radiation hazards
ISO11611 also indicates the minimum requirements for clothing to protect against hazards associated with welding, including UV radiation. UV radiation is produced in all electric arc-welding operations.
As a result of wear and tear, the garment may not continue to provide complete protection. Symptoms similar to those associated with sunburns indicate insufficient protection for the wearer. To check the garment’s capacity, hold it up to the light of a 100W tungsten bulb at arm’s length (approximately 1m away). If light can be seen through the fabric, UV radiation will affect the wearer. In such case, use higher levels of protection (e.g. leather apron and sleeves) or replace the garment.
Protection against electrostatic hazards
EN 1149-5:2018 Protective clothing – Electrostatic properties – Part 5: Material performance and design requirements
EN 1149-5:2018 specifies material and design requirements for electrostatic dissipative protective clothing, including hoods and caps, used as part of a total earthed system, to avoid incendiary discharges, where the minimum ignition energy of an explosive atmosphere is not less than 0,016 mJ.
In the context of this European Standard, a total earthed system is one in which personnel and other conductors are connected to earth via a resistance of less than 108 Ω.
The material and design requirements do not presume adequate earthing of additional equipment worn or carried in contact with clothing, e.g. breathing apparatus, etc. If such additional equipment is required to be earthed, other requirements beyond the scope of this European Standard may be necessary.
The scope of this standard does not include electrostatic dissipative protective gloves or footwear that are separate and not integral parts of garments.
The material and design requirements may not provide sufficient protection in oxygen enriched flammable atmospheres. This garment is designed to prevent discharges of static electricity. This garment does not protect against main voltages, nor does it offer the wearer protection in oxygen-enriched environments. The clothing is not designed to protect against main voltages.
Protection against arc flash
IEC 61482:2009 Electric Arc Flash Standard
Protection against the thermal hazards of an electric arc. This standard is intended for protective clothing used for electro technical work with electric arc hazards at medium voltages. The garments complying with this standard, guarantee that the consequences of exposure to an electric arc will not be aggravated by the clothing itself. The standard specifies two test methods for determining the arc thermal performance:
Part 1-1: Test methods – Method 1: Determination of the Arc rating of material and clothing. The minimum Arc Thermal Performance Value (ATPV) set by the standard is 4 cal/cm2.
Part 1-2: Test Methods Method 2: Determination of the arc protection class of material and clothing, using a constrained and directed arc (box test).
This standard applies to protective clothing used for electro-technical work with medium voltage electric arc hazards. The garments that comply with this standard guarantee that exposure to an electric arc will not be aggravated by the garments material and construction. The arc thermal resistance properties have been tested according to the box test method.
The standard indicates two classes for the short circuit current in the test: 4kA (class1) or 7kA (class 2). Other test conditions are:
- Voltage – 400 V
- Duration – 500 ms
- Distance from the mannequin to the box – 300 mm
- Performance met – Class 1 – 4kA
The requirements of this standard do not address electric shock hazards, but these standards can be used in combination with standards that pertain to such hazards. Environmental conditions and risks at the worksite should be considered. Deviations from this standard’s parameters may compromise the wearer’s safety. Do not wear undergarments (e.g. shirts and/or underwear) made of synthetic fibres that can melt when wearing this garment.
Protection against UV radiation
EN 13758-2 – Ultraviolet Protection Clothing
Clothing is considered one of the most important tools for sun protection. Contrary to popular opinion, however, some summer fabrics provide insufficient ultraviolet (UV) protection. The European Committee for Standardization (CEN) has developed a new standard on requirements for test methods and labelling of sun-protective garments. This document has now been completed and is published. Within CEN, a working group, CEN/TC 248 WG14 ‘UV protective clothing’, was set up with the mission to produce standards on the UV-protective properties of textile materials. This working group started its activities in 1998 and included 30 experts (dermatologists, physicists, textile technologists, fabric manufacturers and retailers of apparel textiles) from 11 European member states. Within this working group, all medical, ethical, technical and economic aspects of standardisation of UV-protective clothing were discussed on the basis of the expertise of each member and in consideration of the relevant literature in this field. Decisions were made in consensus.
“it is important to wear flame resistant clothing in an environment where conflagrations are possible”
The first part of the standard (EN 13758-1) deals with all details of test methods (e.g. spectrophotometric measurements) for textile materials and part two (EN 13758-2) covers classification and marking of apparel textiles. UV-protective cloths for which compliance with this standard is claimed must fulfil all stringent instructions of testing, classification and marking, including a UV protection factor (UPF) larger than 40 (UPF 40+), average UVA transmission lower than 5%, and design requirements as specified in part two of the standard. A pictogram, which is marked with the number of the standard EN 13758-2 and the UPF of 40+, shall be attached to the garment if it follows the standard. The garment is designed to offer protection against exposure to solar UV radiation. The UPF measured is >50, meaning that the garment’s fabric blocks more than 98% of the harmful UV radiation.
Garments in compliance with this standard offer the highest level of protection. Only the parts of the body that are covered are protected. Protection may be reduced through wear, when stretched, or when wet.
EN 13034 – Protective clothing against splashes of chemical products
EN 13034 offers a guideline on the limited protection against chemicals in accordance with EN 13034:2005+A1:2009. The classification is Type 6. This means that protection is provided against a limited number of splashes/sprays of diluted chemical products. Please note that type 6 protection does not cover protection against harmful gases, chemicals in solid form or a full liquid tight barrier against highly concentrated chemicals.
Please select type 3,4 and 5 chemical protective suits for that type of use. A spray test on the entire suit has proven that the Fire-Resistant Clothing is suitable for protection against chemical sprays in diluted form. The table shows the test results for the different parameters and chemical products of EN13034.
FR and AR clothing
ASTM F1506-22: Flame Resistant, Electric Arc Rated Clothing
In some workplaces, exposed skin can mean skin exposed to danger. In fact, under certain conditions, the damage can go beyond subcutaneous and even be life threatening. This is why protective clothing exists. Users can reference the measurable results captured from ASTM F1506-22: Standard Performance Specification for Flame Resistant and Electric Arc Rated Protective Clothing Worn by Workers Exposed to Flames and Electric Arcs.
Flame Resistant (FR) and Arc Rated (AR) Clothing
Flames are common hazards to workers, so it is important to wear flame resistant (FR) clothing when in contact with fire or in an environment where conflagrations are possible. Similarly, personnel in contact with electrical systems can come face-to-face with electric arcs. These take place as an electric current passes through air when insulation or isolation between electrified conductors becomes insufficient to withstand the supplied voltage. Electric arcs happen every day, and, even though they are immediate bursts of energy, they can be disastrous. Some electric arcs are as high as 35,000°F, four times the temperature of the sun’s surface. However, arcs can vary in intensity, with some resulting in minor injuries and others causing death. For workers in contact with electric arcs, arc rated (AR) clothing is crucial.
About ASTM F1506-22
All clothing with an arc rating is flame resistant, but not all FR clothing has an arc rating. Therefore, despite frequently being bundled together, these values describe different qualities of garments. ASTM F1506-22 covers FR and AR clothing, acting as a performance specification for both. Specifically, it identifies performance requirements to determine the arc rating of fabrics, the flame resistance of fabrics and subassemblies, the mechanical durability of the fabrics and subassemblies, the minimum garment construction and performance guidelines, and the garment labelling guidelines for the completed protective clothing worn by workers exposed to flames and electric arcs.
Conclusion on personal protective clothing
Damaged clothing will most likely diminish the protection level of the garments. Regular checks on damage or ageing and if necessary, repairing or replacing the garments will make sure your protection is maintained. The employer shall regularly monitor for wear and tear, damages. Immediate replacement is needed.
Even when wearing high quality protective clothing, please remember that your safety cannot be guaranteed under any circumstance. For full protection, the user should wear a complete suit whose components provide the same level of protection (a suit means coveralls, a two-piece suit consisting of a jacket and a pair of trousers or a bib and braces).
The design of two-piece suits takes into account an overlap of 20 cm between the upper and lower parts. Make sure to consider this when choosing your size. These garments do not offer protection for face, hands and feet. Make sure you use the adequate PPE for these parts of your body. If the garment has extra layers at the knees, this is only to enhance the strength of the garment or to enhance the comfort of the wearer. This is by no means a protection against knee injuries. If the garment has extra padding at the knees, this is there only to enhance the garment’s strength and the wearer’s comfort and is not intended to provide protection against knee injuries.Personal protective clothing must be suitable for wear during an entire workday and contains no toxic, carcinogenic, mutagenic, or other substances that adversely affect the health and hygiene of the wearer. There are no known allergic reactions due to skin contact with this garment. The garments can be recycled through the appropriate channels in your country. Damage to this garment (e.g. holes and tears) will likely diminish the protection it provides. Regular checks on damage and wear and, if necessary, repairing or replacing the garment will ensure your protection.