Whether you work in a foundry or factory as a welder, engineer, electrician, or chemical worker, flame retardant clothing is vital. Wearing flame retardant overalls should prevent you from sustaining a severe injury, burns, or fatality should an incident occur.
The testing of flame retardant workwear is essential and gives workers the reassurance that they have a degree of protection should a fire or thermal incident occur. Fireproof overalls and fire retardant trousers can be tested individually and then they are combined with garments intended to be worn together.
A Thermal Protection Performance Test (TPP) is one test methodology that has the goal of determining the difference in time between the wearer of flame retardant clothing feeling pain and receiving a second-degree burn. This time represents the number of seconds a wearer has to remove themselves from the fire or heat hazard. The TTP test is conducted with a combination of radiant heat and convective heat (heat transfer of a liquid or gas).
What Are The Flame Resistant Standards
There are several fame resistant standards:
EN 11612: This standard indicates if flame retardant clothing can withstand flame and heat. The flame retardant workwear receive the following ratings:
- A1 – Limited flame spread
- A2 – Hemmed specimens limited flame spread
- B – Convective heat (rated 1-3)
- C – Radiant heat (rated 1-4)
- D – Molten aluminium splashes (rated 1-3)
- E – Molten iron splashes (rated 1-3)
- F – Contact heat (rated 1-3)
EN 11611: This standard grades flame resistant clothing for welders:
- Class 1 – Sufficient protection for less hazardous welding with low levels of metal splashes and heat
- Class 2 – Sufficient protection for more hazardous welding with higher levels of metal splashes and heat
EN 14116: This standard dictates how garments act against small igniting sparks.
IEC 61482: This standard indicates how protective clothing responds to thermal arc hazards. Garments with this mark offer arc flash protection.
Intense Fireproof Testing
ISO 13506: Thermo Mannequin Tests are an intense flash fire test undertaken with a mannequin equipped with more than one hundred sensors. The life-sized figure is dressed in the garments to be tested and engulfed in flames. It predicts the performance of fireproof clothing at temperatures rising up to 1,000C.
The mannequin’s sensors record temperatures on what would be the skin’s surface. A computer model is then used to approximate the percentage of second and third-degree burns sustained by a wearer, the position of burns, the burn evolution over the test time, and the wearer’s chance of survival as a percentage.