YOUR FR SAFETY QUESTIONS ANSWERED.
FR CLOTHING VS. NON FR CLOTHING
MOST SEVERE BURN INURIES & FATALITIES ARE CAUSED BY NON-FR CLOTHING IGNITING & COINTINUING TO BURN.
Q: HOW DO NON-FR FABRICS REACT TO IGNITION
A: Non-FR fabrics and apparel will ignite and burn continuously until all flammable material is consumed, even when the source is removed.
Q: HOW DO FR FABRICS REACT TO IGNITION?
A: Flame-resistant fabrics are NOT FIRE PROOF. FR Fabrics are designed to withstand ignition, prevent flame spread, and self-extinguish when the ignition source is removed. FR fabrics do not melt onto skin, provide thermal insulation against heat & resists breaking open to expose skin. Anything that is exposed an ignition point long enough will eventaully carbonize & burn.
Q: DO FR GARMENTS PREVENT BURN INJURY?
A: FR apparel does not provide significant protection from burn injury at the ignition contact area. However, flame-resistant garments do provide protection against fabric ignition and flame spread. Everything will burn when exposed to a hott source long enough, fr protective apparel provides the wearer with more time to escape from the ignition source, giving them a higher chance of survival. FR Fabrics are not designed to withstand fuel fed fires or continual burn, such as structural entry or firefighting applications.
Q: WHAT TYPES OF UNDERGARMENTS SHOULD BE WORN?
A: Flame-resistant base layers, thermals, and knits can provide additional fire-resistant protection.
Q: IS FR APPAREL STILL EFFECTIVE AFTER CONTACT WITH FLAMMABLE SUBSTANCES?
A: Flammable material on FR apparel will ignite and burn continuously on the FR garments surface. The affected garment should be immediately removed and replaced with unsoiled FR apparel. If contaminants cannot be removed by laundering, the contaminated apparel should be retired from service.
WORK PLACE HAZARDS & FR GARMENT OPTIONS
ALL WORK ENVIRONMENTS THAT EXPOSE YOU TO POSSIBLE IGNITION SHOULD STRONGLY CONSIDER FIRE-RESISTANT APPAREL.
Q: TOP TEN CAUSES OF WORKPLACE IGNITION:
- HIGH HEAT
- OPEN FLAME
- ELECTRIC ARC
- FLAMABLE DUST
- MOLTEN METALS
- FLAMABLE LIQUIDS, GASES & SOLIDS.
- SLAG FROM FLAME CUTTING & WELDING
Q: MOST COMMON RANGE OF APPLICATIONS FOR FR APPAREL:
- Molten ferrous metal splash in steel mills & foundries
- Protection from flash fire in the oil & gas, chemical & petrochemical, & mining industries
- Electric arc flash protection in electric utilities & automotive industries
- Protection against wild land fires for rescue workers
- Protection against combustible dust in for various industries such as food, grain, tobacco, plastics, wood, paper, pulp, rubber, furniture, textiles, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, dyes, coal, metals, & fossil fuel power generation.
Q: THE EMPLOYER’S RESPONSIBILITY:
- Asses the workplace and employee safety needs
- Identify potential hazards and situational risks
- Evaluate wearer comfort, appearance, and laundering options
Q: WHAT TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING THE RIGHT FLAME-RESISTANT APPAREL FOR YOUR APPLICATION:
- It is the employers responsbility to consider the potential risks & variables, in order to choose garments based on workplace evaluation to keep there employees safe.
- Flame-resistant fabric must provide the required degree of protection.
- Protective apparel must be durable, yet comfortable, while maintaining an acceptable appearance to the employer and the wearer.
- Garments must be able to be laundered to effectively remove contaminants and be returned to service without excessive surface appearance distortion or shrinkage.
TESTING & STANDARDS
Q: WHAT TEST IS MOST COMMONLY USED TO MEASURE FLAME RESISTANCE?
A: ASTM D6413, Standard Test Method for Flame Resistance of Textiles (Vertical Method). This text establishes a test method only, with no pass/fail requirements. The Federal Test Standard equivalent is FTS 191A Method 5903.1 (Flame Resistance of Cloth: Vertical).
Q: HOW IS THE TEST “FLAME RESISTANCE OF CLOTH: VERTICAL” CONDUCTED?
A: In an enclosed cabinet, 12-inch long fabric specimens are vertically suspended in a holder with the fabric restrained on three sides. A controlled flame is impinged on the bottom cut edge of the fabric for 12 seconds.
Q: WHAT PERFORMANCE STANDARDS DO GARMENT
A: Various specifications and requirements have been established based on ASTM D6413 testing; for example:
- ASTM F2302 Standard Performance Specification for Labeling Protective Clothing as Heat and Flame-Resistant requires an Afterflame time of no more than 2.0 seconds and Char Length of less than 6.0 inches when tested in accordance with ASTM Test Method D6413 (vertical flame resistance). No melting of dripping of the specimens is allowed during the test. Also, the fabric may not ignite, melt, drip, separate or shrink more than 10% when exposed in a forced air oven at 500℉ (260℃) for 5 minutes.
- California OSHA specifies the maximum standard measured by the ASTM F2302 for professional fire fighter’s barrack’s uniforms.
- In the absence of other requirements, BIG BILL FR® follows ASTM F2302 as a minimum requirement. Other performance requirements may apply to specific garments and will be noted on the garment label. ( Not sure if you want to add this specification, but The Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) require a maximum of 2.0 seconds Afterflame and 4.0 inches Char Length for protection against hydrocarbon flash fires.)
COMPARING FABRICS, FIBERS & BLENDS
BIG BILL FR OFFERS GARMENTS CONSTRUCTED USING OVER 15 BRANDS OF VARIOUS MATERIALS, EACH PROVIDING VARYING LEVELS OF DURABILITY & PROTECTION, INCLUDING FINISHES GUARANTEED FOR THE LIFE OF THE GARMENT. WE STAY CURRENT WITH EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES & KEEP UP WITH THE ALWAYS EMERGING NEW FINISHES & ADDITIONAL FIBERS THAT CONTINUE TO BE DEVELOPED TO ADDRESS ANY POTENTIAL SHORTCOMINGS IN THE GLOBAL MARKET PLACE.
Q: WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN INHERENT AND TREATED FABRICS?
A: Inherently flame resistant fibers and materials have flame resistance essentially constructed into the fiber. The fiber is naturally not flammable, the protection can never be worn away or washed out.Treated fibers & fabrics are made flame-resistant by the adding flame-retardant chemicals. After being treated the fabric is used to provide some level of flame retardancy. When ignited, these fabrics rely on a chemical reaction to extinguish fire. Non-durable FR Treatments are not recommend. Some flame retardant finishes for 100% cotton and cotton blend fabrics last for the life of the garment.
Q: WHAT TECHNIQUE HELPS ACHIEVE BETTER FR FIBER AND/OR FABRIC?
A: BLENDING, it is a method where two or more fibers are used in one fabric to balance fiber strengths and weaknesses.
Q: FR FABRIC SELECTION CONSIDERATIONS:
- Thermal Protection
- Color Options
- Laundering Options
HIGH VISIBILITY FR GARMENTS
Q: WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR HIGH VISIBILITY SAFETY APPAREL?
- ANSI/ISEA 107 American National Standard for High Visibility Safety Apparel and Headwear establishes design, material, photometric and physical performance requirements, care labeling and marking rules for high visibility apparel.
- ANSI/ISEA 107 is the hi-vis garment standard.
- Hi-vis apparel marked as FR must comply with at least one recognized flammability standard in its entirety, such as: ASTM F1506, ASTM F1891, ASTM F2733, or NFPA 2112.
- FWHA requires garments meet Class 2 or 3 of ANSI/ISEA 107 apparel when working on federally aided highways. Class 2 garments provide superior visibility for high risk occupations with a complex background and/or severe weather, and where vehicle speed is usually greater than 25 mph. Class 3 garments allow the wearer to be identified as a person in high risk situations due to slight distances and/or severe weather, and high speed vehicle traffic.