Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Flame Retardant Garments

When flame retardant workwear is mentioned the perception of many people is that the only people needing these garments are fire-fighters and motor sport participants. However there are many more workers who have the need for this type of Personal Protective Equipment including.

• Electricians
• Foundry Workers
• Workers in Petrochemical installations on shore and off shore
• Welders
• Other emergency services, Police, Ambulance etc

You may be faced with a bewildering array of garment and fabric choices. But before any decisions can be made, you need to know which fabrics and garments are in compliance with your needs. And that means knowing exactly what compliance means, what the performance specifications are, and how they are determined.

In the EU the standards are as below

EN 470 – 1: Protective clothing during welding or similar operations
The clothing is intended to protect the user against small splashes of molten metal (EN348), short contact time with flame (EN532), and ultra violet radiation, and to be worn continuously for up to 8 hours at ambient temperature

EN531: Protection against heat and flame
The standard specifies the performance requirements for protective clothing for workers exposed to heat. Limited flame spread (A) (Pass/Fail) is tested in accordance with a test method defined by EN 532. To pass the EN 531 requirements the clothing must also protect against at least one form of heat. The heat may be in the form of convective heat B (level B1-B5) according to EN 367, radiant heat C (level C1-C4) according to EN 366, molten aluminium splash (D) according to EN 373, molten iron splash (E) according to EN 373. HH products subjected to EN 531 are tested on radiant- and convective heat.

EN533: Protection against heat and flame
Protection against heat and flame; the standard specifies the performance requirements for the limited flame spread properties of materials and material assemblies used in protective clothing. The material(s) is classified in accordance with an index for limitation of flame spread (X) before and after a standard washing procedure (Y).
• X/Y Flame spread index, index 1, 2 or 3.
• Y Number of washes at a given temperature.
If the index is 1 (lowest level) the garment can only be used outside a garment with index 2 or 3.
If you have any doubt regarding what standard should be used for you or your employees’ then professional advice should be taken.

Also to be taken into account is whether the garment is made from an inherently Flame Retardant yarn or whether it has only been treated with a flame retardant finish. This can have an effect on the longevity of the flame retardant properties.

At www.Graniteworkwear.com in line with our policy to offer the best products available for all customers, we have recently included Hi Viz FR garments from Pulsar in our range and we will be adding more items including overalls, shirts, headwear and socks in the very near future, several of these will also feature antistatic and thermal properties particularly suited to the petrochemical and gas industries.