Protective clothing is extensively worn to protect the wearer against a range of hazards including flame, radiant heat, convective heat, contact heat, molten metal, weld spatter and accidental contact with live electrical conductors.
Typically industrial coveralls or jacket/trouser systems are tested, however, many of the requirements apply to hoods, aprons, sleeves and gaitors. The main applicable performance standards are:
- EN ISO 11611 – Protective clothing for use in welding and allied processes.
- EN ISO 11612 – Protective clothing – Clothing to protect against heat and flame.
- EN ISO 14116 – Protective clothing – Protection against heat and flame – Limited flame spread materials, material assemblies and clothing.
- NFPA 2112 – Standard on flame-resistant garments for protection of industrial personnel against flash fire.
The aforementioned EN ISO performance standards have many similar requirements which does keep the amount of testing needed to a minimum. The majority of the test requirements are mandatory, however, ISO 11612 does provide optional tests which are chosen on the outcome of a risk assessment of the hazards found in practice.
- Heat resistance at 180°C (EN ISO 11612 only) – ISO 17493
- Flame spread – ISO 15025
- Dimensional change – ISO 5077
- Tensile, tear & seam strength or burst strength – ISO 13934-1, ISO 13937-2 & ISO 13935-2 or ISO 13938-1
- Innocuousness – pH or chromium content – ISO 3071 or ISO 17075
- Impact of spatter (EN ISO 11611 only) – ISO 9150
- Heat transfer (radiation) (EN ISO 11611 only) – ISO 6942
- Electrical resistance (EN ISO 11611 only) – EN 1149-2 (performed at a modified temperature and relative humidity)
Optional tests (all relate to ISO 11612):
- Heat resistance at 260°C – ISO 17493
- Water penetration Code letter W) – EN 343
- Convective heat (Code letter B) – ISO 9151
- Radiant heat (Code letter C) – ISO 6942
- Molten aluminium splash (Code letter D) – ISO 9185
- Molten iron splash (Code letter E) – ISO 9185
- Contact heat (Code letter F) – ISO 12127
NFPA 2112 is used in America to assess the performance of industrial workwear and although the tests are similar to those listed above, ASTM test methods are used. A significant difference is that NFPA 2112 makes manikin testing mandatory and imposes pass/fail criteria for such testing.
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