FR garment comfort factors increase user compliance

I have no idea who wrote this whitepaper as they didn’t sign it or put any information about themselves or the company they work for but it’s one of the best papers out there for anyone trying to figure out which OSHA Standard applies to them as it relates to FR garments.

It’s on the website and it’s entitled “FR garment comfort factors increase user compliance

The 6 page document is a must read for anyone dealing with FR garments.

Get Noticed, Stay Protected!

Got Arc Flash issue? FR issues? Log on and register for this Webinar by National Safety Apparel, one of the top FR clothing manufacturers.


Flame Resistant hi-visibility garments by National Safety Apparel – Get Noticed, Stay Protected!


Join us for a Webinar on July 21



Space is limited.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:


Come join NSA as we discuss our flame resistant hi-visibility garments, ranging from our widely used HRC 1 mesh vests to our warm, rugged HRC 2 sweatshirts.

Our FR & Hi-Visibility Dual Action garments meet the requirements of ISEA/ANSI 107-2010, NFPA 70E level 2 and ASTM 1506 for Flame Resistance and other performance measures.

We will also touch on key industry standards and who they apply to.  

Key Discussions:
• ANSI 107 & NFPA 70E update
• NSA’s product offering
• Functionality & key characteristics

Thanks for joining us!



Flame Resistant hi-visibility garments – Get Noticed, Stay Protected!


Thursday, July 21, 2011


3:00 PM – 3:30 PM EDT


After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.

FR clothing… all the way or not at all!

You’d have to be living somewhere in upper Mongolia in a cave for the past decade not to know about the new standards and safety measures concerning Flame Retardant clothing that have been enacted and which are still in the works.

Being aware of the changes and standards is one thing, understanding them properly is quite another. I’m referring specifically to the issue of FR underclothing.

Many people don’t realize that, when dealing with arc flash, it isn’t enough to wear FR outerwear only. In case of the type of electrical power involved in an arc flash, your underclothing is just as much an issue as your outerwear. The outerwear may not catch fire and/or continue burning but the energy will go through to the underclothing. If you are wearing cotton or polyester under the outerwear, especially right up against the skin, these garments can ignite and/or melt and cause serious burns.

For this reason, it is important to dress appropriately if you are dressing to protect against arc flash.

Fortunately, there are FR underclothing options. Clothing such as the 5 cal flame retardant 2nd Skin by Benchmark is a great, comfortable solution to the problem.

There are also FR bras available online for the ladies.

With FR clothing, its about protection all the way down, through all the layers, not just the outerwear.

Beware of misleading FR labels!!!!

Are you in the market for Flame Retardant safety vests or garments for yourself or for your workers?

There is something important to be aware of before you make your purchase because not all FR ratings are created equal. What you will often find when you look at the label of the garment is that the FR rating referenced is NFPA 701.

You might be asking “So what? Why is this a problem? It’s NFPA isn’t it?” The reason that it’s a problem is because NFPA 701 is a standard that was developed years ago to test hotel draperies and curtains, not clothing! Check it out on the NFPA website.

The problem is that this standard isn’t strict enough to apply to clothing. Some Clothing manufacturers, however, are using it to sell polyester garments. All polyester will melt and drip. You do not want to be wearing polyester if you are going to be exposed to flames, no matter what the manufacturer tries to tell you about its FR properties.

At issue is the fact that other fibers that have inherent FR qualities are more expensive than polyester and, in the battle to sell more FR vests and garments, cheaper often wins the bid, particularly when the buyer doesn’t know the difference between the various standards.

So before you purchase a FR garment, make sure you know what standard is being referenced. It makes a world of difference!

The Basics of Arc Flash Protection (Part 8)


  • ARC RATING – The maximum incident energy resistance demonstrated by a material PRIOR TO
    BREAKOPEN OR AT THE ONSET OF A SECOND DEGREE BURN. A 1st Degree Burn or less is the goal during an electrical arc flash.
  • HRC – Hazard Risk Category. Current categories that apply to workers are Level 0-4. Remember 4, 8, 25, 40!
  • FLAT PANEL TESTING – This is how our fabrics are tested and how the calorie rating is found (breakthrough threshold).
  • CALORIE/CM² – This is a measurement of ENERGY. A Cigarette lighter placed under your finger for 1 second equals roughly a 1 calorie burn.
  • What is a Calorie?
    • A Calorie is a measurement of energy, similar to labels on food products
    • A 100 cal/cm² blast can reach temperatures of up to 35,000 degrees Fahrenheit in the center, and 11,000 degrees on the perimeter


Arc Hazard Exposure Levels

  • Category 0 – N/A
  • Category 1 – 4 cal/cm²*
  • Category 2 – 8 cal/cm²*
  • Category 3 – 25 cal/cm²*
  • Category 4 – 40 cal/cm²*
  • Over 40 cal – Recommended to re-engineer system to a lower rating.

  • * Req’d minimum Rating of PPE.
  • 1.2 cal/cm² is the ONSET of a second degree burn
  • PPE Levels are the maximum at each exposure category

The Basics of Arc Flash Protection (Part 7)

In Summary

  • Burn Injuries From Electric Arc Exposures Can Be Fatal or Can Severely Injure the Worker
  • Based on Known Electrical Parameters and Work Practices, Arc Exposure Intensity Can Be Estimated for the Hazard, hence job tasks listed and recommendations on PPE to wear.
  • Based On Estimated Arc Exposure Intensity, Appropriate Protective Clothing Selections Can Be Made To Minimize Worker Burn Injury Levels In The Event Of An Electric Arc Accident
  • In Many Situations, Layering of FR Clothing Is Required to Match Electric Arc Hazard Energy Levels

Photo courtesy of Hugh Hoagland


  • The Outermost Garment Must Be Flame and Arc Resistant
  • Meltable Substrates Can Increase Worker Injury

Other Considerations

  • Face Shields Rated for Arc Hazard
  • Hearing Protection Rated for Arc Hazard
  • Hand and Foot Protection Rated for Arc Hazard

Exposure Energy Basics

  • Exposure Energy is Expressed in cal/cm2
  • Measured Using Thermal Sensors
  • 1 cal/cm2 » the Exposure on the Tip of a Finger by a Cigarette Lighter in 1 Second

An Exposure Energy of 1 to 2 cal/cm2 Will Cause a 2nd Degree Burn on Human Skin

The Basics of Arc Flash Protection (Part 6)

Personal Protective Equipment

Select Required “FR Clothing” & “PPE” Based on Specific Hazard Present Within Flash Protection Boundary

Wear the appropriate protection when working on or around energized equipment!


What Types Of Arc Protective Flame Resistant Garments Are Available?

Basic FR Clothing Options

Cold and Inclement Weather FR Clothing Options

  • Rain wear
  • Lined and Unlined Jackets
  • Fleece Sweatshirts and Sweatpants
  • Insulated Overalls and Coveralls
  • Insulated Parkas
  • Long Underwear and Socks
  • Hoods/Balaclavas
  • Vests


FR Garment Examples

Category 1             Category 2          Category 2

Category 3 and 4

FR Clothing Selection Criteria

  • Protection
  • Wearer Comfort
  • Durability
    • Flame Resistance Durability
    • Garment Wear Life
  • Cost Effectiveness    
    • Initial Cost
    • Life Cycle Cost        
  • Ease of Care / Appearance


The Basics of Arc Flash Protection (Part 5)

How can we prevent arc flash when we have to work on or near energized parts?

Special situations:

  • Interruption of life support equipment
  • Deactivation of emergency alarm systems
  • Shutdown of hazardous location ventilation equipment
  • Removal of illumination for an area


A. Use written permit system for planning & conducting work in these situations

B. Use the appropriate tools for voltage and current levels when performing all electrical work


NFPA 70E – Key PPE Steps

  1. Determine Arc Flash Protection Boundary
  2. Conduct Arc Flash Hazard Analysis
  3. Select Required “FR Clothing” & “PPE” Based on Specific Hazard Present Within Flash Protection Boundary

The Basics of Arc Flash Protection (Part 4)


Regulations and Standards

Several industry standards concern the prevention of arc flash incidents:

  • OSHA 29 – Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 1910 Subpart S.
  • NFPA 70-2002 – National Electrical Code.
  • NFPA 70E-2000 – Standard for Electrical Safety Requirements for Employee Workplaces.
  • IEEE Standard 1584-2002 – Guide for Performing Arc Flash Hazard Calculations.

Regulations for the State of Washington (Check with your own state agencies)

  • WAC 295-155 – Washington State Electrical Standards for Construction
  • WAC 296-44 – Washington State Electrical Construction Code
  • WAC 296-45 – Washington State Electrical Work Safety Rules

WISHA 6 Point Plan

Compliance with the latest OSHA standards involves adherence to a six-point plan:

  • A facility must provide, and be able to demonstrate a safety program with defined responsibilities.
  • Calculations for the degree of arc flash hazard.
  • Correct personal protective equipment (PPE) for workers.
  • Training for workers on the hazards of arc flash.
  • Appropriate tools for safe working.
  • Warning labels on equipment.
  • Companies will be cited and fined for not complying with these standards.

NFPA 70E promotes establishing electrically safe work conditions by…

1. Identifying all power sources

2. Interrupting the load and disconnecting power

3. Visually verifying that a disconnect has opened the circuit

4. Locking out and tagging the circuit

5. Testing for voltage

6. Grounding all power conductors

The Basics of Arc Flash Protection (Part 3)

Arc Blast Hazards

  • Up to 80% of all electrical injuries are burns resulting from an arc flash and ignition of FLAMABLE clothing
  • Approximately 1 person dies daily in the U.S. from arc blasts, and 6-7 people are admitted to hospitals for associated injuries
  • Pressure waves associated with Arc Blasts can:
  • Vaporize copper, expanding it 67,000 times its initial volume
  • Create a sonic boom condition
  • There is a known case where a utility cabinet door was blown off the hinges and embedded in a concrete wall 1.5 inches 10 feet away from the utility cabinet.