FAQ about FR coverall and standards


It refers to the ability of a material to self-extinguish upon the removal of an ignition source. FR is a short name for Flame Resistant Protective Apparel. Remember Flame Resistant Clothing is NOT fire proof.
Hazard Risk Category is the level of arc flash protection clothing you must wear to protect against a minimum level of incident energy measured in calories per centimeter sqared. Meaning, electrical equipment, depending upon the energy delivering capability, under fault conditions can cause an explosion, or arc fault of a certain level, again measured in calories per centimeter squared. That explosion can deliver a certain amount of heat to a certain distance. Each level, 0-4, is rated at a certain amount of flame resistance, again measured in cal/cm2. Each level is considered a category.
A value of the energy necessary to pass through any given fabric to cause with 50% probability a second or third degree burn. This value is measured in calories/cm². The necessary Arc Rating for an article of clothing is determined by a Hazard/Risk Assessment and the resulting HRC. Usually measured in terms of ATPV or EBT. Simple put the ARC rating determines the protective characteristics of the fabric. The higher the ARC rating value the greater the protection. When the product is sold to protect workers from arcing faults, clothing manufacturer are required in indicate the ARC rating.
ATPV stands for Arc Thermal Protective Value, which is a rating of the Arc burn protection capability of a garment. The HIGHER the Arc Rating, the more protection a garment gives because it has a higher resistance to catching on fire. The ATPV is expressed in calories per cm2 and represents the thermal exposure from an electric arc that will create a second-degree burn in human tissue. If the ATPV cannot be calculated because the fabric breaks open, the energy causing the fabric to break open is expressed as the Energy of Breakopen Threshold (EBT). The higher the value the greater the protection.
Bottom line is to verify with your employer as to the HRC Level and ARC ratings required for your job. Arc ratings are included on PROCOVERALL garment labels and in the PROCOVERALL catalog and price list. Typically an FR garment is chosen based on the employer’s hazard analysis because its arc rating exceeds the potential incident energy in the work environment.
NFPA® 2112 provides minimum performance criteria and sets clear guidelines for minimum design, performance, certification requirements and test methods for Flame Resistant garments for use in areas at risk from flash fires, such as those where flammable gases or vapors, or combustible dusts might be present. The standard calls for flash fire testing to be conducted at three seconds with a pass/fail rate of 50% total body burn under ASTM F1930 (Standard Test Method for Evaluation of Flame Resistant Clothing for Protection Against Flash Fire Simulations Using an Instrumented Manikin) testing protocols. For more info visit www.nfpa.org. NFPA® - National Fire Protection Association, known as NFPA, was established in 1896, it's mission is to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training, and education. NFPA® is the world's leading advocate of fire prevention and an authoritative source on public safety, NFPA® develops, publishes, and disseminates more than 300 consensus codes and standards intended to minimize the possibility and effects of fire and other risks. For more info visit www.nfpa.org. NFPA & 70E Are Resistered Trademarks of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
Remember verify the Hazard Rating Category Level and ARC ratings needed for your particular job. Any flame and thermal protective fabric must provide the wearer with the expected degree of protection for the useful life of the garment. Garments are specified based on the employer’s evaluation of workplace hazards. Protective garments, which function as wearing apparel for normal work activities, must be comfortable and durable while achieving appearance that is acceptable to both the employer and the wearer. In addition to these general considerations, there may be other hazards present such as chemical or molten substance exposure. Finally, these multi-use garments must be able to withstand laundering to remove soils and flammable contaminants and be returned to service without excessive color loss, fuzzing/pilling (surface appearance change) or excessive shrinkage.
Your review of fabrics should consider thermal protection, static resistance, comfort, durability, stability, employee acceptance, appearance, ease of laundry maintenance, color availability, and relative cost. You also need to be aware of any special circumstances, such as electric arc, molten substance, or chemical hazards. Verify with your employer the Hazard Rating Category Level and ARC ratings needed for your particular job.
Anyone who works with a risk of ignition in the workplace. For instance anyone who works in a foundry or refinery environment, dealing with flam cutting and welding, firefighters, any one in an aluminum casing or petrochemical industry, as well as electrical utility and the chemical, oil, and mining industries.
All fabrics made of untreated natural fibers and most synthetic fibers are combustible. It is normal and expected that they will ignite and continue to burn when exposed to an ignition source such as flame or electric arc. Because clothing constructed from these normal fabrics meets flammability requirements established by 16 CFR Part 1610, it is generally accepted as having no unusual burning characteristics. Resistance to ignition and burning is an abnormal condition of wearing apparel. When work environments or occupations pose a risk of garment ignition and burning, flame-resistant apparel should be considered and selected.
Normal fabrics and garments will burn away from the point of ignition with an increasing rate of flame spread and continue to burn after removal of the ignition source. Normal fabrics will continue to burn until they are extinguished or all flammable material is consumed.
Flame-resistant (FR) fabrics and garments are intended to resist ignition, prevent the spread of flames away from the immediate area of high heat impingement, and to self-extinguish almost immediately upon removal of the ignition source.
FR garments will not provide significant protection from burn injury in the immediate area of contact with the ignition source. However, flame-resistant garments do provide protection against clothing ignition and sustained flame spread. Remember FR garments are NOT fire proof.
National Fire Protection Association (NFPA®) 70E Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace, states that non melting, flammable fiber undergarments may be used in conjunction with FR garments. Flame-resistant t-shirts, Henleys and base layer garments can provide additional wearer protection.
No, There is a common perception that untreated 100% cotton fabric is somehow “flame-resistant”. This is simply not true. While heavyweight untreated 100% cotton fabrics may be more difficult to ignite, they can and will ignite and continue to burn if exposed to an ignition source.
Flame resistant garments are generally made from either flame resistant materials such as those made from aramid fibers (including meta-aramids and para-aramids), melamine fibers, or those treated with flame resistant "FR" treatments such as Ammonia or Heat Cure . FR treatments can Wash Out over time, shorting the life of the garment. Because many garments are often laundered under industrial wash conditions, they must be capable of withstanding a number of such industrial launderings in order to have an acceptable useful life. It is generally considered by the purchasers of these garments that the garments must last through a minimum of 125 industrial launderings. Any improper laundering will drastically shorten the life of the garment. Remember the FR protective treatment can wash out over time, diminishing the flame resistant quality of the garment, yet the garment looks good. Note: Nomex does not required any FR treatment, as it is an inhearently flame resistant material. Nomex garments will cost more initially, however, because the FR protection will not wash out so the "life of the garment" is much longer.
Cotton or Cotton blend fabrics are made flame-resistant by application of a flame retardant. This finish can be either a phosphonium salt precondensate polymerized with gaseous ammonia (THPOH-NH3), or a heat-cured dialkylphosphonamide. These processes bind the flame retardant to cotton fiber FR for durability. Either process has little effect on fabric hand and performance. Among fabrics produced by the “ammonia cure” process are AMTEX® by Mount Vernon Mills, Inc., Banwear® by ITEX, Inc. and INDURA® Ultra Soft® by Westex Inc.
There is no perfect flame-resistant garment system that meets all needs. Each FR fiber or treated fabric has certain properties that, depending on end use requirements, can be either benefits or shortcomings. Blending different fibers attempts to balance these properties for maximum fabric performance. It is important to be aware of these properties so garments may be selected to meet the specific requirements of a given application.
Blends of cotton and nylon are designed to increase abrasion resistance compared to similar woven and knit fabrics. Woven fabrics are constructed with a 75% cotton/25% nylon warp and a 100% cotton filling. The overall blend is 88% cotton/12% nylon. Knit fabrics may be made with an intimate blend of cotton and nylon, or by other methods like plating. These fabrics are made flame-resistant by application of a flame retardant. This finish can be either a phosphonium salt pre condensate polymerized with gaseous ammonia (THPOH-NH3), or a heat-cured dialkylphosphonamide. These processes bind the flame retardant to cotton fiber FR for durability. Either process has little effect on fabric hand and performance. Among fabrics produced by the “ammonia cure” process are AMTEX by Mount Vernon Mills, Inc., Banwear by ITEX, Inc. and INDURA Ultra Soft by Westex Inc. Many knit and fleece fabrics are produced by the heat cure process.
Cotton and nylon are resistant to alkalis and most solvents, but many acids will destroy cotton fiber. The fabric does not provide personal chemical protection to the wearer. Where chemical exposure is a hazard, specialized barrier garments should be selected.

Wendy Sun
Wendy Sun
Hi, I’m Wendy Sun, Sales Director of Procoverall.com, specialized in workwear field more than 10 years. And the purpose of this article is to share with you the knowledge related to workwear from a Chinese supplier’s perspective.

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