The requirement for (FR) flame-resistant workwear in Canada & The United States has been addressed with industry safety standards written by numerous groups, including the Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB), Canadian Standards Association (CSA), National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and ASTM International.
CSA Z462-15, "WORKPLACE ELECTRICAL SAFETY"
This standard provides guidance regarding the selection of personal protective equipment (PPE) for workers exposed to hazards associated with energized electrical equipment. Many of the clauses and tables contained in this standard are based on, and parallel, those in NFPA 70E.
CGSB 155.20-2000, "WORKWEAR FOR PROTECTION AGAINST HYDROCARBON FLASH FIRE
This standard establishes performance requirements and test methods for workwear intended to be worn as the outermost layer of protection against unplanned exposure to hydrocarbon flash fire.
CSA Z96-09 (R2014), "HIGH-VISIBILITY SAFETY APPAREL"
This standard notes requirements and recommendations for clothing used to enhance the visibility of workers. It provides test methods to ensure a minimum level of visibility is maintained in response to ongoing care procedures, categorizes high-visibility garments, and specifies performance requirements regarding the colour, retroflection and placement of materials used in such apparel.
NFPA 70E-2015, “STANDARD FOR ELECTRICAL SAFETY IN THE WORKPLACE”
This standard addresses electrical safety-related work practices for employee workplaces. These safety measures are necessary for the practical safeguarding of employees relative to the hazards associated with electrical energy during activities such as installation, inspection, operation, maintenance and demolition of electric conductors, electric equipment, signaling and communication conductors and equipment, and raceways. This standard also includes safe work practices for employees performing other work activities that can expose them to electrical hazards. It does not cover safety-related work practices for ships, railway rolling stock, aircraft, underground mines, or communications and utilities equipment.
ASTM F1506: ASTM F1506-10A, “STANDARD PERFORMANCE SPECIFICATION FOR FLAME RESISTANT AND ARC RATED TEXTILE MATERIALS FOR WEARING APPAREL FOR USE BY ELECTRICAL WORKERS EXPOSED TO MOMENTARY ELECTRIC ARC AND RELATED THERMAL HAZARDS”
This specification provides performance requirements for clothing worn by electrical utility workers and other personnel working around energized parts. In addition to non-thermal requirements, the standard requires the fabric to be FR. Flame resistance here is measured using the ASTM D6413 Vertical Flame test (maximum of two seconds afterflame and 6-inch char length). The arc rating is either the arc thermal performance value (ATPV) or energy breakopen threshold (EBT) as measured by the ASTM F1959-06ae1 Arc Thermal Performance test.
NFPA 2112-2012, "STANDARD ON FLAME-RESISTANT GARMENTS FOR PROTECTION OF INDUSTRIAL PERSONNEL AGAINST FLASH FIRE"
This standard specifies the minimum performance requirements and test methods for FR fabrics and components, and the design and certification requirements for clothing developed to protect workers from flash fire hazards. It requires FR fabrics to pass a comprehensive series of thermal tests, including the following:
- ASTM D6413 – Vertical Flammability test: Fabric must not have more than a maximum of two seconds afterflame and a 4-inch char length.
- ASTM F2700 – Heat Transfer Performance (HTP) test: Fabric must have a minimum HTP of 6 cal/cm2 with a spacer and 3 cal/cm2 when in contact with the heat source.
- Thermal Stability test: Fabric must not melt or drip, separate or ignite after five minutes in an oven at 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Thermal Shrinkage test: Fabric must not shrink more than 10 percent after five minutes in an oven at 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
- ASTM F1930-11 – Thermal Mannequin test: Fabric must not have more than a maximum of 50-percent predicted body burn after a three-second thermal exposure