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When it comes to FR, the answer is: more than you might think. Even after assessing hazard risks and selecting the appropriate FR clothing, it also falls on the employer to ensure that each garment truly matches the hazard it’s designed to protect against. That’s why it’s especially important to identify proper labeling on the part of the manufacturer as an indicator that the garment is, indeed, fully compliant.
Read on to learn what to look for on your FR labels.
NFPA® and ASTM labeling requirements are strict, but not everyone follows the rules. Fraudulently labeled FR garments can often be identified by their violation of the standards. According to ASTM F1506 6.3, FR garments must be labeled with the following information:
6.3.1 Meets requirements of Performance Specification F1506
6.3.2 Manufacturer’s Name
6.3.3 Fabric Identifier
6.3.4 Garment Tracking and Identification Code
6.3.5 Size and other associated standard labeling
6.3.6 Care instructions and fiber content
6.3.7 Arc rating (ATPV) or arc rating (Ebt)
188.8.131.52 When garments are made with a different number of fabric layers in different areas of the garment, the arc rating for each area shall be designated. Pockets, trim, closures, seams, labels, and heraldry shall not be considered as extra layers.
That’s a lot of label, but it shows specific compliance, as opposed to labels that are misleading or omit critical information.
NFPA 2112, Chapter 4 provides clear requirements for shirts, pants, coveralls and outerwear. In addition to bearing the mark of the 3rd party certifier, the following words and the edition of the standard must appear on the label of a certified garment:
“This garment meets the requirements of NFPA 2112, Standard on Flame-Resistant Garments for the Protection of Industrial Personnel against Flash Fire, 2012 Edition. NFPA 2113 requires upper and lower body coverage.”
Beware of subtle changes in wording on the label that claim to meet a portion of the standard, but do not meet all requirements. For example, the following language does not meet the requirements of NFPA 2112:
“This garment meets the performance requirements of NFPA 70E-2009, ASTM F1506-02ae1, NFPA 2112-2007.”
There’s one more way to be sure your FR gear is fully compliant: Visit the UL website, where you can query to ensure that the garment has, in fact, been certified by UL.
While it may seem nitpicky, these standards for FR labeling are very important. They are designed to protect the FR provider and FR wearer from purchasing and wearing fraudulent FR garments, which do not meet the minimum requirements of FR safety.
Make a habit of reading your labels. Because when it comes to protecting yourself and your crew from the hazards associated with the job, you can never be too careful.
Unique Design by Bulwark® Protection and Innovative Fabric by DuPont Are Winning Combination
WILMINGTON, Del, June 22, 2020 – Bulwark® Protection and DuPont Safety & Construction are pleased to announce that the iQ Series® garment collection made exclusively with DuPont™ Nomex® Comfort fabric has received a 2020 Innovation Award from the North American Association of Uniform Manufacturers & Distributors (NAUMD).
Bulwark® Protection and its parent company, VF Workwear, earned the NAUMD Best Garment Innovation—Comfort Award in recognition of going above and beyond to transform the comfort and function of a uniform.
Complaints from customers who wear flame-resistant (FR) garments revealed that they found the fabric to be hot, heavy and not breathable, problems that could be solved by using Nomex® Comfort.
“At Bulwark, we are relentless in our pursuit of bringing game-changing FR innovations to the market that solve real-world FR problems,” said Robert Grimes, VP/GM—Bulwark® Protection.
The iQ Series® garments are made with Nomex® Comfort, an innovative fabric that is inherently flame resistant and delivers both extreme protection and maximum comfort. Nomex® Comfort is lightweight, highly breathable and quick drying. It is also the lightest weight fabric on the market that meets international standards for heat and flame protection (NFPA 2112) and predicted body burn protection (ASTM F1930).
The award-winning garment collection includes multiple styles of shirts, pants and coveralls for men and women. Unique design features include patent-pending mobility pleats, larger pockets, mobility gussets and double knee patches.
“The iQ Series® garment collection is a perfect example of how Bulwark® listens to its customers and works to deliver innovative solutions that help keep workers safe and more comfortable,” said David Domnisch, Global Business Leader, DuPont Personal Protection. “We want to congratulate Bulwark® for receiving this prestigious award and are pleased that they chose Nomex® Comfort fabric to help them deliver unparalleled protection and maximum comfort.”
To learn more about the award-winning iQ Series® garment collection, visit (https://www.bulwark.com/iq-series-mens-midweight-mobility-coverall/QC22.html). To learn more about Nomex® Comfort, visit https://www.dupont.com/knowledge/introducing-nomex- comfort.html.
About Bulwark® Protection
When real lives are on the line and corporate reputations are at stake you can turn to Bulwark® Protection. We’re the PPE powerhouse that surrounds you completely. We balance the demand for FR and PPE that looks as good as it protects. Every look, line, label, fit, feature and functionality we create is purposefully designed based on firsthand insights. We make have-to-wears, want-to- wears. We expand your knowledge in all directions with the latest information, advice and guidance. Bulwark® Protection - Protection built around you. For more information, visit www.bulwark.com.
About VF Workwear
VF Workwear is a leading supplier of workwear apparel that enhances worker productivity and comfort, and delivers industry, leading innovation. Our Nashville workwear business is a prominent manufacturer and marketer of apparel for the workplace with over $800 million in sales. Our brands (Bulwark, Red Kap, Horace Small, Timberland Pro, VF Solutions, Dickies, Terra, and Kodiak) consists of apparel that is primarily work shirts, workpants, coverings and footwear worn by millions of workers across a wide range of industries and government organizations around the world.
VF Workwear Purpose: We Champion and Empower Workers who Make Our World Work Better.
About DuPont Safety & Construction
DuPont Safety & Construction is a global leader in delivering innovation for life’s essential needs in water, shelter and safety; enabling its customers to win through unique capabilities, global scale and iconic brands including Corian®, Kevlar®, Nomex®, Tyvek®, GreatStuff™, Styrofoam ™ and Filmtec®.
DuPont (NYSE: DD) is a global innovation leader with technology-based materials, ingredients and solutions that help transform industries and everyday life. Our employees apply diverse science and expertise to help customers advance their best ideas and deliver essential innovations in key markets including electronics, transportation, construction, water, health and wellness, food, and worker safety. More information can be found at www.dupont.com/.
# # #
DuPont™, the DuPont Oval Logo, and all trademarks and service marks denoted with ™, ℠ or ® are owned by affiliates of DuPont de Nemours, Inc. unless otherwise noted. iQ Series® is a registered trademark of Bulwark® Protection, a brand of VF Workwear.
The use of illustrations (photos, slides, transparencies, etc.) supplied by DuPont is only authorized in conjunction with the texts supplied by DuPont itself. This material can in no case be used to illustrate texts concerning the products and/or services of any companies other than DuPont.
For further information contact:
Name: Lori Gettelfinger, Global Communication Leader, DuPont Personal Protection
Name: Angie Wilson – Marketing Manager
You know you need to be wearing FR. And you know your FR clothing has to meet—or better yet, exceed—your required ATPV. A layered FR system is one great way to ensure you’re protected and keep you comfortable.
But FR layering can get tricky. It’s not as simple as adding up the arc ratings of each layer. For instance, the Bulwark Long Sleeve FR Two-Tone Base Layer- EXCEL FR® on its own carries an ATPV of 6.4 calories/cm². And the Deluxe Coverall – CoolTouch® 2 – 7 oz. carries an ATPV of 9.0 calories/cm² (KH). However, when combined as a layered FR system, the two garments have a layered arc rating of 21 calories/cm2 and a layered CAT rating of 2. As you can see, that’s significantly higher than the total ATPV if you simply combined the two garments’ arc ratings. This is the result of a number of factors, one of which is the additional layer of air between the layers that creates added insulation.
That brings us to another crucial aspect of FR layering, and one that causes a lot of confusion among safety professionals. Do the standards permit you to layer non-FR undergarments beneath your FR garments?
The answer, in short, is yes, if it is beneath the outer FR layer:
According to NFPA® 70E section 130.7 (C) (12) (a), non-melting flammable garments (i.e., non-FR) are permitted to be worn under FR garments for added protection.
In fact, as we demonstrated above, putting an extra layer of fabric between your skin and your outer FR layers can provide an added level of protection—even if the garment is not FR. It has the further benefit of absorbing perspiration to keep you drier and more comfortable in warmer months, while insulating you against the elements in cold weather. However, that layer—and the added protection it affords the wearer—will not count toward achieving the required arc rating of the complete FR layered system. Any protection it provides is considered above and beyond the ATPV already met by the FR garments.
It is also important to note that meltable fibers such as acetate, nylon, polyester, polypropylene, and spandex cannot be used in the layer closest to your skin. Because in the event of a flash fire or electric arc, some heat will inevitably pass through the outer layer of FR and cause a T-shirt to melt if it is made from synthetic materials like those fabrics mentioned above. The melting of these materials can significantly increase the burn injury. Undergarments made with natural fibers are permitted, as they will not add to the injury. However, that is assuming there is no break open of the outer layer and the outer layer is worn correctly (tucked-in), both of these scenarios could allow for the base layer made with natural fibers to ignite.
As such, when it comes to layering your FR, the best solution to maximize both safety and comfort is to opt for an FR base layer, like those offered by Bulwark. Our FR base layers are designed to wick moisture and keep you comfortable, while increasing your overall protection by eliminating the threat of ignition. And, since these FR base layers are arc rated, they can contribute to your overall layered system arc rating. Meaning you can achieve or even exceed your required protection level, often with a combination of lighter weight FR fabric.
To simplify the FR layering process, we worked with our very own FR experts to design the Bulwark Arc Rating Calculator—an online tool that allows you to quickly and simply determine the total system arc rating for over 400 combinations of Bulwark FR garments.