Know the Hazards
Choosing the right FR fabric for your program depends on knowing the hazards your workers
face — plus the industry consensus standards established for the exposure. Take three basic steps to help ensure you’re doing a proper evaluation of different FR fabric types.
Step 1: Identify your potential hazard.
Unique hazards have vastly different characteristics. That’s why test results for each hazard do not directly correlate to one another — nor do they correlate to performance in the field. The results from flash fire testing should not be substituted for electric arc flash testing when evaluating products. Be wary of fiber and/or fabric producers that attempt to draw comparisons between these two hazards.
Step 2: Identify industry consensus standards for the exposure.
Different industry standards have been developed for electric arc flash and flash fire testing. For electric arc flash, ASTM has developed F1959, which produces an arc rating. NFPA 2112 was created for employees that work in environments where a potential flash fire hazard exists.
Step 3: Make sure testing is conducted at independent labs.
Taking this step will help ensure that unbiased and scientifically valid data is being produced. Companies with vested interest in the FR business may conduct helpful and interesting tests. Ultimately, though, there is no substitute for information generated at an independent laboratory.