It is extremely important that those who purchase or use Fire Bear® products know what the different levels of standards and symbols mean, to ensure garments best suit the working environment and risk.
Specialist staff are on hand to talk you through the levels of certification and offer further information and assistance.
EN ISO 11611 Protective Clothing for Welding and Allied Processes
FireBear produces safety garments that is certified in accordance with this EN Norm and is designed to protect workers in welding processes. Parts of this EN Standard are also used in conjunction with the Arc Flash Standard for which FireBear have built an enviable reputation for high performance garments.
About this EN Norm:
Within this EN Norm is a series of tests - the most important of which are described in ISO 6942, ISO 9150, ISO 15025 and EN 1149-2. ISO 11611 has two classes - if the fabric passes all the tests, it is designated as Class 1 and if the fabric receives a Class 2 rating for the ISO 6942 and ISO 9150 tests, it is designated as Class 2.
Lower Hazard Welding
Higher Hazard Welding Applications
Explaining the different tests
This is a test method for assessing fabrics and fabric combinations exposed to radiant heat. In this test, a fabric sample is exposed to radiant heat (infrared rays). The temperature on the reverse (unexposed) side of the sample is registered using a calorimeter. Subsequently, the length of time the sample the sample can remain exposed before its temperature rises by 24°C is measured. This test is also used for EN 531C and has two different classes as follows:
Class 1 temperature increase occurs
fter ≥ 7 seconds
Class 2 temperature increase occurs
after ≥ 16 seconds.
Determining the behaviour of fabrics when exposed to small spatters of molten metal. In this test, droplets of molten metal are spattered on a vertically suspended fabric sample. The number of droplets it takes to cause an increase in temperature of 40°C on the reverse side of the sample is determined. This test also has two classes as follows:
Class 1 ≥ 15 droplets of molten metal
Class 2 ≥ 25 droplets of molten metal.
Test method for limited flame spread. The test consists of applying a flame to a fabric sample for 10 seconds. To pass the test, the after flame & smoulder times and formation of holes must be within the tolerances (set in the standard). This test is also used for EN 531A. The application of a flame can take place in two ways:
in procedure A (leads to Class A1), the flame is applied horizontally (similarly to EN 470 and EN 531)
in procedure B (leads to Class A2), the flame is applied laterally.
This is a test method for measuring the electrical resistance of a fabric sample and determining whether an electrical charge passes through the sample from the outside to the inside. For further information on this EN Norm please refer to the EN1149 section.
Typical Examples of Processes versus Class of Clothing
Criteria for choice on the basis of the type of process
Criteria for choice on the basis of the type of work
Manual welding operations during which small amounts of spatter or droplets of molten metal are formed
- Gas welding
- TIG welding
- MIG welding
- Micro plasma welding
- Soldering brass
- Spot welding
- Shielded electrode MMA welding
Operating machines, e.g.
- Oxygen cutting machines
- Plasma cutting machines
- Resistance pressure welding machines
- Thermal spraying
- Welding tables
Manual welding operations during which large amounts of spatter or droplets of molten metal are formed, e.g.:
- MMA welding (using alkaline or cellulose electrodes)
- MAG welding (with CO2 or mixed gasses)
- MIG (high-voltage) welding
- Flux-cored arc welding
- Plasma cutting
- Oxygen cutting
- Thermal spraying
Operating machines, e.g.:
- In enclosed spaces
- When welding/cutting operations require reaching above head height or take place in comparable difficult positions
EN ISO11612 Clothing to Protect against Heat & Flame
FireBear produces garments to protect wearers against heat & flame in accordance with this European Norm. This standard replaces the withdrawn EN531 standard and shows our continuous commitment to offer garments certified to the latest specifications.
About this EN Norm:
The requirements apply to clothing intended for a wide range of application which offer limited flame spread and provide protection against various hazards including Radiant Heat, Convective Heat and splatters of Molten Metal. The pictogram is the same as the withdrawn EN531 standard. There are several fabric tests within this EN Norma and the results of the tests are represented by the pre-fix letters A, B, C, D, E and F. A number after these letters indicates the performance of the fabric within this test. If a (0) is shown, then the fabric has not been tested or does not achieve the lowest value attainable with the test.
General Requirement : The mechanical strength and heat resistance at a temperature of 180°C: the material shall not ignite or melt and shall not shrink by more than 5%.
Explaining the different Tests and Codes
Letter A (EN 15025)
This test consists of applying a flame to a fabric sample for 10 seconds. To pass the test, the after flame & smoulder times and formation of holes must be within the tolerances within the standard. The application of a flame can take place in two ways:
Code Letter A1 Surface Ignition, ISO15025 A
Procedure A (leads to Class A1), the flame is applied horizontally (similarly to EN470 and EN531)
• No specimen shall give flaming to the top or either side edge
• No specimen shall give hole formation
• No specimen shall give flaming or molten debris
• The mean value of after flame time
shall be ≤ 2s
• The mean value of afterglove time
shall be ≤ 2s
Code Letter A1 Edge Ignition, ISO15025 B
Procedure B (leads to Class A2), the flame is applied laterally.
• No specimen shall give flaming to the top or either side edge
• No specimen shall give flaming or molten debris
• The mean value of after flame time
shall be ≤ 2s
• The mean value of afterglove time shall be ≤ 2s
Letter B (ISO 9151)
Convective Heat: determination of the heat transmission when exposed to flames. The sample is held above the flame and the rise in temperature on the topside of the sample is measured with a calorimeter. The length of time the sample can remain exposed before its temperature rises by 24 °C is determined.
B1: 4 < 10 seconds, B2: 10 < 20 seconds, B3: 21 seconds and longer
Letter C (ISO 6942)
Exposure to Radiant Heat. In this test, a fabric sample is exposed to radiant heat (infrared rays). The temperature on the reverse (unexposed) side of the sample is registered using a calorimeter. Subsequently, the length of time the sample the sample can remain exposed
before its temperature rises by 24°C is measured. The test procedure is the same as ISO 11611, but the classification is different:
C1: 7 < 20 seconds, C2: 20 < 50 seconds, C3: 50
< 95 seconds, C4: 95 seconds and longer
Letter D and E (ISO 9185)
D = Aluminium
E = Molten Iron
Determining the level of protection against spatters of molten metal. A membrane (with similar properties to human skin) is attached to the reverse of the fabric sample sequentially rising quantities of molten metal (Aluminium or Iron as applicable) are splashed on the sample. The quantity of molten metal which deforms the membrane is determined.
The classification for molten aluminium is:
D1: 100 < 200 grams, D2: 200 <350 grams, D3: 350 grams and more
The classification for molten iron is:
E1: 60 < 120 grams, E2: 120 < 200 grams, E3: 200 grams and more
Letter F (ISO 12127)
This is a new test to establish a value for contact heat. The classification in this respect:
F1: 5 < 10 seconds, F2: 10 < 15 seconds, F3: 15 seconds and longer
This is an optional test for protection against rain. The first "n" refers to the waterproofing class, the second "n" to the water vapour permeability class. Please also refer to EN343 for further information.
IEC 61482-2 Protective Clothing against the Thermal Hazards of an Electric Arc
FireBear produces safety garments that protect workers against the Thermals Hazards of an Electric Arc. Each garment style is carefully designed to offer the maximum protection whilst ensuring comfort and outstanding durability. As Arc Flash garments come under the requirements of Category 3 Protective Clothing, these garments are manufacturer under Article 11B Quality Control Procedures.
What is an Electric Arc?
Electric Arc and the arc flash created is an extremely dangerous and least understood hazard of electricity. It occurs as a result of extreme discharges of voltage or electrical current from equipment including switchgear, transformers and heavy electrical equipment. The arc generates a high level of energy for a very short span of time (up to 1 second). The intense heat can create temperatures as high as 19,000°C and it also produces electric shock, force and large quantities of thermal radiant energy.
What is the Risk?
In any situation where your employees are working with electricity, an arc flash can occur and as such the maximum energy of default circuits in any electrical installation must be able to be determined. The risks of an electric arc exposure are:
• Electrocution – potentially fatal
• Extremely high levels of Radiant Heat
• Secondary Fire or Explosions – ignition to the surroundings
• 1st, 2nd or 3rd Degree burns – 3rd Degree burns cause permanent damage
IEC 61482-2:2009 Performance & Design Requirements
Performance requirements for materials and design requirements for garments, plus Marking and User Information.
This part of IEC 61482 is applicable to protective clothing used in work if there is an electric arc hazard. This standard specifies requirements and test methods applicable to materials and garments for protective clothing worn by electrical workers to protect them against the thermal hazards of electric arc based on relevant general properties of the textiles, tested with selected textile test methods, and one of the Test Methods as defined below.
IEC 61482-1-1:2009 ‘Open Arc’
‘Open Arc’ test method (ATPV test and garment test). This replaces IEC 61482-1:2002. The ‘Open Arc’ test method is the same as the original North American method for measuring the Arc Thermal Performance Value (ATPV), as used in ASTM F1959. Materials or assemblies are given an ATPV value, expressed in kilojoules per square metre (kJ/m2), which can be converted into the familiar cal/cm2.
Warning: tears to arc flash certified garments should not be repaired by the user; a flammable (not flameproof) thread or heat-reactivatable piece likely to melt would be very dangerous in the event of exposure to flame. Should there be any need to repair a garment, please contact FireBear for details on how this is best undertaken.
IEC 61482-1-2:2007 ‘Box Arc’
‘Box Arc’ test method (Fabric classification and garment test). The ‘Box arc’ test method is based on the original European method described in ENV 50354, with a heat transfer measurement. Materials or assemblies are classified as Class 1 (4 kA) or Class 2 (7kA). During this test, a fabric sample is exposed to an electric arc produced by a 4kA or 7kA short circuit. In the test, the arc does not last any longer than 500 ms. The amount of heat transmitted through the sample is measured during and after the test. On the basis of the resulting data and a STOLL curve, the length of time it would take to cause the onset of second-degree burns is subsequently determined. Samples are also assessed for after-flaming, hole formation, melting, etc.
Garment Testing & Fabric Testing
Is is important to note that not only the fabric should be tested for conformance to the Arc Flash Standard, but also the complete garment or garment assembly itself. The garment test is not testing for energetic value but is testing to ensure that the garment structure remains intact after the arc exposure and that components such as zippers and buttons are still functional and do not contribute further injury to the wearer by melting or heat transfer.
Limitations of Use
With arc protection, the environmental conditions and the risks at the working site shall be regarded. For example a test under the standard using a 4 kA test current (Class 1) subjects the garment/fabric to an incident energy of 135 kJ/m2 ± 56 kJ/m2 (3.2 ± 1.2 cal/cm2) over a 500 ms exposure at 18-28°C at 45-75% RH. If the working environment deviates from this temperature/humidity range the level of protection may be reduced. Exposure to higher incident energies or longer duration arcs may result in the garment providing insufficient protection. Therefore Risk Assessments should be conducted prior to live working.
For full body protection, the protective clothing shall be worn in the closed state and other suitable protective equipment (e.g. helmet with protective face screen, protective gloves and footwear (boots) shall be used. No garments such as shirts, undergarments or underwear should be used which melt under arc exposures - e.g. made of polyamide, polyester or acryl fibres. For maximum protection against Arc Flash Exposure garments should be worn as part of a layering system i.e. in conjunction with a shirt or other undergarment.
EN1149-5:2008 Protective Clothing with Electrostatic Properties
About this EN Norm:
This is the European Standard for garments that protect against electrostatic discharge in areas where there is a risk of explosion (ATEX Environments) such as petrochemical refineries and fuel distribution companies.
Annex II, art. 2.3. of the ATEX directive 99/92/CE concerning the protection of workers likely to be exposed to the risk of explosive atmospheres says: "Workers must be provided with appropriate working clothing consisting of materials which do not give rise to electrical discharges that can ignite explosive atmospheres". The outer fabric of these garments are therefore made from antistatic materials and components.
Under the scope of the PPE manufacturers Directive 89/686/Ce a series of EN standards have been developed relating to electrostatic properties. We note the key parts of these standards as follows that relate to the protective garments that FireBear produce.
EN 1149-5:2008 Performance Requirements
Antistatic PPE is certified to EN1149-5 as this standard covers the performance requirements of the garments and refers to the choice of 2 different test methods (EN1149-1 or EN1149-3).
EN 1149-1:2006 Measurements of Surface Resistivity
This test method is most appropriate for materials for which the electrostatic dissipative behaviour is based on surface conductivity (for instance containing surface conductive yarns or a homogeneous conductive outside PVC coating layer). This method is not appropriate for core conductive fibres.
EN 1149-3:2004 Measurements of Surface Resistivity
This test method is referenced for materials for which the electrostatic dissipative behaviour is based on core conducting fibres but can also be used for surface conducting materials.
In the EN1149 series, there is also an EN1149-2 (measurement of the electrical resistance through a material; the vertical resistance) which is used as a test method in EN ISO 11611 (welders clothing) and which is also mentioned in Annex H of EN 469:2005. A further part of EN1149 is under development which will cover the testing of the fully garment - this part of the standard is EN1149-4.
EN471 / EN ISO 20471 Hi-Vizibility
This EN Norm specifies the requirements for clothing designed to emphasize the wearer's presence visibly in order to make the wearer more noticeable in hazardous situations during the day and at night (illumination in car headlights).
The contents of this EN Norm
This standard's icon is a safety vest placed under two numbers that represent the X and Y values\\. The top value (X) indicates the garment's class (1 to 3). Class 1 is the least visible and Class 3 the most visible. The lower value (Y) specifies the quality of the reflective strips (1 or 2) incorporated in the garment. The Y value indicates how well the reflective strip reflects. ProGARM® only uses reflective tape that has the highest Y value of 2.
The X and Y values
The X value is derived from the number of square metres of fluorescent fabric and the number of square metres of reflective strip incorporated in a garment.
Class 1: not suitable for working on public highways
Class 2: for roadwork with traffic travelling at a maximum speed of 50 km/hour
Class 3: for roadwork with traffic travelling at higher permissible speeds
The fluorescent fabric must encircle the torso, sleeves and trouser legs. And the difference in surface area between the front and back may be a maximum of 40% – 60%. The reflective strip must be 50 mm wide and the space between 2 reflective strips must be at least 50 mm. The distance from ‘the end’ of the garment (e.g. the end of a trouser leg) to the reflective strip must also be at least 50mm. Reflective strips can be positioned in a variety of different ways; a number of examples are given in Appendix A.
EN471 has now been replaced with the EN ISO, and which includes the following improvements:
1) The Class 1 retro-reflective tape is not an option anymore, because the ISO 20471 requirements for single performance retro reflective tape is equal to the EN 471 Class 2 tape. On the other hand, the performance after washing the test method differs as 20471 requires each cycle to be a wash and dry cycle. This was not the case for the EN471, as it only required washing after the last cycle. In addition to this, product markings will no longer state the performance class of the retro reflective tape. However, the combined performance tape may still be used on class 1 garments (again, the test method has changed)
2) The placement of the retro-reflective tape) although the mandatory patterns for retro-reflective tape has not changed, it now clarifies that additional bands of tape may be used to achieve the required areas
3) It is also essential for the Class 3 garments to cover the torso and have either full length sleeves and/or full length legs
4) For the garments that have short sleeves, if the sleeve obscures a torso band of retro reflective tape, changes mean that the garment must now also have a band of retro-reflective tape about the sleeves.
5) If there is a maximum number of washes (or Dry Cleans cycles) stated by the manufacturer then fluorescent background material must adhere to the chromaticity and luminance requirements after the specified number of washes. If no maximum number of washes have been stated then it must meet the requirements after 5 washes and this must also be reflected in the user information.
6) The tensile strength, burst strength and tear strength (on coated fabrics/ laminates) requirements on fabrics have been reduced.
9) Additionally, colourfastness to perspiration has had the staining requirement increased to four.
10) Colourfastness to washing or dry cleaning has had the staining requirement reduced to four for the non-fluorescent fabrics.
11) Water vapour permeability requirements for fabrics (which excludes coated/laminate fabrics that protects against rain) has been amended to <5 m2Pa/W or water vapour permeability index <=0.15. This is not essential for vests/waistcoats
EN ISO14116 Protection against Heat & Flame, Limited Flame Spread
This standard replaces the withdrawn EN533 standard. As a general rule, FireBear do not produce garments in accordance with this European Norm as in our view they are not Flame Resistant Fabrics as we understand them which is fabrics where no melting or hole formation takes place. However, they do have uses in some outerwear such as Hi-Viz winter jackets and waistcoats and these garments are generally worn over other protective garments that meet the requirements of the EN ISO11612 Heat & Flame Standards or other EN Norms. Clothing manufactured removal from the flame, the material will stop burning. Clothing in the category should not be worn to protect against convective heat, radiant heat, molten metal or similar higher risk hazards.
The contents of this standard
For fabrics, this standard only has a flame spread test and the test results are given as Index values as detailed below. The number of wash cycles and the washing method used to achieve the stated index value are also given under the EN Norm pictogram. E.g. “25H” indicates 25 domestic wash cycles (this can also be indicated as “I” for industrial wash cycles or “C” for chemical cleaning such as Dry Cleaning). The “60” represents the laboratory washing temperature in degrees C. There are also requirements in this standard for the seam strength to be tested and for tests to ensure flame retardency of the garment's seams.
Different tests, codes
Index 1: No flaming to the top or side edge, no flaming debris and no afterglow shall spread from the carbonized area to the undamaged area. Hole formation is possible under this Index. These fabrics should not be worn next to the skin. An example of a fabric in the category would be an FR polyester which will meet the requirements but will always form a hole.
Index 2: No flaming to the top or side edge, no flaming debris and no afterglow shall spread from the carbonized area to the undamaged area. No hole formation possible with this Index. The requirements are the same as Index 3 but no maximum afterflame time is specified.
Index 3: Requirements are the same as Index 2, but the afterflame time of each individual specimen should not exceed 2 seconds.
EN ISO 14116
EN 13034:2005 Type PB*  Protect Wearers Against Liquid Chemicals
FireBear produces garments to protect wearers against liquid chemicals in accordance with this European Norm. These garments are suitable for use in environments where there may be a risk of chemical splashes but where a total chemical barrier is not required - *PB = Partial Body Protection.
The EN13034 standard specifies the requirements and test methods for Type 6 chemical protection suits for both one-off and multiple use applications. For other related accessories, such as gloves and boots, which are not an integral part of the suit, please refer to the corresponding product standards. Clothing in the category provides limited protection against small spatters or fumes of liquid chemicals. it is usually made of water-repellent, but not completely waterproof materials - within the FireBear range of products this is often achieved by the uses of chemical coatings such as Teflon® which repel the contaminants and in order to preserve these properties within the fabric of the garment, special washing and drying instructions should be adhered to.
About this EN Norm
The fabric is tested in various ways to determine its tensile strength and resistance to chemicals. In these tests, four different solutions of chemicals (Sulphuric Acid H2S04 30%, Sodium Hydroxide NaHO 30%, 0-xylene undiluted and 1-butanol undiluted)) are applied to a fabric sample and the quantities of liquid that drip off and penetrate the fabric are measured and analysed must be within the tolerances set within the standard.
One finished product (of each quality) must also be analysed in a 'mannequin' test. During this spray test, the wearer must perform 7 movements (these are described in the standard) and the permeability of the garment to liquid chemicals is subsequently determined. The classes attained in the various tests must be clearly listed in the user instructions for the garment.
FireBear garments are Type 6 garments and must undergo the Spray Test in order to display the EN pictogram for the standard on the User Information and garment Care Label. In some of our garments it should be noted that in some instances the fabric has been tested but the garment and seams have not. In this case, this is clearly marked on the Care Label and the EN pictogram is not shown. Other requirements within the EN13034 standard include tests for wear resistance, tear strength, tensile strength and seam strength. If 2 piece garments are to be worn such as a Trouser and Jacket combination it is important to ensure that both garments have been certified as a 'set' for the specified level of protection.
If chemicals are splashed onto a garment, the wearer should immediately move away from the affected area and carefully remove the garment, ensuring that the chemicals or liquids do not come into contact with any part of the skin. The garment must then be cleaned and assessed for future use or taken out of use.
EN 342 Protection against Cold
This standard specifies the requirements and test methods for garments and clothing combinations (overalls or two-part suits) designed to protect the wearer in a cold environment (characterised by a combination of humidity,
wind and an air temperature lower than -5 °C). The standard does not contain any specific requirements for head, hand or foot protection.
About this EN NORM
This standard’s icon shows an umbrella placed under two numbers that represent the X and Y values. The X value indicates the waterproofness and the Y value indicates the water vapour permeability (the garment’s breathability).
This standard falls within the scope of ‘self-certification’. This means that manufacturers are allowed to certify their own products, which therefore do not need to be assessed by an independent Notified Body. This is because the only risk to the wearer is that he/she might get wet, which is not a life-threatening hazard. If EN 343 is used in combination with other eN standards the whole combination of standards is assessed by the Notified Body.
The X value indicates the waterproofness of the garment. There are 3 Classes with 3 being the highest (i.e. the most waterproof) and 1 is the lowest. A specific quantity of pressurised water is applied to the fabric and the respective Class is derived from the amount of pressure the fabric can withstand.
The Y value indicates the breathability of the fabric/s (all the layers used in the article). There are also 3 classes for breathability with Class 1 being the lowest and Class 3 the highest. Wearing Class 1 garments longer than x minutes is not recommended (the length of time the article may be worn (x) is given in the standard in a table).
EN 343 Protection against Rain
This standard specifies the requirements and test methods for materials and the seams of clothing designed to give protection against precipitation (rain, snow), mist and ground moisture. A separate test has been developed for assessing the rainproofing of complete garments (EN 14360); this test is not included in EN 343.
The contents of this standard
This standard's pictogram is an umbrella placed under two numbers that represent the X and Y values. The X value indicates the waterproofing and the Y value indicates the water vapour permeability (the respective garment's breathability).
This standard falls within the scope of ‘auto-certification’. This means that manufacturers are allowed to certify their own products, which therefore do not need to be approved by a test institute. This is because the only risk to the wearer is that he/she might get wet, which is not life-threatening. If EN 343 is used in combination with other standards (for example, a 4-safety parka that is waterproof), the whole combination of standards is assessed by a test institute.
The X and Y values
The X value indicates the waterproofing of the article. There are 3 classes in this respect - 3 is the highest (i.e. the most waterproof) and 1 is the lowest. A specific quantity of pressurised water is applied to the fabric (in combination with the insert); the respective class is derived from the amount of pressure the fabric can withstand.
The Y value indicates the breathability of the fabric(s) (all the layers used in the article). There are also 3 classes for breathability. Class 1 is the lowest and Class 3 the highest. Wearing Class 1 articles longer than x minutes is not recommended (the length of time the article may be worn (x) is given in the standard in a table)
The requirements set in this standard
• Models must meet the requirements specified in EN 340
• The tensile strength, tear resistance, shrinkage and seam strength must be within the tolerances specified in the standard
• There are no further model requirements for this garment. Obviously, the clothing may not have any openings (e.g. detachable sleeves) that will allow water in during normal use.