Safe against heat and flame - ISO standard ensures performance of protective clothing

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A new ISO standard will increase the safety of persons risking contact with heat or flame. The standard provides the minimum performance requirements for protective clothing worn in situations where users may be exposed to radiant, convective or contact heat, flames, arc flashes and molten metal splashes.

In this new version, ISO 11612:2008, Protective clothing – Clothing to protect against heat and flame has been fully updated to replace the original standard published in the 1990s. The revised standard defines three performance levels according to perceived risk (plus an additional fourth for extreme exposures). Some of the new features include:

  • new terms and definitions
  • a chapter on clothing design
  • a minimum requirement heat resistance test
  • flame spread specifications for seams
  • modifications for pre-treatment and for dimensional change due to cleaning
  • strength of materials
  • guidance for the ergonomic assessment of protective clothing
  • optional requirements for water resistance and protection against electric arc
  • new marking requirements
  • information on risk assessment and prediction of burn injuries
  • and much more.

This standard reinforces even further ISO’s contribution towards promoting the performance of protective clothing against heat and flame. Some other recent developments include:

ISO 11611:2007, Protective clothing for use in welding and allied processes provides the minimum basic safety requirements and test methods to ensure the performance of clothing worn during welding and allied processes (including hoods, aprons, sleeves and gaiters). The standard addresses protection against spatters of molten metal, short contacts with flame and radiant heat from the arc, as well as minimizing the possibility of electrical shock by short-term, accidental contact with live electrical conductors.

ISO 14116:2008, Protective clothing – Protection against heat and flame – Limited flame spread materials, material assemblies and clothing specifies requirements to ensure the limited flame spread properties of materials, material assemblies and protective clothing in order to reduce the possibility of the clothing burning and thereby itself constituting a hazard.

“The new ISO 11612, ISO 11611 and ISO 14116 not only rely on the latest state-of-the-art technological developments but incorporate lessons-learned during the past few years on safeguarding people’s safety, particularly in industrial work environments. Together, the set offers a robust solution towards ensuring the performance of protective clothing” commented Helmut Eichinger, Chair of the subcommittee that developed the standards.

The standards can be used by manufacturers, employees and employer groups, public authorities, laboratories and research bodies among others. ISO 11612, ISO 11611 and ISO 14116 were developed by ISO/TC 94, Personal safety – Protective clothing and equipment, subcommittee SC 13, Protective clothing.

ISO 11612:2008, Protective clothing – Clothing to protect against heat and flame, ISO 11611:2007, Protective clothing for use in welding and allied processes and ISO 14116:2008, Protective clothing – Protection against heat and flame – Limited flame spread materials, material assemblies and clothing cost respectively 108 Swiss francs, 78 Swiss francs and 56 Swiss francs. All are available from ISO national member institutes (see the complete list with contact details) and from ISO Central Secretariat through the ISO Store or by contacting the Marketing & Communication department (see right-hand column).

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