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The Journal for Employee Protection
The Journal for Employee Protection
Our new video launched at A+A 2019 proved a great success. It shows burn tests including Predicted body burn testing of three different disposable coveralls – proving the stark difference between different types despite meeting the same standard.
Secondary FR garments are certified to EN 14116: Index 1.
This is designed not to measure how well garments PROTECT against heat, but
that they do not burn, melt or drip molten debris. In fact such garments are
not designed to protect against heat and flame but to provide chemical or other
protection when worn OVER primary FR garments certified to EN 11612 and
providing the flame and heat protection.
Here’s the problem. In many industrial applications Primary
FR workwear, to protect against the risk of flash fire is a standard
requirement. Workers are not allowed in many areas without such protection.
However, some applications also require a level of chemical protection –
protection against hazardous dusts or against sprays or splashes of hazardous
liquids. To deal with this in too many cases a standard Type 3, 4, 5 or 6
disposable coverall is worn OVER the primary FR workwear.
Yet this is a serious hazard; standard disposable chemical
suits are made from polymer- based fabrics. They are plastics derived from oil
that will ignite, burn, melt and drip burning adhesive polymer. So when worn
over primary FR workwear this polymer will stick to the FR workwear fabric,
continuing to burn, transferring heat energy to the skin beneath and
effectively destroying the FR workwear garments thermal protective properties.
So as standard chemical suits cannot be used, the necessary alternative
is disposable coveralls the meet the requirements of EN 14116 which uses a
simple flammability test (EN 15025) to confirm they do not ignite, burn or
However, there are different types of Secondary FR workwear.
At the lower end of the scale garments of SMS polypropylene which has had an FR
treatment to enable to pass these requirements. Such garments are common as
they are relatively inexpensive – though still more expensive than a standard
Non-FR treated garment.
Lakeland’s Pyrolon® garments however are made of a completely different technology; not polymer based but viscose fibre, containing a high moisture content. The result is Pyrolon fabrics, specifically engineered for FR properties, and intrinsically flame retardant; try as you might you cannot ignite Pyrlon®!
Yet both types meet the same EN 14116 requirements so how
can you tell the difference? Why pay more for Pyrolon® coveralls? And is it
worth paying the extra for an FR-treated SMS coverall?
Thermal mannequin testing provides the answer. This involves
a test garment or ensemble (in this case a primary FR garment with a Secondary
FR garment worn over it, as would happen in many applications) being subjected
to a simulated flash fire. Sensors on the mannequin absorb heat energy at the
same rate as skin and from the heat energy information collected a Predicted
Body Burn – the percentage of the body that would be burned – along with a
“Body Burn Map” showing the location of 2nd and 3rd
degree burns is produced. This, then is the best test to indicate how
effectively a garment or ensemble will actually protect against flames.
We tested three disposable garments to see if there was any
real difference: a non-FR treated SMS (SafeGard® GP), a branded FR treated SMS
garment purchased freely in the market, and a Lakeland Pyrolon® XT garment. The
results are shown in the table below:-
shows two important points:
So in this case the fact that two different items of PPE
meet a particular CE standard is not a true indication of performance. In fact
effective testing shows there is little to choose between the two. The same
testing however conclusively shows that Pyrolon® are the only Secondary FR
garments that show an impressive reduction in predicted body burn compared to a
In other words, Pyrolon® are the only Secondary FR garments
you can trust.
find out more about Primary and Secondary FR Workwear download our Guide to FR
Lakeland Protects People. Their products are used every day in a wide variety of industries and applications throughout the world. Used to ensure workers stay safe from harm by hazards including chemicals, flames and heat.
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