Workers across a multitude of industries face fire hazards that require them to wear flame-resistant clothing (FRC) as part of their PPE. An arc flash hazard is one example of a dangerous fire hazard, and it involves temperatures hotter than the sun’s surface temperature, which means a standard shirt will not offer much protection. When your job comes with the risk of ignition, flash fires, hot spatter, arc flash, or other heat hazards, you need the right gear to keep you safe from severe burns and injury. But how do you know if a product is genuinely flame-resistant? Sure, you can look at the label and see the letters “FR”; however, that may not instill 100% confidence in that product.
Temperatures in an arc flash are hotter than the sun’s surface.
Luckily, numerous FR performance rating reports are available to tell you which garments offer the maximum protection and are suitable for the tasks you do. Since FR performance ratings are so important, MCR Safety has an entire section dedicated to performance standards in our FR Knowledge Center.
FR Performance Standards
In this article, we will dive into the different FR ratings that make FR clothing labels credible for holding up against fire hazards. For those who want more protection than the standard requires, consider MCR Safety’s triple-vented FR clothing, which is tested for high performance and designed with your comfort in mind.
FRC Clothing: Who Needs Them?
It might seem like a hassle to purchase unique clothing for work, but for workers in certain industries, FR clothing is lifesaving. PPE is especially essential in industrial sectors, where fire hazards are a significant concern. Here are some of the industries with the highest rates of heat and fire hazards:
We highlight all the industries requiring flame-resistant FR PPE on our FR Clothing page.
While some fabrics can protect from cuts and abrasions, all are flammable unless treated to be flame-resistant. If you work in a job where burns are possible, you need PPE that won’t catch fire and burn the wearer. Your only option is FR-rated clothing.
FR Rated Work Clothes
Not all thermal hazards are created equal. Thus, FR clothing is rated according to different standards of protection for different work environments. Performance ratings help guide safety managers, and workers choose suitable FR PPE for the types of risks they face at work. MCR Safety ensures that all our FR clothing is tested against the highest standards for your safety and peace of mind. Here is a quick look at two of the most recognized testing standards:
1. ASTM International is one of the largest voluntary standards development organizations in the world, and they publish consensus standards for materials, products, and more. MCR Safety’s FR clothing meets the following ASTM standards:
- ASTM F1506 refers to a garment’s ability not to melt, drip, or burn for more than two seconds and to meet performance specifications after 25 washes.
- ASTM F1891 requires FR rain gear to be ARC-rated equal to or greater than 5.0 cal/cm².
- ASTM F1930 measures thermal protection for garments when exposed to fire.
- ASTM F2733 requires FR rain gear to protect against flash fires and have an average predicted total burn area of less than or equal to 40% when exposed to a three-second flash fire.
More on ASTM can be found here.
2. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) sets standards for fire prevention and lifesaving measures. Our FR clothing has been tested and proven to protect the wearer from electric arc flash and flash fires according to these standards set by the NFPA for electrical safety and fire exposure:
- NFPA 2112 flash fires - the official standard set by NFPA for flame-resistant garments for the protection of industrial personnel against flash fire.
- NFPA 70E electric arc - An FR rating for clothing in substation areas is vitally important. The NFPA 70E safety standard addresses electrical safety and designates hazard risk categories (HRC) based upon a range of occupational duties.
The NFPA 70E standard also establishes hazard level risk ratings that can help you select suitably rated PPE. There are five hazard risk categories used to determine the ARC rating of a garment for a specific job task and indicates how much protective clothing you need to wear to guard yourself against a minimum level of incident energy as measured in cal/cm2. Often, multiple layers of protective clothing must be worn to achieve the necessary rating for adequate protection per employers’ guidelines.
The ARC ratings include five risk levels, which range from 0 to 4. Level 0 means there is no risk of melting materials (N/A), whereas level 4 is an extreme risk. A hazard risk category level (HRC), now referenced as PPE level, is determined by the minimum amount of calories per square centimeter (ATPV or Cal/cm2).
Here are the hazard risk categories, the typical number of clothing layers, and the required minimum arc rating of PPE cal/cm² for each rating level:
- ARC 1: arc-rated FR shirt and FR pants or FR coverall (one layer), 4 cal
- ARC 2: arc-rated FR shirt and FR pants or FR coverall (one or two layers), 8 cal
- ARC 3: arc-rated FR shirt and FR pants or FR coverall and arc flash suit (two or three layers), 25 cal
- ARC 4: arc-rated FR shirt and FR pants or FR coverall and arc flash suit (three or more layers), 40 cal
For more on electric arc performance, click here; for more information about NFPA 70E, click here.
When shopping for PPE, it is also essential to keep a lookout for the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) logo. This means a garment has been manufactured to the highest standards of safety analysis. All of MCR Safety’s FR products meet UL-certification requirements.
FRC Clothes Online Catalog
In MCR Safety’s FR clothing online catalog, you can quickly filter to products that meet the standards required at your facility. Are you needing a specific ARC rating? Just click the image above to go there now.
Unmatched FR Flash Fire Performance
According to the American Burn Association, survival rates for burn victims who suffer burns on 50% or more of their body drop dramatically. If your job puts you at risk for burn injuries, you need the best protection!
At MCR Safety, our top priority is you! We want everyone to return home in one piece after a day on the job—every day. As we mentioned above, our FR products are tested to the highest standards, ensuring they don’t fail you when you need them the most. Also, some of our FR clothing styles are made with our exclusive Summit Breeze® Technology, which keeps you safe from thermal hazards but also helps keep you a comfortable temperature, so you don’t overheat.
Our triple-vented FR clothing styles have endured the ASTM 1930 burn test and have been confirmed to outperform comparable non-vented garments by 43%!
The ASTM 1930 test is performed on a mannequin test subject wearing an FR garment. This mannequin is subjected to three seconds of flames to test what percentage of the mannequin’s body suffers burns.
The image above of the SBC2013 shows a pair of FR coveralls on the mannequin. The standards’ body burn goal is less than 50% since that’s the point where survival becomes unlikely. MCR Safety’s Summit Breeze® inherent blended styles achieve a 7.9% score, which is 84% below the minimum 50% required performance rating. Lets repeat that one more time:
MCR Safety’s Summit Breeze® inherent blended styles are 84% below the minimum 50% required performance rating.
Our top-quality Summit Breeze® garments protect you from flames, arc flashes, hot liquid spatters, and more. The test results don’t lie: MCR Safety’s Summit Breeze® FR clothing is the best!
Why venting in FR clothing? Doesn’t a vent expose the wearer to heat and flame? Believe it or not, the Summit Breeze® triple-venting system protects you better than non-vented garments. We mentioned the exceptional burn scores above; however, triple-venting also helps release poisonous gases. Non-vented garments can trap these gases and direct them to the face and into airways. MCR Safety’s Summit Breeze® FR clothing with triple vents directs gas away from the face and body, increasing survivability and minimizing the need for hospitalization.
Unmatched Breathability, Comfort and Durability
We talk a lot about how FR clothing guards against burns, but our vented FR work shirts protect you from the dangers of overheating and heat stress, too. Your body does an excellent job regulating its internal temperature under normal conditions. But when the outside environment becomes too hot for the body to release excess heat effectively, you can become dangerously ill.
Summit Breeze Technology keeps you cool.
The back and underarm venting in our triple-vented FR PPE maximizes airflow and allows your body’s natural cooling process to occur by letting excess heat escape and sweat evaporate through the vents. Summit Breeze® triple-venting keeps you safe and comfortable, even in the hottest work environments and during the hot summer months.
FR Shirts with Summit Breeze® Technology
That’s not all: our FR triple-vented work shirts also are designed for durability. Their inherent-blend rip-stop styles are double-stitched for longevity, so your favorite FR shirt lasts and continues protecting you year after year.
Common FRC Clothes Questions
- What information do you have for washing FR rated clothing?
Check out our blog on Washing PPE for a lot of useful pointers, along with our dedicated FR and Laundering pages found in our FR Knowledge Center.
- How to make FRC clothes lighter?
Our Summit Breeze® shirts weigh in at only 5.5 oz., which means they’re one of the lightest shirts on the market.
- Can regular clothes be made into FRC?
No, they can’t. The chemical treatment that takes place to ensure flame-resistance occurs at the molecular level during fabric production. Read more about that here.
- How to wholesale FRC clothing?
Check out our FR Interest page here, and be sure to make us aware of your interest in MCR Safety products.
FR Rated Clothing Near Me
What stores sell FRC near you? Find out by clicking the image below and leaving us a comment. We will provide you a list of local distributors in your area that sell MCR Safety’s FR clothing. If you already have a preferred industrial distributor, include them in the comment and we will let them know of your interest. You can also check out our risk-free online promotion that offers free shipping on all initial orders.
Best Performing FR Rated Clothing
Burns and heat stress aren’t to be taken lightly. You deserve the ultimate protection available from your FR clothing. MCR Safety believes in keeping our customers safe in all conditions, especially in situations where life-threatening burns are possible. That’s why we provide tried and true FR designs and technology that minimize injury while keeping you cool and comfortable on the job. The numbers don’t lie. Our Summit Breeze® triple-vented work shirts are the ideal FR garment for when you turn up the heat on the job.
Check out our entire FR Clothing resource page by clicking the image above. High-visibility FR-rated clothing is a hot topic today. You can find it here, along with a number of other resources.
For over 45 years, MCR Safety has proven to be a world leader in gloves, glasses, and garments. Whether it’s on the shop floor, an oil rig, or a construction site, we are there providing solutions to workplace hazards. It’s all part of our commitment to protect people.
No matter your industry, we have the personal protective equipment you need.
Learn more about MCR Safety by checking out our most recent video. For more information, browse our website, request a catalog, find a distributor, or give us a call at 800-955-6887.