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What Is the Difference Between Arc-Rated Clothing and FR Clothing?

Understanding all of the acronyms for clothing and standards in the electric industry can make your head spin. One common question we get is: what is the difference between arc-rated and flame resistant clothing – if there is any difference at all?

FR stands for “flame resistant clothing,” specifically. An easy way to think about the difference between arc-rated clothing and FR clothing is that all arc-rated clothing is FR but not all FR has an arc rating. Confusing, we know. Let’s look at the two in more detail below.

One primary requirement for both arc-rated and FR clothing is to resist ignition, as tested by ASTM D6413, or the Vertical Flame Test. The second requirement for arc-rated clothing, specifically, is to insulate the wearer from arc flash hazards, thus reducing or eliminating any 2nd or 3rd degree burns through the garment. This is where a garment’s arc rating is important.

The term arc-rated was first introduced in the 2012 version of NFPA 70E. Informational Note No. 1 on page 12 of the standard explains, “Arc-rated clothing or equipment indicates that it has been tested for exposure to an electric arc. Flame-Resistant (FR) clothing without an arc rating has not been tested for exposure to an electric arc.” Due to the misuse of the term “FR,” NFPA 70E removed the term favoring arc-rated.

ASTM 1959 is the official arc rating test standard, and requires fabrics to be FR in order to even qualify for testing. The purpose of the ASTM 1959 test is to determine how much heat a certain fabric (or system of fabrics) will block from an electric arc before the onset of second degree burns to the wearer. This is the reason why all arc-rated clothing is FR.

OSHA 1910.269 Update: Arc-Rated vs. FR Clothing Requirements

One of the goals of OSHA, in its update, is to require protection from arc flash hazards – going beyond the legacy of 1910.269’s “do no additional harm” requirement.

FR Clothing: In the new standard 1910.269, OSHA does not define FR. However, OSHA does specify that clothing must be “non-melting.” OSHA prohibits the use of clothing made from acetate, nylon, polyester, rayon, and polypropylene, either alone or in blends, unless the employer demonstrates that the fabric has been treated to withstand the conditions that may be encountered by the employee or that the employee wears the clothing in such a manner as to eliminate the hazard involved (1).

As part of the revised OSHA standard becoming law on July 10th, there is a federally-enforceable requirement for FR clothing under the following conditions:

  1. The employee is exposed to contact with energized circuits parts operating at more than 600 volts;
  2.  An electric arc could ignite flammable material in the work area that, in turn, could ignite the employee’s clothing;
  3.  Molten metal or electric arcs from faulted conductors in the work area could ignite the employee’s clothing, or
  4.  The incident heat energy estimate exceeds 2.0 cal/cm2 if a hazard analysis has been completed, or could reasonably be expected to exceed 2 cal/cm2 if a hazard analysis has not been completed (p. 390). (2)

Please Note: FR clothing, for use in instances outline above, does not currently have to be matched to the hazard, but must be provided by the employer at no cost to the employee. OSHA has issued a temporary delay on citations under the new rule until October 31, 2014. With this delay, workers need to be outfitted in “non-melting” FR clothing at minimum. The new ruling won’t be enforced by OSHA until the end of October.

There are several different methodologies that one could use to determine if an item is FR or not. The most common test in the United States is the Vertical Flame Test we previously mentioned. The European standard is a flame impingement test, which is a lower threshold of resistance to ignition. Some organizations cite 100% cotton denim’s natural resistance to ignition from electric arc as a type of flame resistance – assuming the hazard is electric arc (IEEE Paper No. PCIC-97-35 cites the ignition threshold of 12.8 oz. blue denim at 15.5 cal).

Under the third scenario, 100% cotton jeans may be considered acceptable as flame resistant since they are non-melting. However, depending on the weight, color and condition of cotton jeans, as well as the incident energy of the arc, 100% cotton jeans can ignite. Click here to watch Tyndale’s testing video showing results of FR and non-FR pants exposed to an electric arc. As the video shows, cotton fabric can and will ignite, and continue to burn if exposed to an ignition source. The non-FR jeans tested are made of 100% cotton, and continue to burn after the source of flame is removed (on the left), even though they do not “melt.” However, the FR jeans immediately self-extinguish (on the right). This video is a valuable demonstration of why it is important to protect both the upper and lower body with FR clothing.

Arc-Rated Clothing: OSHA is requiring employers to complete an arc flash assessment (previously called a hazard assessment) by January 1, 2015. Arc-rated clothing is required when employees are working on or near exposed live parts greater than 600V. Under such conditions, clothing could be ignited by:

-          nearby flammable material that could be ignited; and/or

-          molten metal splatter from electric arcs (1).

OSHA’s revised standard will be the first law with a national scope to require arc flash calculations (effective January 1, 2015) and electrical PPE to be arc-rated (flame resistant). Employer-provided arc-rated clothing matched to the hazard must be provided by April 1, 2015. This extended date for arc-rated clothing allows time for the industry to adapt from the old requirement of simply FR.

Tyndale FRMC Arc Rating Label

Exterior arc rating/HRC label with FRMC® on front shirt pocket.

FRC Suppliers, like Tyndale, can help you stay compliant with OSHA’s updated ruling, and help you explain how their clothing can protect your employees, and against which hazards. All Tyndale-branded clothing meets both FR and arc-rated clothing requirements, as defined by OSHA. As a safety enhancement, Tyndale now includes an exterior label on all our manufactured garments that indicates both a garment’s arc rating and its hazard risk/PPE category rating. This means that your employees’ garment protective levels are visible at all times—and that you know it’s arc-rated.

For more information on Tyndale’s complete line of arc-rated and flame resistant clothing, please visit www.tyndaleusa.com. Not in a Tyndale-managed clothing program? Email 1910.269@tyndaleusa.com to learn more about Tyndale’s solution for OSHA’s updated standard.

 

References for this post were accessed June & July 2014:

(1) Hugh Hoagland e-Hazard OSHA 1910.269 Presentation June 2014

(2) 2014 Final OSHA 1910.269 and 1926 Subpart V Rule

Tyndale’s Tattersall Work Shirt (M125T)

Tyndale’s Tattersall Work Shirt (M125T)Tyndale is pleased to introduce the lightweight and breathable Tattersall Work Shirt (M125T) available in White and Red. Tattersall describes the checked/plaid pattern that is actually woven into the cloth. The pattern is composed of regularly-spaced thin, even vertical warp stripes, repeated horizontally in the weft, thereby forming squares.

The Tattersall Work Shirt differs from other FR plaid shirts in a few ways. Other plaid FR shirts have the pattern printed on to the fabric while the Tattersall method ensures that the pattern is consistently repeated, granting more staying power to the garment and giving the Tattersall shirt a softer feel than similar fabrics that are printed.

Tyndale’s Tattersall Work Shirt (M125T)The Tattersall shirt is made from a 7 oz FRMC® Chambray with triple needle main-seem construction, adding to the durability. The fabric is moisture wicking and fast drying for added comfort. Made in the USA by Tyndale, with HRC 2 protection at 9.1 Ebt, it will be available Mid-July in Red and White, sizes small through 3XL.

Contact your Tyndale National Account Manager to add the lightweight Tattersall Work Shirt to your program today!

Access e-Hazard’s Side-By-Side Comparison of Changes to OSHA 1910.269 Standard

Tyndale, e-Hazard OSHA 1910.269 Update for Electric Utilities

OSHA last issued rules for the construction of transmission and distribution installations in 1972. As you may now know, OSHA has determined that those provisions are out of date and inconsistent with the more recently promulgated general industry standard covering the operation and maintenance of electric power generation, transmission, and distribution lines and equipment. The Final Federal Rule was published to the national register on April 11, 2014 and incorporates changes with regard to FR clothing that have significant impact for employers. The revised standards will ensure that employers, when appropriate, must meet consistent requirements for work performed under the construction and general industry standards (1).

OSHA’s new ruling provides a great deal of information. To help provide insight, e-Hazard has put together a side-by-side comparison document of the new OSHA 1910.269 standard with the previous version. Changes and variations to the standard are illustrated with highlights. In its document, e-Hazard has addressed new/different information, slight variations in grammar, clarifications, updated citations and references, and amended language that has impacted meaning from the previous version. This tool helps companies understand how the new ruling will impact their employees and helps those impacted to stay current on the latest information.

The final rule becomes law and employers must provide a minimum of “non‐melting” FR clothing on July 10, 2014. OSHA has since issued a temporary enforcement delay stating it will not begin to issue citations against the new rule until October 31, 2014. Employers must complete the mandated hazard assessment by January 1, 2015, and employees must wear the appropriate arc‐flash PPE matched to the hazard beginning April 1, 2015.

Please note the Disclaimer from e-Hazard that this document has been provided as a public service and is for informational purposes only.

As both a manufacturer and distributor of flame resistant and arc rated clothing, Tyndale seeks to help employers understand the final ruling’s impact and how to properly protect your employees. For additional information on the updated 1910.269 standard:

Or read Tyndale’s blog series which addresses important updates employers should be aware of:

 

References for this post were accessed April – June 2014:

(1) https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=FEDERAL_REGISTER&p_id=24422

Tyndale: Safety Starts With Us

Tyndale: Safety Starts With Us

The 2014 National Safety Month theme, “Safety: It takes all of us.”

June is recognized by many safety professionals and the National Safety Council as National Safety Month. It’s a time when all of us should increase our safety awareness in the workplace and at home. The purpose of National Safety Month is to encourage safe behaviors and prevent the leading causes of avoidable injuries and deaths. The cost of such injuries to Americans and their employers exceeds $793 billion and are paid in the form of taxes, insurance premiums, medical costs, property damage, lost wages and productivity (1). The greatest cost, however, is the emotional toll and suffering for families and loved ones.

“Safety: it takes all of us”

Tyndale’s business is safety. Keeping workers safe is our number one priority and we believe that the first step towards helping you to work safe is ensuring safety in our own workplace. This year’s National Safety Month theme is a call for everyone to make simple changes to prevent tragedy in our workplace and our homes. Many initiatives are implemented personally by the head of Tyndale’s Safety Committee, which is certified by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Department of Labor & Industry Bureau of Workers Compensation.

  • All through National Safety Month, Tyndale sends daily emails to the staff, each with a different safety focus, including tips, fun facts, articles, video clips, and safety best practices.
  • The committee directly addresses concerns of employees to develop corrective action and improve the work environment. This emphasizes accountability for safe performance on the job, and encourages safe behavior off the job.
  • The committee also conducts periodic fire drills for emergency preparedness, quarterly building inspections, and maintenance of first aid kits and fire extinguishers.
  • All committee members receive annual third-party training on Safety Committee operation, accident and illness prevention, and hazard detection and inspection.

The culture of safety is something our employees connect with on a personal level, as well. Tyndale is proud to have three certified First Responders on staff. Tyndale: Safety Starts With UsFirst Responders are more skilled than someone who is trained in basic first aid and are certified in providing pre-hospital care for medical emergencies. It’s reassuring to have these First Responders among us in the event of an unforeseen incident.

To encourage safety onsite and at home, meetings at Tyndale begin with a “Safety Minute.” We take this time to inform attendees of the nearest exits, external emergency meeting places, and locations of nearby fire extinguishers. One attendee is designated to dial 911 in the event of an emergency, as well.  Tyndale also encourages healthy lifestyles by promoting voluntary wellness activities, including wellness fairs, providing healthy snacks, hosting an onsite Zumba class, and more. In fact, Tyndale was recently recognized among the nominees for Healthiest Employer of Greater Philadelphia.

Tyndale truly recognizes that safety does take all of us. In pursuit of our commitment to protect workers across the country, we are passionate about leading through example and making our own workplace an environment of safety and good health.

Now that you know how Tyndale stays safe, check out some of our recent blog posts and explore the ways in which Tyndale is committed to keeping your workers safe:

References for this article were accessed June 2014:

(1) http://www.nsc.org/Pages/Are-Americans-worrying-too-much-about-the-wrong-things.aspx

Tyndale One of Six Companies Recognized by APS as Supplier of the Year

Tyndale was one of six companies honored earlier this month as Supplier of the Year by Arizona Public Service (APS), Arizona’s largest and longest-serving electricity utility. Tyndale was nominated by APS employees and subsequently evaluated on customer service and overall performance. Our commitment to sustainability, community involvement, and focus on health and safety also played a key role.

2014 APS Supplier of the Year Awards - Tyndale

Patrick Dinkel, Vice President of Transmission & Distribution Operations at APS, Barbara Gomez, Vice President and Chief Procurement Officer at APS, Gail Whittenberger, CEO at Tyndale, Tamara Caponegro, Vice President of Sales at Tyndale, Guy Brandon, National Account Manager at Tyndale, and Don Brandt, Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer at APS.

The honorees were chosen “not only for their outstanding customer service and ongoing commitment to our company’s core values, but also for setting an example that we hope other suppliers will emulate,” said Barbara Gomez, APS Vice President and Chief Procurement Officer. APS utilizes more than 4,000 suppliers; Tyndale was the only supplier recognized as an outstanding business partner in the Materials category.

Employees at all levels of Tyndale’s organization are known for the pride they put into protecting employees across the country. Tyndale regularly receives calls and emails from workers who have had a near miss, escaping injury to make it home safely at night because the clothing they wear – and that Tyndale provides – has protected them. This role in helping to save lives is a source of pride for our employees and forms the basis of Tyndale’s company culture. Our unscripted corporate video, Proud to Protect™, captures the story of Tyndale’s dedication to excellent service in the words of our employees.

“We are truly honored to receive the award and value our partnership with APS,” said Gail Whittenberger, CEO at Tyndale. “The award reflects our deep commitment to delivering the protective garments, services, and safety expertise our customers need to return home safely to their families each night.” Tyndale appreciates our partnership with APS and is Proud to Protect APS’s employees with our industry-leading flame resistant garments and managed services.

Tyndale became an early leader in developing and establishing Managed Apparel Programs as the industry benchmark. A manufacturer of Made in USA FR clothing and a leading distributor of other flame resistant brands, Tyndale has been delivering customized clothing services to leading corporations for 30 years. After expanding into a new distribution center in Pipersville in 2011, Tyndale opened a factory store in Williamsport, PA in 2012 and a second store in Midland, TX last year. The company will build on its success with the addition of a distribution center in Houston, TX later this year and plans to open a third factory store by 2015.

For more information, please visit our Services page on www.tyndaleusa.com

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