Different Fabric Types for Protection Against High Temperatures at Workplaces
IEC 61482 PPE for Electric are used to cite requirements for clothing worn by workers exposed to the electric hazards.
Not all workplaces have the luxury of world-class air-conditioning or state-of-the-art temperature regulators, providing employees with the comfort they need while at work. Many workplaces or factories involve the use of sophisticated machinery for manufacturing purposes which lifts the temperature up to several degrees, making it extremely challenging for the workers to perform their duty.
The difference in IEC 61482, ISO 11612, and ISO 11611 fabric standards
Certain production plants involve the use of flames, torches, as well as electric arcs for a number of purposes. The use of such risky objects puts the lives of the ones operating them in great danger, and without the proper use of well-maintained safety equipment, there is always the possibility of serious injuries.
By law, workplaces with extraordinary working conditions are supposed to provide their employees with proper safety equipment, including clothing, which must be utilized while performing professional duties. There are a number of international standards concerning a wide range of fabrics with the ability to resist high temperatures. Employers are supposed to make sure that, based on their needs, they provide their employees with the right kind of fabric that has been produced in accordance to international standards.
Let’s have a look at three of the most common standards introduced for the manufacturing of high temperature resistant fabric materials in the section below.
The IEC 61482 standard was specifically introduced to design fabrics that would offer protection from the dangers of being exposed to an electric arc. Two main methods through which fabrics produced under this standard are tested include IEC 61482-1-1, and IEC 61482-1-2.
Commonly used in the United States, this standard requires a minimum ATPV value of 8 for the fabric to be considered wearable. It is important to mention here that the ATPV value is the numeric value predicting a 50% protection in case of a second-degree burn. Therefore, the higher the ATPV value of a fabric, the safer it is considered to be.
Also referred to as the “Box” test, the IEC 61482-1-2 standard is commonly used in Europe. In this method, a fabric sample is exposed to an electric arc produced by a short circuit for a short interval. The approximate time it would take to cause second-degree burns as a result of the increased temperature of the fabric is then calculated through certain tests.
This standard was introduced in order to produce fabrics that would offer protection from being exposed to heat and flames. The official ISO website does, however, mention that this standard excludes the production of wearables for the wearer’s hands, and includes equipment, such as gaiters, hoods, and over-boots, to be produced for offering protection to the head and feet. A number of tests have been introduced to ascertain the safety provided by fabrics produced under this standard.
Under this test, a fabric sample is exposed to a flame for 10 seconds, and the time taken to produce holes in the fabric, along with the after-flame, and smolder time are measured. In order for a fabric to be considered safe for to be worn under the required conditions, these measurements should fall under the tolerances set in the standards.
This standard is used to measure the fabric’s durability when it gets exposed to flames. The fabric sample is held above flames, and the rise in its temperature is measured through a device. The time taken for the fabric’s temperature to go up to 24C is then measured.
Fabrics produced to be worn in order to offer protection against radiations are tested according to this standard. In this test, the same fabric is exposed to infrared rays. The temperature on the opposite side of the fabric is measured using a device, and the time taken for the fabric’s temperature to increase to 24C is noted.
This test is used to measure the performance of a fabric against spatters of molten metal. In this test, a membrane having close properties to the human skin is attached to the opposite side of the fabric sample, followed by the splashing of larger quantities of molten metal on the other side. The quantity of molten metal needed to damage the membrane is then measured. The D-value is considered for the classification of tests in the case of molten aluminum, whereas for molten iron, the E-value is taken into account.
This standard is used to measure the durability of fabrics produced to be worn while welding and allied processes. The ISO website mentions that fabrics, such as hoods (protection for the head), aprons, sleeves, and gaiters (protection for the feet) manufactured to be worn by wearers during welding and allied processes are to be produced in accordance to this standard. This standard, however, is only applicable to hoods and gaiters, and does not cover requirements for feet, hand, face, and the eyes. Some of the tests falling under this standard are as follows.
This test is used to measure durability of a fabric when exposed to radiant heat. After being exposed to infrared rays, the temperature rise of the fabric up to 24C is measured.
The fabric’s resistance against spatters of molten metal is determined through this test. According to this test, a fabric is suspended vertically and droplets of molten metal are spattered on one side. The time taken for the temperature of the fabric to rise to 40C is measured.
This test is used to measure the durability of a fabric when exposed to limited flame. The sample fabric is exposed to the flame for 10 seconds, and the time taken for after-flame, smolders, and hole formation are measured, and noted to be within the tolerance levels according to the set standards or not.
This test is used to measure the electrical resistance offered by a clothing sample. The sample fabric is exposed to electric current from one side and it is measured whether the current passed towards the other side or not.