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Flame Retardant Workwear


Your Guide to Selecting and Buying Flame Retardant Workwear

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Our selection of Flame Retardant Workwear includes Coveralls, Trousers, Jackets, Tee's and Sweaters, Fleeces and Accessories from a range of well known and trusted suppliers. Flame retardant workwear should be used in environments where you or your employees are exposed to flame, hot sparks or heat. Welders, metal and industrial workers and those working in offshore industries will find workwear to suit their needs in our range.

FR clothing is usually constructed in one of two types of fabric. The cheapest option is a chemically treated cotton (you might know it as Proban - probanised cotton - but other brand names are also in use). The effectiveness of this treatment diminishes with laundering, so after a certain number of washes - usually around 25 - the FR properties will no longer meet the standard. However given the harsh treatment these industries will give their workwear this probably covers the garments lifespan anyway. Washing instructions and lifespan will be marked on garments and should be adhered to.

The second, more expensive type is a special fabric which is inherently flame retardant (Protex and Nomex are brand names you may see used). This material remains flame retardant for the life of the garment regardless of the amount of wash cycles it goes through. These types of garments are usually favoured by industries that are not quite so hard on their workwear.

The most popular FR garments are coveralls as they provide full body protection with no gaps for sparks or molten metal splash to enter through. They often have features such as studded cuffs and neck to prevent ingress of sparks and covered zips to prevent the metal of the zip becoming hot.    

 Points to Remember:

• Do not assume that fire protective clothing will always self extinguish and make other provisions available for extinguishing flame

• Launder fire protective clothing at the highest temperature recommended by the manufacturer but do not exceed this temperature or use harsher cleaning agents

• Fire protective clothing should not be used past the manufacturers recommended number of washes

Oil Contamination:

Contamination of the fabric by a flammable oil will destroy the FR properties of the fabric. Even trace amounts of oil left after washing will render the garments' fire protective properties useless. Contamination of fire protective clothing should be treated as a potential fire risk and kept in metal containers until it is possible to dispose of them properly.

Further information on Oil Contamination can be found at www.hse.gov.uk/research/rrpdf/rr883.pdf (targeted towards the offshore industries).

Anti-Static Garments:

Employers must provide Anti-Static workwear to workers operating in an environment where there are explosive gases, dusts, vapours or mists present. An explosive atmosphere can result from the presence of explosive substances in the air - all it needs is a good source of ignition to cause an explosion. This can be something as simple as electrostatic discharge from clothing resulting in an explosion. Anti-static clothing should be provided in response to this hazard.

You can find further information on this from HSE at www.hse.gov.uk/fireandexplosion/atex.htm

Safety Standards:

When shopping for flame retardant workwear, you will notice that safety standards, usually starting EN or BS EN are listed in the product description. These are the legal safety standards which PPE garments must meet for use in certain environments. Different standards relate to different work environments, conditions and properties of the garment.

Safety Standard Specification Properties/ Product will have
EN340 Protective Clothing - General Hazards - mark identifying the manufacturer
- product identifying mark
# - size or size range designation
EN ### - specific Standard number
pictogram - for specific hazard protection (Figs 1 to 15), plus
performance levels, where applicable
- care labeling. May include a maximum number of
cleaning cycles (max ## x)
- single use PPE to be marked “DO NOT RE-USE” 


superseded by EN ISO 11611

Protective Clothing for Use In Welding and Allied Processes As for EN 340, plus:
pictogram - for protection against heat and fire 
dimensional change after cleaning, if more than 3%
EN11612 Protective Clothing for Industrial Workers Exposed to Heat (excluding Welders and Firefighters)

pictogram - for heat and fire hazard (Fig 7) plus, in a
horizontal line beneath the symbol, in order:

A - limited flame spread, and at least one of:
B# - convective heat resistance (# = 1 to 5)
C# - radiant heat resistance (# = 1 to 4)
D# - molten aluminium splash (# = 1 to 3)
E# - molten iron splash (# = 1 to 3)
In all cases, higher number = better performance.
If no number is given, no protection is claimed  

EN533 Protective Clothing - Protection Against Heat and Flame

Limited flame spread materials and material assemblies.

Limited Flame Spread Index - 1, 2 or 3 (with 3 being the best)

Durability: A - Aluminised material; or

L - Leather material; or

#X# - After standard washing procedure; eg 5X60 indicates 5 washes at 60°C

R - After standard soak and 5 dry cleaning cycles


EN469 Protective Clothing For Firefighters

As for EN340, plus:

• Minimum performance levels are exceeded for flame spread, heat transfer from flame and radiant heat, residual strength and heat resistance.

• Flame heat transfer index (1 or 2)

• Radiant heat transfer index (1 or 2)

• Water penetration resistance (1 or 2)

• Water vapour resistance (1 or 2)

EN1149-5  Protective Clothing - Electrostatic Properties

As for EN 340, plus:
pictogram - for electrostatic discharge