The need for reflective tapes in critical conditions are these days obvious, and all the standards provide transparency and necessary regulations. There are different standards for virtually any kind of work and situations, and at loxy we put our pride in meeting and exceeding the requirements of all relevant standards.
But just as important as performance requirements, LOXY aims to minimize the impact on our environment. There is no reason not to let personal safety and environmental thinking go hand in hand.
Let our versatile tapes extend the range of your garments to the full.
The EN1149 standard relates to a number of performance requirements relating to antistatic clothing that suppresses static charge to prevent sparking which may lead to fire or explosion. EN1149-3 specifically relates to the test methods for the measurement of electrical charge decay.
Defining the EN1149 Certification
Each certification uses a standard picture or pictogram to allow for easy identification on labeling and tech or data sheets. The standard pictogram for EN1149 is a lightning bolt above the text EN 1149 and covered the requirements for clothing that can conduct electricity. This clothing, footwear included, created part of a completely grounded system to prevent sparks or static discharge.
This type of clothing is typically worn by professionals and companies who must adhere to ATEX guidelines. It should be noted that the clothing should not be worn in oxygen-rich environments and is not intended to provide protection against the risk of electric shock.
Fabrics for clothing worn in explosion-hazard environments must be compliant to either EN1149-1 or EN1149-3 testing.
EN1149-1: Electrostatic Properties of Protective Clothing
The fabric is tested to release its electrostatic charge via conduction. The test is done to measure the surface resistance, which must be less than 5 x 1010 Ω. Note that electricity can be conducted through homogenous or heterogeneous materials. If the materials being tested are heterogeneous, then static charges must be release through a grid of conductive fibers (such as metal or carbon) with a max measurement of 10mm x 10mm.
EN1149-3: Electrostatic Properties of Protective Clothing
The fabric is tested to release its electrostatic charge into the air, not through conduction. This standard utilizes a test method that measures the amount of time it takes for a static electrical charge to completely dissipate. The electrostatic discharge of clothing is measured by t50% < 4 s or S > 0.2.
Additional Requirements Set in the EN1149-3 Standard
• Any material carrying an electrical charge must be covered from the outside (such as metal buttons)
• Non-conductive elements are permitted provided they are permanently attached and do not use removable elements (Velcro, metal or magnetic backings for badges, etc.)
• Shoes that conduct electricity are required to meet compliance.
• Garments must be designed in a way that outer material remains in contact with skin.
Notation on ATEX and EN 1149-3
ATEX is considered to be a guideline for businesses and industry, not a standard. The ATEX guidelines were developed for businesses or any industry where there is a notable risk for explosion. This includes companies working with dry dust grains, flour, chemicals. The guidelines include types of equipment, installation and handling of product, security but also includes recommendations and guidelines for personal protective equipment (PPE). Any clothing certified according to EN1149 standards is in compliance with the guidelines set forth by the ATEX model.
The EN 20471 standard clearly defines the requirements for safety clothing and high visibility clothing used to improve visibility and emphasize the presence of the wearer in environments where visibility is an issue, or when the wearer is unable to fully concentrate on traffic in their immediate vicinity. It’s intention is to increase visibility in all light conditions, but hazardous situations in particular (such as at night, where visibility can be intensified with light).
Defining the EN 20471 Certification
Each certification uses a standard picture or pictogram to allow for easy identification on labeling and tech or data sheets. The standard pictogram for EN471 is a safety vest in proximity to two numbers – the X and Y values. The top X value indicates the class of the garment from 1 to 3, 3 being the most visible. The “Y” value indicates the intensity and retro-reflective performance of the reflective tape or material on the garment.
EN471 – Examining the X Value
High visibility clothing encompasses two things to improve visibility. Reflective tape or reflective material (night time) and fluorescent color (day time). The X value is derived from the number of square meters of reflective stripping within the garment and the number of square meters of fluorescent fabric.
|Material||Class 1||Class 2||Class 3|
Class 1 – Offers the least protection and visibility and is not suitable for use on public highways. It’s is used in low traffic environments such as parking lots and general work sites where equipment traffic does not exceed 25mph.
Class 2 – Used in locations where proximity to traffic is much closer, with potential for traffic to exceed 25mph.
Class 3 – Highest visibility protection for utility workers, road crews and emergency personnel with high speed potential and the highest risk of injury.
(see article on safety garment classifications here) <- link to “safety garment classifications” article
EN 20471 – Examining the Y Value
The Y value of the standard is determined by the quality of the reflective strip in the safety garment, and the value is shown as either 1 or 2. A value of 2 is the highest reflective performance.
EN 20471 Standard Requirements
The fluorescent fabric must encircle the torso and include the sleeves and legs. The difference in surface area between the anterior and posterior of the garment may be up to 60%. Reflective stripping must be 50mm wide with a space of at least 50mm between the reflective strips. There are no standards for positions of reflective strips, trim or design.
EN 343 is a certification standard used to clearly define the requirements and the methods of testing materials as well as the seams of clothing that are designed to protect the wearer from moisture; specifically, protection against rain and snow, mist and ground moisture. This standard is not intended to test the rain proofing of a completed garment, that standard falls under EN 14360. A complete rain proofing test is not part of the EN 343 standard.
Defining the EN343 Certification
Each certification uses a standard picture or pictogram to allow for easy identification on labeling and tech or data sheets. The standard pictogram for EN343 is an umbrella with water droplets placed in proximity to two numbers – the X and Y values. The “X” value of EN343 relates to the waterproofing of the material in question. The “Y” value indicates the permeability of the garment to water vapor in relation to respective breathability.
EN343 – Examining the X Value
The X value, as stated, defines the waterproofing of the material or garment. There are 3 classifications in this regard with 3 being the highest and most waterproof, and 1 being the lowest or least waterproof. To test, pressurized water is applied to the fabric or garment and the respective classification is chosen based on how much water the fabric can tolerate.
EN343 – Examining the Y Value
Breathability is important in fabric and like the X value, the Y value has 3 classifications for breathability. Class 1 is the lowest breathability and class 3 is the highest. Instructions for the fabric or garment often dictate the length of time the article can be worn, and wearing classifications beyond their limits is not recommended.
This is one of the standards that fall within the range of auto-certification. A product or garment manufacturer is permitted to certify their own product line, and no subsequent testing from an outside institute, staff or facility is required. Auto-certification is permitted because the only risk to the wearer of the garment or product is that water would penetrate and they would get wet. Since moisture, in most cases, is not life-threatening, outside testing is not necessary. There are some exceptions however, such as when EN343 is applied in combination with other standards (such as a complete waterproof safety garment). In such cases, outside testing is likely to be assessed by another agency.
It should be noted that fabrics and garments must meet EN 340 requirements. Likewise the tear resistance and seam strength as well as the tensile strength must all be within specified tolerances. Lastly, clothing carrying the EN343 standard must be free of opening that could allow in water during normal use (such as detachable sleeves).
EN 469 covers the requirements for firefighters’ protective clothing or the turnout gear (kits) used and worn during structural firefighting where that gear is used to protect from fire and heat. The performance requirements for fire fighter clothing conforming to this standard will include:
• Flame spread (tested to ISO 15025)
• Convective heat (tested to EN 367)
• Radiant Heat (Tested to ISO 6942)
• Heat Resistance (tested to ISO 17493)
• Water Repellence
• Dimensional Stability
• Chemical Resistance
Defining the EN469 Standard
Each certification uses a standard picture or pictogram to allow for easy identification on labeling and tech or data sheets. The standard pictogram for EN 469 depicts a fire fighter spraying a flame.
Photometric requirements for retro-reflective materials are according to EN471 Table 5 (Level 2, 220 table) or Table 7 (combined performance materials, 65 table). The minimum amount of reflective material is 0.13 m2.
EN469 – Flame Spread
A test is performed on the material to check for limited flame spread. This includes after burn time, length of afterglow, formation of holes and for melting debris to exit the garment. This test is often performed on seams, wristlet material and additional secondary hardware.
EN469 – Heat Transfer (radiation)
This test measures the radiant heat transfer index of the textile or material being used by the fire fighter. The test includes measurement of the heat flux density as well the time it takes for the temperature to rise inside the garment.
EN469 Heat Transfer from Flame
This is a similar test to radiant heat transfer performed on the material to check the heat transfer index of textiles or material in direct contact with flame. Like radiant tests, this test includes measurement of the heat flux density as well as the time it takes for the temperature to rise within the garment.
EN469 Residual Strength
This is an overall measurement of the garment pre- and post treatment, primarily after exposure to radiant heat according to ISO 6942. This test measures heat flux density and the tensile strength in cross direction and machined direction.
EN469 Heat Resistance
This test measures overall heat resistance and the result of exposure to oven temperature for a set duration. Requirements must be met for ignition, melting, hole formation, dripping and shrinkage of the machine/cross.
EN469 Tensile and Tear Strength
After exposure, the tensile and tear strength of the garment is examining including the outer shell material of the garment and any primary seams.
Additional tests are performed on firefighting garments and material used within such as surface wetting tests, dimensional change, penetration of liquid chemicals, resistance to water penetration, water vapor resistance and overall visibility.
Visibility is an important test factor if the gear or material is fitted with retro-reflective and/or fluorescent elements. Those elements are required to meet the requirements of EN 471 table 5 or 7. This test measures the minimum area of reflective material as well as the minimum area of fluorescent material.
Note that all reflective and high visibility materials are individual tested and must also pass the limited flame spread testing and heat resistance tests while meeting minimum values for retro-reflection post exposure to testing conditions.
ISO 14116 is an international standard that is intended to specify the minimum performance requirements for limited flame spread properties of materials used in protective clothing. The overall purpose is to reduce the possibility of ignition in clothing which becomes a hazard to the wearer. PPE and other materials in compliance with ISO14116 are intended to offer worker protection only from brief contact and proximity to small flames – particular those with no notable or significant heat hazard.
Defining the ISO14116 Certification
Each certification uses a standard picture or pictogram to allow for easy identification on labeling and tech or data sheets. The standard pictogram for ISO14116 is a symbol of flame. The testing will produce a final index that is marked as “limited flame spread index/cleaning index”. The limited flame spread index listed will be the lowest value determined either before or after cleaning.
ISO14116 Testing Methods
Materials are testing using cleaning, aging, thermal performance and mechanical use. Cleaning takes place per the manufacturer’s instructions before each test on the basis of a standard procedure, including recommend wash settings and number of cycles. Age is considered, where performance tests take place after the maximum number of washes indicated by the manufacturer.
Thermal performance attempts to achieve limited flame spread by testing surface ignition before and after pretreatments. After application of test the material will receive a limited flame spread index.
For complete garments the mechanical performance is tested in accordance with ISO 13934 for tensile strength, tear resistance and seam strength.
On completion of testing, the material or garment is given one of the 3 limited flame spread index ratings.
ISO14116 Limited Flame Spread Index 1
To meet limited flame spread index 1, the material must give off no flaming debris. There must be no afterglow spreading from the carbonized area to the undamaged area once exposure to flame ceases. Most importantly, no spreading of the flame occurs. With limited flame spread index 1 classification, it is possible for a hole to form.
ISO14116 Limited Flame Spread Index 2
To meet limited flame spread index 1, the material can give off no flaming debris. There must be no afterglow spreading from the carbonized area to the undamaged area once exposure to flame ceases. There is zero hole formation in the material and zero spreading of flame across the material.
ISO14116 Limited Flame Spread Index 3
With limited flame spread index 3 there is no spreading of the flame across the material. No notable afterglow occurs and no flaming debris are present. Additional, zero hole formation occurs and any after-flame must be less than 2 seconds.
ISO15797 combines previously recognized testing methods for textiles to objectively and consistently evaluate whether work wear and other professional garments and materials can sustain their color, form and finish through tough, elevated temperatures and industrial washing procedures. These procedures typically exceed 75 ° C. Likewise, tests are meant to evaluate the capacity of the garments or materials to withstand high drying temperatures in excess of 155° C which are commonly present in facilities using industrial drying methods.
Defining ISO 15797
ISO 15797 is necessary due to fact that some industries require more stringent washing and drying procedures to ensure proper hygiene, safety and professional presentation of garments and materials. Previously, only ISO6330 was used as a standard measure for domestic washing. ISO6330 however is not a reliable indicator for wash methods and garment performance using industrial washing and finishing methods.
Standard ISO15797 Testing
The draft standard has eight washing procedures and two drying procedures. The washing procedures are intended to differentiate between fabric types (cotton, cotton/polyester and polyester/cotton), colors (white, sensitive colors and colored work wear) and cleaning agents (peracetic acid, chlorine or hydrogen peroxide bleach).
It’s important to note that testing facilities cannot accurately recreate the conditions of a large industrial washing facility, so testing procedures are designed to use intermediate equipment and precise testing procedures. By using ISO 15797, test conditions are closer to real life conditions for industrial laundry in comparison to ISO6330.
The final process of testing allows agencies to test for properties such as shrinkage, color-fastness, creasing, seam puckering and mechanical strength of fabric.
Note that standardized testing for industrial wash is not intended to provide instructions or specifications for how industrial washing should be handled. These standards are used to provide information for suppliers and handlers of professional garments to judge whether or not work wear can handle industrial washing/processing. There are no provided criteria or evaluation scales pertaining to suitability to industrial laundry, and recommended number of cycles or washes is determined by the manufacturer of the garment or material – not through ISO15797 testing procedures.
For all materials and garments, the standard recommends additional testing of safety garments and work wear in actual industrial wash equipment to ensure materials and goods are suitable for production and handling in any given production line.
Ultimately, the benefit of standard testing to ISO 15797 is that a clear indication is given on whether the materials supplied are suitable for standard industrial processing.
NFPA 1971/1977 testing procedures are designed to gauge a vast array of elements in relation to the protective garments/ensemble for structural firefighting, with 1977 relating to wildfires. This standard specific the minimum requirements for the design, performance, testing and certification of or on protective gear.
NFPA 1971/1977 – Collar Height
NFPA 1971 specifies the minimum collar height of 3 inches. Safety and protective gear worn by fire fighters must meet this requirement because of a mandate to always wear protective hoods and firefighting helmets.
NFPA 1971/1977 – Total Heat Loss
Safety garments seeking certification in NFPA 1971 must have a measured total heat loss, where THL is the measurement of heat and moisture passing through the layers of the rescue gear. Breathable fabrics used in rescue gear are designed to let perspiration and interior moisture to escape. The standard for THL is 205 watts per meter squared (205 w/m2).
NFPA 1971/1977 – Heat Resistance
Conductive Compressive Heat Resistance (CCHR) is performed on the shoulder and knees of fire rescue gear to verify that these provide consistent protection when compressed. This test is run in both dry and wet conditions to simulate kneeling/crawling as well as carrying SCBA gear and a fully loaded tank. The test is intended to assign a rating that defines the time in seconds needed to achieve a temperature rise of 24° C. NFPA 1971 defines a required rating of 25 seconds.
NFPA 1971/1977 – Durability
In additional to all the other requirements of NFPA 1971/1977 for moisture barrier and flame/heat resistance, the NFPA 1971 requires that barrier layers be tested for resistance to general, light degradation. This is intended to measure water penetration resistance. This is typically a hydrostatic test done following severe UV exposure, done only on the moisture barrier.
Additional testing includes minimal length requirements, tensile strength, seam strength and other mechanical tests. Protective firefighting equipment, depending on the garment piece, is put through striker tests as well as shock and penetration tests followed by radiant heat and flame engulfment tests for continued durability under extreme conditions.