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 Post subject: FR Underwear
PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2009 1:31 pm 
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I sat in on a meeting today in regards to outfitting our organization with FR clothing and I am hoping for some direction here regarding the following.
With the recent availability of FR underwear does it seem prudent to include these items along with the everyday wear?The question was raised : If a worker is wearing cotton undergarments and cotton pants/shirts with FR coveralls with a rating of 8 cal/cm2 and is exposed to a flash with an IE of less than 8 cal/cm2 is there a chance that any of the clothing under the coveralls can catch fire?Even more precisely asked at the meeting was:Can one be assured:" if the rating of the outer FR clothing is not exceeded with the IE in a flash or blast,and the clothing is properly fastened to totally cover the non-FR wear underneath that the non-FR clothing underneath will not ignite?"I believe industry must feel that the underclothing can ignite otherwise FR underwear would not be offered.I'd appreciate any ideas folks. Eldon


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2009 6:56 pm 
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If you have a copy of the 2004 code they gave approx cal ratings to ignite typical non melting clothing. They were all above 1.2 cals. Since the Fr clothing keeps the result below 1.2 cal at the skin, I think the answer would be 'No they can't ignite'. The code also states that non melting non FR clothing is permitted as an underlay.. Stop and think about HRC0, it is not FR rated but usable to 1.2 cals.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2009 7:48 pm 
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I certainly appreciate your response.HRC 0 being an IE =/<1.20 cal/cm2. In the case of HRC 2 or the lower range of HRC 3 (e.g. 10 cal/cm2)these being a dramatic increase in incident energy above HRC 0 ,it is accepted that sufficient outer layer reduces the IE to =/<1.20 cal/cm2 underneath that layer?It does beg the question though-Why is FR underwear being offered by the larger and established manufacturers?Our safety manager is of your opinion Haze .It would appear by this that there would be no need for this type of garment unless the IE exceeded the analysis calculation or HRC tasking estimate and breeched the
outer FR garments. Thanks Haze


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2009 6:54 am 
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The requirements for all underlayers is that it is made froma non melting fiber, with the exception of elastic materials found in socks and elastic waistbands of undergarments. Nothing requires FR underwear and that will never be a requirement. Why? Because it is impossible to enforce (Think of the sexual harassment lawsuits!).

Now to answer your question, Haze is right on, the ATPV rating is based on not allowing more than 1.2cal/cm2 through the garment at the rated ATPV, so there should not be an ignition if the proper outerlayers are being used. But, do people always make sure the outerlayers cover the underlayers? usually not, I see guys with thier top 2 buttons un-buttoned exposing the t-shirt all the time, that can cause an ignition of the t-shirt and become a serious injury. A friend of mine that does a ton of garment development and testing says some recent testing shows it is safer to not wear a t-shirt (Unless it is FR).

The reason that FR underwear is on the market is because there are enough people willing to buy it to make it a profitable product.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2009 11:52 am 
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I appreciate the response from you both Haze and Zog.This will clear up a lot of questions we have had.These questions arose during an exchange of whether coveralls over cotton undergarments were as effective as FR pants and shirts.When properly buttoned up it would appear they would be.If with open coveralls/shirt the cotton t-shirt ignited,then without the t-shirt the skin would be damaged though maybe as you said Zog it would be the lesser of the two evils, of the underlayers on fire.Bottom line....FR clothing,rated greater than the IE, when properly fitted/fastened, is tested and designed to reduce the energy under the garment to 1.20 cal/cm2 or less,which is below the combustion point of cotton.I think with this information we can move beyond FR underwear. Thank You Gentlemen.


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PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2009 1:11 pm 
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Marines Ban Polyester Clothing In Iraq (April 17 2006)

Worth a read....

Although this article does not cover electric arc, it gives a good background in to why

"Under direction of Marine Corps commanders in Iraq, wearing synthetic athletic clothing containing polyester and nylon has been prohibited while conducting operations off of forward operating bases and camps.
The ban on popular clothing from companies like Under Armour, CoolMax and Nike comes in the wake of concerns that a substantial burn risk is associated with wearing clothing made with these synthetic materials"

Dated April 17 2006

http://op-for.com/2006/04/marines_ban_polyester_clothing.html


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PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2009 2:20 pm 
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I appreciate your response Elaina.Most of my research so far has indicated that FR underwear would not be required as such though avoidance of meltable fibers and wearing 100% cottons would be advisable.I originally asked the question regarding FR underwear largely because it was available and was curious as to why.Responses here leaned towards " it is manufactured because people will buy it".Our safety manager is a former member of the military(air force) and he told me that he was issued FR underwear by the military.We agreed that by the time your underwear caught fire that one was indeed in a very undesirable environment.I raised the point of FR underwear at a meeting in consideration of a lady on our staff as I had read that due to the difference in the build of the ladies in the chest area that the body could be closer to the origin of the flash/blast than the estimated 18 inches thereby possibly increasing the calculated incident energy at that point . I am not convinced that FR underwear has no merit in regards to arc flash exposure.I will read the information from the link you attached and I thank you for it. Eldon


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PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2009 3:23 pm 
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I think the difference with the ladies is not so much the distance, but that natural fiber female undergarments are harder to find; and the use of elastic is not incidental, but basic to the construction of the garments. By opting for FR, a female worker and her employer can be more certain she will not be injured by her clothing.


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PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2009 4:45 pm 
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And the metal underwire is an issue to I think.

But remmember, you cant require FR underwear because requiring it requires a means of enforcing it and good luck with that!


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PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2009 3:10 pm 
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Zog wrote:
But remember, you cant require FR underwear because requiring it requires a means of enforcing it and good luck with that!


By that line of reasoning we cannot have a rule that forbids theft, since effective enforcement would require strip searches at the end of every shift.

I disagree with that line of reasoning. Better not overlook the obvious breaches, though.


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PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2009 6:08 pm 
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stevenal wrote:
By that line of reasoning we cannot have a rule that forbids theft, since effective enforcement would require strip searches at the end of every shift.

I disagree with that line of reasoning. Better not overlook the obvious breaches, though.


Hey just repeating what OSHA told a major auto company I was consulting. I know it sounds silly but that was the recomendation given. If you as the employer require FR underwear and a employee does not wear it an is injured from an arc flash you are going to have some tough questions to answer his or her legal team.

Now what you can do is forbid certian types of undergarments. Any meltable fabrics, or if you choose, anything not FR. I know they sound like the same 2 rules but froma legal aspect they are very different.

And, may I add, per the new OSHA ruling last summer on employer provided PPE requirements if you require the FR underwear you need to buy the FR underwear for all employees.


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PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2009 10:03 pm 
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The other thing is that the IE value on the garment is the 50% probability point of it resulting in a greater than 1.2cal let through. If you derate the IE value of the garmet by 20% you reduce the probability down to about 3%. So what you can be doing is limiting your IE=10.0 clothing to more than 8.0cal exposure and you've effectively eliminated your underwear problem.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2009 1:37 am 
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Perhaps a point being missed here is that it can be beneficial to achieve a desired ATPV by using two or more layers of lighter farbric as opposed to one heavy layer. For instance a coveral worn over a (long sleeved) polo shirt. An example would be a 260 grm knitted polo shirt (ATPV 8.9 cal/cm2) worn underneath a 220 grm woven coveral (ATPV 7.9 cal/cm2)

Arithmatic would suggest a combined ATPV of 16.8 cal/cm2 when in fact a test to IEC 61482-1-1 (open arc) shows a result of 30 cal/cm2.

More often than not some sort of garment will be worn beneath a coverall and providing it is comfortable then the wearing of such a system has many benefits. I accept that policing can be an issue but is not an insurmountable one.

For more information go to http://www.arcflashprotection.co.uk

Regards, Chris


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2009 12:33 pm 
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Chrs Ross wrote:
Arithmatic would suggest a combined ATPV of 16.8 cal/cm2 when in fact a test to IEC 61482-1-1 (open arc) shows a result of 30 cal/cm2.


The most important thing here is "test shows".

Without a test, you don't know what layering will do to ATPV. It might be lower than the sum of garments, it might be higher than the sum of garments.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 2:06 pm 
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woolothewest

beyond the fr issue in underwear is comfort and the reduction a heat stress.
heat stress is far more important than arc flash as heat stress occurs everyday in areas of high heart in manufacturing both indoors and outdoors.
over a decade ago alcoa found that by using natural fibers instead of synthetics heat stress was reduced substantially while fr safety was not compromised.

promoting the need for heat management to address both heat stress as well as fr issues and arc flash among those issues.
to date no synthetic can do both where as natural fibers can do both.

simply how hot is it???
skip all the tech talk supported by millions of dollars of synthetic fiber marketing.
how hot is it really requires common sense. do i want to pass out from heat stress or get dizzy and make a mistake that will cause an issue with arc flash or fire or melting.

your underwear is the first and last line of defense, first to reduce heat stress and last to protect you from flash melting and or fire etc.

your enemy is heat stress and even more moderate fatigue from wearing synthetics and high moisture absorbing cotton.

check out wickers.com for the best in heat stress reduction underwear,
we make synthetics but recommend them only in cold weather.


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