You want to provide your workforce with the highest level of safety and comfort possible, no matter the work environment. Industries like chemicals, oil and gas, utilities and transportation (of hazardous substances) are exposed to unique safety challenges, of which explosion hazard is just one. In this page, we explain the importance of protective clothing that is able to prevent electrostatic charging, called anti static clothing.
Anti static clothing: a must for (nearly) all industrial work environments
Protective clothing that contains electrostatic properties are - as part of a total earthed system - able to suppress static charge (created by friction or rubbing). In other words: the garment is able to conduct electricity.
Anti static workwear refers to clothing where a carbon fibre is weaved through the fabric. Without it, static discharge can create sparks, which can result in fires or explosions. Needless to say, anti static clothing is indispensable for every employer that wants to guarantee a work environment where employees feel safe and confident.
Anti static clothing incorporated in FR fabrics
Anti static clothing is always worn in explosion-hazard environments. And if there is a risk of explosion, there is also a risk of fire. Therefore all protective clothing with FR fabrics is also manufactured with electrostatic properties.
What is the EN 1149-5 anti-static clothing standard?
EN 1149-5 or ‘NEN-EN 1149-5:2018’ is a anti static clothing standard that sets requirements for the material performance and design requirements of protective clothing with electrostatic properties. Combined with hoods and caps, the anti static clothing forms a total earthed system. The scope of the standard does not include footwear or gloves with electrostatic dissipative properties, as they are not part of the garment itself. It is also not applicable for protection against mains voltages. Important note: anti static clothing standards should not be confused with the standard for electrostatic discharge (ESD).
EN 1149-5 and the ATEX directive
Anti static clothing that complies with the EN 1149-5 standard is often used by companies that have to comply with the ATEX directive 2014/34/EU, which covers equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres.
EN 1149-5: part of a larger system
The anti static clothing standard is part of a larger system. The fabric from which the anti static clothing is made should be EN 1149-1, EN 1149-2 or EN 1149-3 compliant.
- EN 1149-1, or ‘part 1’ of the standard specifies a test method for materials intended to be used in the manufacturing of electrostatic dissipative protective clothing (or gloves) to avoid incendiary discharge.
- EN 1149-2 specifies a test method for measuring the electrical vertical resistance of protective clothing materials.
- EN 1149-3 specifies methods for measuring the dissipation of electrostatic charge from the surface of materials for garments. The test methods are applicable to all materials, including homogeneous materials and inhomogeneous materials with surface conducting fibres and core conducting fibres.
As mentioned before: where there is risk of explosion, there is risk of fire. Therefore, anti static clothing that complies with EN 1149-5 should always be combined with the standard for flame retardant clothing EN ISO 11612 (which has replaced EN531).
Let protective clothing experts help you find a solution your employer needs, and your employees want
Finding a protective clothing solution that perfectly matches your work environment forces you to go on a complex, but crucial journey. As a Health and Safety manager every 3 to 5 years, you are confronted with the need for new protective clothing. It might feel like finding a needle in a haystack.
A risk assessment can help you surface possible hazards in the workplace and understand certain rules and regulations to comply with. But selecting the right fabrics for protective clothing is just the beginning.
That is why at TenCate Protective Fabrics, we encourage you to collaborate with fabric suppliers, garment makers and industrial laundries. Together with our partners we are able to develop protective fabrics that are Made for Life. Read more and find out how you can activate your role in the protective clothing value chain.