Flame retardant clothing

Why EN ISO 11612 is the right start to make sure your protective clothing meets basic heat and flame risk requirements.

In a wide range of industries, professionals can encounter risks of heat and flames in their daily jobs. Every work environment is different, which adds up to the complexity of selecting the right protective clothing.

In this page, we inform you about flame retarding clothing and the corresponding EN ISO 11612 standard.

What is flame retardant clothing?

Flame retardant clothing is protective clothing which is either made with FR treated fabrics based on cotton, or clothing that is manufactured with FR inherent fabrics - read more about the difference between FR treated and inherent FR here

It is meant for workers who are in need of clothing with limited flame spread properties, and where the user can be exposed to radiant or convective or contact heat, or to molten metal splashes.

In order to determine which protective clothing suits your unique work environment best, you have to know the possible risks of your unique work environment. After all, there are a lot of variables that are important while making sure that your workers are protected at all times. Building and maintaining a strong safety culture is crucial, especially in environments with fire and/or heat hazards.

A risk assessment helps you to determine the possible risks and the standards your employees’ protective clothing should comply with.


FR treated vs inherent FR

You have probably heard of the terms FR treated and inherent FR. But what is the actual difference between the two and why is one cheaper than the other?

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The most commonly used fire retardant clothing standards

In terms of heat and flame protection, two of the relevant standards are EN ISO 11612 and the complementary EN ISO 11611. A lot of the executed tests are similar, but EN ISO 11611 is specifically needed in work environments where workers are engaged in welding and allied processes.

Thirdly, the ISO 11613 standard specifies test methods and minimum performance requirements for protective clothing used by firefighters who are engaged in support activities of firefighting.

What is EN 11612?

EN ISO 11612, or ‘NEN-EN-ISO 11612:2015’ is the current international standard for clothing to protect against heat and flames. Protective clothing that meets the requirements of EN ISO 11612, is specifically designed to protect the wearer from heat and/or flames.

Understanding EN ISO 11612 test A, B, C, D and E and performance levels

In order for your flame retardant protective clothing to comply with EN ISO 11612, the fabric of choice needs to pass at least two tests: the A test (flames spread) and at least one of the following.

  • B test (convective heat)
  • C test (radiant heat)
  • D test (molten aluminium)
  • E test (molten iron)

Secondly, the test results are classified into different performance levels. This means you not only need to know whether a fabric passed the test or not, but also to what degree. This performance level is related to the size of risk impact. For example, the three performance levels in the E test indicate the level of protection the garment offers against different amounts of molten iron splash.

  • E1: 60 to <120 grams of molten iron splash
  • E3: >200 grams of molten iron splash

Depending on the risk levels of your unique work environment, you need a fabric that meets a certain performance level.

Combining theory vs practice starts with understanding your unique work environment

The EN ISO 11612 is the right start to make sure your protective clothing meets basic heat and flame risk requirements. However, the level of safety of your workers is strongly affected by the everyday practice of your work environment. You want to know which level of protection is needed for your workers, but different test results and performance levels can be rather confusing.

That’s why it is a good idea to ask your partners for test results of protective clothing, for a better understanding of how performance levels are aligned with your work environment.

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.

Learn how to build a strong safety culture and feel confident in all your protective clothing solutions

When you are in the process of improving your worker’s protective clothing, you most likely encounter multiple challenges, such as assessing relevant risks in your work environment, determining which rules and regulations to comply with, and prioritizing your protective clothing specifications. This FR Fabrics Guide educates you on all relevant aspects of protective clothing and helps you prioritize:

FR Fabrics Guide

Download the FR Fabrics Guide

This complete and comprehensive FR Fabrics Guide helps you by educating all relevant aspects of protective clothing and helps you prioritize during your selection process:

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How can we help?

Ask our protective clothing specialists and get informed about flame retardant clothing applicable for your risk environment:

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