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.