Want to Label Gloves “FR”? Here’s What You Should Know.

We are commonly asked, “I want to label my gloves as flame resistant—what do I need to do?“.  This can be a challenging question. To date, gloves are not thoroughly addressed by the specifications used to indicate flame resistance in the industry (like NFPA 2112 for the industrial flash fire hazard or ASTM F1506 for the thermal effects of an electric arc).

There is no published standard to specifically address how to test gloves to label them as “flame-resistant”. Further,  there are many ways to interpret the term “flame resistant”, so consider the hazard when making testing and marketing decisions. ASTM F2675 for the arc rating of gloves exists and it is one way to evaluate the performance of gloves in a high energy thermal exposure.

Many have asked about the oil and gas industry and how to evaluate gloves for the flash fire hazard. Today, NFPA 2112:2012 Edition does not specifically address gloves; however, in the 2018 edition of NFPA 2112 expected to be published later this year, requirements for gloves have been added. Here’s what you should know about the glove testing requirements added to NFPA 2112:

  • Third-party certification is required for compliance with NFPA 2112. If you are making a finished product but using certified components, the finished product still has to go through the certification process (testing and audits) with a certification body that has NFPA 2112 on their ISO 17065 scope of accreditation (like SEI or UL). This is true for all products in the scope of NFPA 2112.
  • The following tests will be required on gloves to meet NFPA 2112:
    • Heat Transfer Performance (HTP) before and after 3 wash cycles (if the gloves are labeled to be washed) with a spaced rating greater than 25 J/cm² and a contact rating greater than 12.6 J/m²
    • Small scale flame resistance testing before and after 3 wash cycles with a maximum char length of 100mm (4 inches), maximum afterflame of 2 seconds, no melting and dripping, and consumed material shall not exceed 5% of the original weight
      • included in these requirements are trims, seam samples where there are stitched-through seams, reinforcement materials, and emblems/tags that are larger than 4 square inches. Hook and loop fasteners are excluded if they do not touch the skin.
    • Oven testing to ASTM F2894 at 260°C (500°F) for 5 minutes in finished product form to evaluate for shrinkage, melting and dripping, ignition, separation, and the functionality of all hardware.
      • internal liners, elastics, and hook/loop are omitted from requirements when not in direct contact with skin
    • Sewing thread used in glove construction must be made of an inherently FR fiber and will be tested using a thread melt evaluation performed at 260°C (500°F)
    • Labels must remain legible after 100 industrial simulated wash cycles if the product is labeled to be washed

What Else is Relevant for Heat and Flame Resistant Gloves?

Arc Flash Hazard

There are some other ways to evaluate gloves. As previously referenced, ASTM F2675 is the appropriate test method for determining an arc rating (to be used with the electric arc flash hazard).

A new arc flash specification for gloves is underway at ASTM and is expected to be balloted this year. We will send updates on this work item as they become available.

American Hand Protection Standard Classification

ANSI/ISEA 105 may also be applicable to you–this is the American National Standard for Hand Protection Classification, and it includes classifications for heat and flame protection of gloves. It should be noted that the threshold to label a glove “FR” is not included in this specification. The gloves are tested for ignition resistance and burning behavior, heat degradation, and conductive heat resistance, and the end result is a classification (between 1-5 for conductive heat and 1-4 for ignition resistance and heat degradation resistance).

Firefighter Turnout Gear

Gloves for Firefighter turnout Gear are addressed by the NFPA 1971 Standard for Structural and Proximity and NFPA 1977 for Wildland. Both NFPA 1971 and NFPA 1977 require third-party certification.

Previously, some have used ASTM F2302, which was a performance specification for labeling protective clothing as heat and flame resistant. This specification was withdrawn this year. The answer isn’t an easy one, but there are options out there for evaluating the performance of gloves to heat, flame, and arc hazards. Have questions? Reach out!

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