NFPA 2112, the standard for flame-resistant garments for protection of industrial personnel against flash fire, is published by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). The National Fire Protection Association has served as an authority in the U.S. on fire, electricity and building safety since 1896. The purpose of the standard is to "provide minimum requirements for the design, construction, evaluation, and certification of flame-resistant garments for use by industrial personnel, with the intent of providing a degree of protection to the wearer and reducing the severity of burn injuries resulting from accidental exposure to hydrocarbon flash fires" NFPA 2112 is a voluntary consensus standard, not a law. However, OSHA recognizes NFPA 2112 as a generally accepted industry practice.
Who NFPA 2112 covers
NFPA 2112 was developed to protect industrial workers and primarily those in the oil and petrochemical industries against flash fires. A flash fire is defined as "a fire that spreads rapidly through a diffuse fuel, such as dust, gas, or the vapors of an ignitable liquid, without the production of damaging pressure". Flash fires are unplanned exposures that typically last three seconds or less. NFPA 2112 does not apply to protective clothing for electrical flashes, wildland fire fighting, technical rescue, structural fire fighting, proximity fire fighting, or any fire fighting operations or hazardous materials emergencies.
What NFPA 2112 requires
Organizations must conduct a hazard assessment of the work environment to determine if flammable chemicals are present in quantities necessary to generate a flash fire. If a flash-fire hazard does exist, the requirements for wearing flame-resistant clothing shall be based on the potential hazards that workers are exposed to as part of their work duties. Factors in determining if flame-resistant clothing is required shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
- The potential for the task being performed to increase the possibility of a flammable release; this could result from a mechanical failure such as a line breaking.
- Operating conditions of the process - that is, potential for flammable fumes or vapors, and so forth.
- The presence of engineering controls designed to reduce exposure to flammable materials present during normal operations.
- Accident history. If it is determined that flame-resistant clothing is required, the garments shall comply with the requirements of NFPA 2112 and be labeled accordingly.
In order for garments to be meet NFPA 2112 standards all components of the garment must be tested and certified by a 3rd party. The most common certification is completed by UL. A garment will include a label showing that it is UL Classified. Customers can also check garment certification on the UL website.
For the oil and petrochemical industries, NFPA 2112:
- Mandates that employers conduct a flash-fire hazard assessment to determine the risk of a flash fire.
- Requires employees to wear flame-resistant clothing if the potential for a flash fire exists.
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) 29 CFR 1910.269 covers the operation and maintenance of electric power generation, control, transformation, transmission and distribution lines and equipment. Part (l) (6) (iii) states: "The employer shall ensure that each employee who is exposed to the hazards of flames or electric arc does not wear clothing that, when exposed to flames or electric arcs, could increase the extent of the injury that would be sustained by the employee". This is the only federal law relating to FR clothing for electrical purposes. It is currently being rewritten and is expected to closely mirror the NFPA70E and NESC standards.
Carhartt FR garments that meet NFPA 2112 standards for the oil & gas industry have been classified by Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
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