Keeping up with new standards in protective clothing

Fireproof protective clothing has a new number!  EN 531 has been replaced by EN ISO 11612 safety standard-  Protective Clothing for heat and flame

So, what is the new standard for?

EN ISO 11612 tests the whole fireproof garment, not just the fabric used to produce it.  This is to stop the influx of sub-standard flameproof protective clothing flooding the market.

What difference will it make?

To the wearer or purchaser?  Very little.  It will provide the wearer with greater certainty that the specialist flameproof clothing available to buy offers real protection.  The problem with EN 531 was some cheaper manufacturers were simply buying the EN 531 fabric, quickly making cheap jackets, trousers and coveralls and using non fireproof thread, poppers, zips and so on to sell garments much cheaper but still meet the same standard as a high quality, specifically designed flameproof clothing that has been thoroughly tested

Do I have to get rid of my old EN 531 garments?

No.  The standard is targeted around the manufacturing process, not the wearer.  Garments rated to EN 531 are still valid, safe and in many respects surpass the new EN ISO 11612 safety standard.  The standard only affects the production of new clothing coming on to the market, not your ability to wear it.

How come I can still buy garments rated to the old standard?

You are still safe in EN 531 protective clothing if made by a high quality manufacturer like Pioner Fristads, Sioen or Tranemo.  These manufacturers produce garments that surpass the EN 531 standard by testing garments as a whole.

For example, Pioner Fristads recently submitted their coveralls to be tested to the new standards.  All passed without the need for any modifications.  To repeat myself, the standard only affects the production of new designs and new garments- not the protection of the wearer.

Edit:  Here’s a few of the headlines you need to be aware of and a table showing the difference in testing…

  • Safety Standard EN 531 has now been replaced by EN ISO 11612 Clothing for heat and flame
  • The standards are targeted at testing finished garments, so now fabric , design specifications and garment features, such as seams have to cmply
  • EN11612 now includes F Code for contact heat
  • Flame spreas for EN 11612 is tested before and after laundry
  • Standard EN 531 used to test only the flame spread after 5 cycles, but with the new standard EN 11612 ALL of the tests are made after 5 laundry cycles
  • Each wash cycle is now followed by drying, so for example, 100 washes goes through 100 dry cycles.  Prior to this the garments were only dried after the final wash
EN 11612 EN531
Heat resistance Dimensional change
Limited flame spread Limited flame spread (A)
Dimensional change Convective heat (B)
Tensile strength Radiant heat  (C)
Tear strength Molten aluminium splash (D)
Burst strength Molten iron splash (E)
Seam strength
Convective heat (B)
Radiant heat (C)
Molten Aluminium splash (D)
Molten iron splash (E)
Contact heat

If you’re still unsure on the new standards please ask us a question via twitter, through the blog or give us a call us on 01635 527301

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This entry was posted in Flame Retardant Clothing and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Keeping up with new standards in protective clothing

  1. how do the new standards affect normal hi-viz clothing like singlets and polo and sweatshirts and the like

    • Hi Brian – Thanks for the comment – Apologies for waiting a year to reply to you! As far as I’m aware, the new FR standards do not affect the existing standard for high visibility clothing (EN471 – set in 2003). The new FR standards only effect the FR properties of a garment so, for example, a high visibility flame retardant coverall would need to match both EN ISO 11612 and EN 471.

  2. Armand says:

    Excellent post but I was wondering if you could write a litte more on this subject?
    I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit further. Cheers!

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