Your Safety Shouldn’t be a Guessing Game
Tests for FR Clothing are conducted to determine the true protection value of your personal protective equipment (PPE). Testing fabrics and finished garments for an arc-flash determines the Arc Thermal Performance Value – or ATPV.
Arc Thermal Performance Value (ATPV)
ATPV measures the calories of energy or heat per square centimeter needed to burn or melt the fabric. 1 calorie per square centimeter is roughly equivalent to holding a lighter next to the fabric for one second.
ATPV is broken down into categories. The FR CAT rating for flame-resistance is used to identify levels of risk and the appropriate FR clothing needed to reduce the risk of injury when performing certain tasks. These categories begin at Level 1, and go up to Level 4.
FR Clothing CAT Rating
CAT 1 FR has an ATPV between 0 and 8 calories per square centimeter of flame-resistance. CAT 2 FR has an ATPV between 8 and 25. CAT 3 FR has an ATPV between 25 and 40. And CAT 4 FR is any piece of FR clothing or fabric above 40 calories per square centimeter. Generally, FR clothing must be at least CAT 2 to be compliant with workplace standards.
Tests for ATPV are generally conducted on single layer garments or swatches of flame-resistant fabric. However, FR clothing is rarely worn in this manner. We typically wear clothing in layers. Whether it be underwear beneath your FR pants, an FR shirt beneath your FR sweatshirt, or your FR sweatshirt beneath your FR jacket – you’re constantly wearing FR clothes in multiple layers and a variety of combinations. While we know that the ATPV will increase when wearing multiple layers, we cannot determine the true value – because you cannot simply take a sum of the individual values. The only way to determine the true ATPV when worn in different combinations – is to test them.
Layer Testing your FR Clothing
Layer tests identify the ATPV of two, three, or more fabrics when pieced together. Because people often wear their FR clothing in many layers – especially during the colder months – it’s critical to be aware of the true level of protection being provided by the FR clothing. Wearing proper PPE and being aware of the true value of your garments reduces risk, resulting in fewer workplace incidents.
Because we only use our proprietary fabrics to manufacture our FR clothing, MWG has begun the process to determine the ATPV and FR CAT rating for the different combinations in our collection. With the safety of each and every person in mind, we have set out to provide the most comprehensive range of testing to each and every customer.
We conduct the majority of our tests at Aitex, the leading technology center in Spain. The process of layer testing can be long because there are so many unique combinations worn on a daily basis. We carry over 50 styles of FR clothing, all of which are worn in various combinations. To complete tests for each combination is a long and challenging process.
Soon – MWG will be the only manufacturer of FR Clothing to have their entire collection layer tested for ATPV. In doing so, MWG will be able to offer true values for protection for every combination. Workers will have full confidence in the performance of their kit, and employers will have the documentation to ensure accuracy.
With our aim to be the most comprehensive manufacturer and supplier of safety apparel in the market, layer testing for arc-flash is a necessary step.
Detailed reports of layer tests are available upon request.