Flash Fire Basics and Innovative Product Solutions

Flash Fire Risk

What is Flash Fire?

Among the many dangers oil and gas workers face, flash fires pose one of the most threatening risks. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) defines flash fire as, “A fire that spreads rapidly through a diffuse fuel, such as dust, gas or the vapors of an ignitable liquid, without production of damaging pressure (1).”

Learn more from this short video from Scott Margolin, Vice President of Technical:

A flash fire is characterized by diffuse fuel, short duration, and a rapidly moving flame front. Flash fires typically last three seconds or less in any single location where a person may be standing because the flame front moves rapidly and consumes the fuel as it moves.

What is Flame Resistant (FR) Clothing?

Flame resistant clothing (or FRC) is apparel that will not ignite and continue to burn after the initial thermal hazard is over. FR fabric self-extinguishes, eliminating the main source of potentially catastrophic or fatal injury (clothes burning against the skin).

FRC also provides thermal protection for the wearer by providing insulation between the hazard and the worker’s skin. Learn more in this short video.

In essence, FRC provides employees at risk of facing flash fire a few seconds of escape time. Non-flame resistant clothing may ignite instantly in a flash fire dramatically increasing the potential and severity of injury. FRC is essential in protecting workers against flash fire in oil and gas occupations.

What Standards Address Flash Fire Hazards?

NFPA developed two standards that relate to flash fire: NFPA 2112 and 2113.

  • NFPA 2112 is the Standard on Flame Resistant Garments for Protection of Industrial Personnel Against Flash Fire.
  • NFPA 2113 is the Standard on Selection, Care, Use and Maintenance of Flame-Resistant Garments for Protection of Industrial Personnel Against Flash Fire.

In 2010, OSHA issued a memo (1910.132) requiring FR clothing to be provided and worn “in oil and gas well drilling and servicing, and production-related operations” to ensure jobsite safety.

In response to these new regulations, Tyndale has outlined three thresholds of garment specifications that would meet the OSHA 1910.132 standard requirements, listed below:

  1. Garments that meet the requirements of NFPA 2112.
  2. Garments made from materials that have been flash fire tested, but do not fully meet the requirements of NFPA 2112.
  3. Garments that meet the ASTM D6413 requirement, but have not been flash fire tested. This would include garments that meet NFPA 70E, ASTM F1506, or can otherwise be demonstrated to exhibit less than two second after-flame and less than 6” or 4” char length in ASTM D6413.

Key test methods like ASTM D6413 and ASTM F1930 are used to measure and ensure flash fire protection.

What is Flash Fire Rated?

When a garment is “flash fire rated,” it has been made from materials that have been flash fire tested according to ASTM F1930 with a three second exposure, and achieves less than 50% predicted body burn. This is the same performance specification as NFPA 2112, and garments that are flash fire rated will provide similar protection to 2112-certified garments.

If you face flash fire hazards in your workplace, Tyndale offers a dynamic mix of products that meet manufacturing and industry standards, and testing criteria for flash fire protection. Tyndale’s solution now includes an extensive selection of flash fire rated items and NFPA 2112 compliant garments under the Tyndale brand and made by other key suppliers. Tyndale’s status as a manufacturer and distributor allows us to offer the most comfortable, innovative and diverse flame resistant product mix in the industry.

If flash fire is a threat in your workplace, contact your National Account Manager to discuss Tyndale’s complete selection of products offering flash fire protection, or visit www.tyndaleusa.com

References for this post were accessed Oct 2013:

(1) http://www.nfpa.org/aboutthecodes/AboutTheCodes.asp?DocNum=2112

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