Proud to Protect Canada – Episode 10: AR / FR Labeling Requirements in Canada

As Tyndale extends our managed arc-rated and flame resistant (AR / FR) clothing programs into Canada, we invite you to follow along in our Proud to Protect Canada series. While many of the topics in this series contain Canadian-specific content, there are some topics that are relevant on both sides of the border. We hope you enjoy “meeting” our Canada Team, exploring engaging and relevant content, while learning about our unique solution and the benefits it provides to companies and wearers alike.

In previous episodes of our Proud to Protect Canada series, we reviewed the safety standards governing PPE and protective clothing related to arc flash and flash fire hazards. In Episode 3, we learned that CSA Z462, the Canadian standard governing arc flash protection, is very similar to its US counterpart, NFPA 70E. And in Episode 5, we learned that CGSB 155.20, the Canadian standard governing workwear for protection against flash fire, is very similar to its US counterpart, NFPA 2112. In the video below, Tyndale’s Vice President of Corporate Strategy and Technical, Scott Margolin, and Canada Sales Director, Paul Castelli, discuss how these different standards affect labeling requirements in Canada and the US.

What to look for in garment labels for AR clothing

In Canada and the US, arc-rated (AR) clothing is required to have specific information on its labels to indicate that the clothing complies with industry safety standards. The US standard NFPA 70E and the Canadian standard CSA Z462 both reference ASTM F1506, Standard Performance Specification for Flame Resistant and Electric Arc Rated Protective Clothing Worn by Workers Exposed to Flames and Electric Arcs, for labeling requirements.

In the video, Paul refers to the ATPV, or Arc Thermal Performance Value, as an indicator of the level of protection provided by the clothing. The fabric is tested for Arc Thermal Performance and Energy breakopen threshold (Ebt) according to ASTM Test Method F1959. The lowest value from this testing is indicated as an arc rating on the garment’s label. The arc rating is labeled in calories (cal/cm²), the units of measure used to describe the force of an arc flash. For example, a 21 cal/cm² label indicates that the garment will prevent injury when subjected to an arc flash of 21 cal/cm² or less.

Minimum arc ratings are grouped into PPE categories, often shortened to “Cat” or “CAT” as shown below in order from lowest to the highest level of protection:

  • CAT 1 has a minimum arc rating of 4 cal/cm2
  • CAT 2 has a minimum arc rating of 8 cal/cm2
  • CAT 3 has a minimum arc rating of 25 cal/cm2
  • CAT 4 has a minimum arc rating of 40 cal/cm2
  • CAT 5 has a minimum arc rating of 75 cal/cm2 (CSA Z462 only)

Categories 1 through 4 are identical in both NFPA 70E, primarily used in the US, and CSA Z462, used in Canada. CSA Z462 has an additional Category 5 with a minimum arc rating of 75 cal/cm2. However, this extremely high rating is rarely specified as a requirement for end user wearers.

What to look for in garment labels for flame resistant clothing

NFPA 2112, Standard on Flame-Resistant Clothing for Protection of Industrial Personnel Against Short-Duration Thermal Exposures from Fire is widely used by Canadian companies to specify minimum performance requirements for flame resistant clothing, but some Canadian companies opt to use the Canadian standard, CGSB 155.20 instead. For companies specifying NFPA 2112 compliance, there is no difference as far as labeling is concerned. A garment labeled as compliant with NFPA 2112 is fine on either side of the border.

Other label requirements for AR / FR clothing

In both Canada and the US, AR / FR garments must be clearly labeled as arc-rated and/or flame resistant. Additional information, including the manufacturer, a fabric identifier, and the country of manufacture must also appear on the garment label. The garment’s size and instructions for properly washing and caring for the garment are standard yet essential elements of a garment’s labeling. A means of garment identification must also be included for tracking purposes. As Paul reminds us, the fiber content must also be labeled inside the garment.

AR / FR clothing labels provide essential information to the wearer and safety professionals who specify garments to protect their workers. It’s important to understand the requirements in each situation and choose garments that comply with recognized standards for the identified hazard. While there are some subtle differences in Canadian and US labeling requirements, the vast majority of American-manufactured AR / FR garments are acceptable in Canada both in terms of compliance and labeling.

 

Series: Proud to Protect Canada

Follow along with this series to explore our educational resources for companies and workers based in Canada. You’ll meet the technical and market experts from our Canada team and find everything from the basics on the hazards, to PPE and labeling requirements, a closer look at key safety standards and the hierarchy of standards and regulations in Canada, employer responsibilities under the Canadian Labour Code, and more.

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