Flash Fire, Arc Flash, and Understanding FR Standards

Flash Fire, Arc Flash, and Understanding FR Standards


Did you know? According to the OHSA, arc flash burns are among the three most frequent hazards when working with electrical equipment.

To avoid accidents, you have to understand the hazards, where they come from, and how to protect yourself or your workers against them with the help of training, proper equipment maintenance, safety procedures and the right PPE.

What is a flash fire?

The Canadian General Standards Board Publications (CGSB) defines it as a fire that spreads rapidly through a diffuse fuel-air mixture without the production of damaging pressure. It is a sudden and intense fire that is characterized by high temperature and a quickly moving flame.

Flash fires are a major threat in the petrochemical, chemical, and oil and gas industries because of the dangerous fuels, vapors, or ignitable liquid found on-site.

Wearing non-FR-clothing while performing tasks in such conditions could potentially worsen workers’ injuries since the clothing could add fuel that ignites flash fires.

What is an arc flash?

The CSA Z462-2018 standard defines an arc flash hazard as a source of possible injury or damage to health associated with the release of energy caused by an electric arc.

An electric arc is the electrical breakdown of a gas that produces a continuous discharge, resulting from a current through normally nonconductive media such as air.

An arc flash is a light and heat produced from an electric arc supplied with enough electrical energy to cause significant damage, harm, fire, or injury.

Understanding FR standards

The CGSB 155.20-2017 – Workwear for protection against hydrocarbon flash fire and optionally steam and hot fluids is the Canadian national standard covering the testing, performance, and certification of flame-resistant garments.

Testing for layer garments includes:

  • Flammability (as received and after 50 washes)
  • Thermal protective performance
  • Heat resistance and thermal shrinkage
  • Manikin test
  • Leak and water resistance
  • Steam and hot fluid resistance

Good to know:

  • All components of the protective clothing must meet the CGSB155.20-2017 standard (not only the outer shell).
  • Fabrics, components, and garments must be independently tested and audited by an independent certification agency.

Dress for success

Over the last few years, the Pioneer team has made tremendous changes to their fire-resistant line of products to bring it in alignment with market needs.

Certified to the latest FR standards, the FR-Tech™® 7 oz. coveralls feature:

  • An FR woven blend of 88% premium cotton and 12% high-tenacity nylon
  • Manikin tested to ASTM F1930 to meet the specifications outlined in NFPA 2112-18 and CGSB 155.20-2017
  • An ATPV test results of 10 cal/cm2 (ARC 2), the best in the industry
  • Retains the strength of FR and arc flash properties even after 100 washes
  • Its high-visibility trim is made from inherently branded aramid FR fiber
  • Independently tested and certified by UL to meet North American standards
  • All components, including zippers, reflective tape, thread, and fasteners are tested to FR standards and certified by UL
  • Flame resistance is guaranteed for the life of the garment

Shop your FR-Tech Coverall now!