Flame resistance and gloves—what you need to know about NFPA 2112 and 2113 standards
By Eric Key, associate investigator at DuPont, and Jeff Hanks, senior research associate for DuPont Personal Protection.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 2112 standard has been relied on for years by oil and gas workers to ensure their gear provides the necessary protection for fire safety performance. In 2018, this standard was updated to extend the specifications to include industrial flash fire protection for the worker’s gloves.
NFPA 2113 was also modified in 2020 to include for the first time, hazard assessment, care & maintenance, and selection of hand protection. This modification was made to ensure the safety of workers in industries such as oil & gas, chemical, manufacturing and transportation by having an NFPA 2112 compliant glove available to them.
To pass these standards, a glove and its components must meet three essential and rigorous tests:
Flame resistance test
This is a bench scale test that determines a material’s resistance to a flame exposure and predicts a material’s flammability resistance. The test is performed utilizing a flame from a laboratory burner. A section of the material to be tested is suspended above the flame, exposing the outside surface of the material to the flame for a prescribed 12 seconds. In addition to not catching fire, the material must sustain less than 5% weight loss after exposure. The diagram below shows how the test is set up.
High-temperature melt resistance/shrinkage resistance test
This test simulates the heat that would be seen in a flash fire event and the ability of the glove to resist melting of any of its components, as well as the overall shrinkage of the glove material. For this test, a glove is filled with a prescribed amount of glass beads to simulate the presence of a hand within the glove. The filled glove is then placed into a 260°C (500°F) oven for five minutes. After the oven exposure, the glove is examined to determine if any components melted or fused, and if the shrinkage in the length or width of the glove exceeds 10%. The amount of shrinkage is an important factor because a glove with excessive shrinkage would be difficult—if not impossible—to remove after an exposure event.
Heat transfer performance test
This test determines a glove’s ability to block convective and radiant heat transmission to avoid burn injury during a flash fire event. The test consists of a heat flux sensor that is placed on the backside of the glove material, which is positioned over a heat source consisting of two propane burners and a 9-bulb quartz infrared heat lamp assembly. The test collects heat transfer data during the exposure and uses this data (using the Stoll burn curve) to determine when a user would experience a second-degree burn. The test is the same as that used in NFPA 2112 rated garments. To pass this test, the glove must be able to prevent a second-degree burn during the projected exposure from a flash fire event.
Matching your glove to an FR hazard with NFPA 2112 and 2113 standards
If you have identified a flame-resistant (FR) hazard in your workplace, your glove should match the FR hazard.
The recent updates to NFPA 2112 and 2113 standards to include gloves for industrial flash fire protection is paving the way for new technological advancements in the FR glove space. Soon, we will begin to see more glove solutions become available that not only address cut hazards, but FR hazards as well.
Some gloves are designated as flame resistant but don’t necessarily meet the standard. Therefore, it will be more important than ever to ensure that any claims about FR protection in gloves are vetted and accurate according to the specifications in the standard. You can do this by:
If you have any questions regarding these standards or PPE, don’t hesitate to contact us to get help from one of our DuPont experts.