I recently returned from the ASTM F23 meeting in Anaheim,CA, on June 14-15.  ASTM F23 is the committee on Protective Clothing.

 Some of the key areas that were discussed at the ASTM F23 meeting include:

The Combustible Dust Task Group met to review an initial draft of a resource guide (work item #WK 33641). The purpose of the guide is to provide assistance in the selection of FR garments for protection against combustible dust deflagration hazards. It would be a reference document showing the various OSHA, NFPA and ASTM regulations, standards and test methods needed to determine what is needed for FR clothing. The draft was reviewed and a variety of comments and suggestions were discussed. The proposed guide is being revised based on the comments and suggestions and will be distributed to those in attendance to make sure the changes were properly recorded. A final draft will then be written for balloting at the next meeting in Atlanta, January 2012.

F23.50 Certification & Interoperability Subcommittee –

This group discussed the need for defining the various levels of certification as there doesn’t seem to be a consistent definition amongst the various standards. As I understand, they will be defining ‘First, Second and Third Party Certification.’ ‘First Party Certification’ is essentially self certifying by a manufacturer; ‘Second
Party Certification’ is certifying based on using another party’s certification data. And ‘Third Party Certification’ is having an outside agency, such as Underwriters Laboratory (UL) do the certification. The Interoperability side of the committee is also looking to define what is truly meant by ‘interoperability.’ Does interoperability mean a glove to a sleeve or a gloved hand to a tool? Comments and suggestions were discussed.

F23.80 Flame and Thermal Hazards-
This subcommittee discussed several test methods which are being developed or proposing changes. They included the WICHR (Water Immersion Compressive Heat Resistance) which is primarily testing areas like knees on turn-out pants, and the Hot Air Circulating Oven tests. Both of these are being reviewed and modified for future balloting.

Other – Another committee that met was ASTM Committee D13 on Textiles. Of particular interest was a group that discussed whether or not there should be changes to the D6413 vertical flame test equipment. Testing data from various test labs show variation in results due to the length of time it takes the actual flame to grow to full height and drop to full off. Variables like the size and length of the gas feed hose can have an impact and this is not specified in the test method. Further evaluations are being conducted to determine what if anything will be done to address this issue if it is determined changes are needed.

-Mark Saner