Just recently, the NFPA came out with their newest revisions to NFPA 2113 – Standard on Selection, Care, Use, and Maintenance of Flame-Resistant Garments for Protection of Industrial Personnel Against Flash Fire. Below I highlight some of the changes.
On the initial review of the 2012 edition of NFPA 2113, it would appear there were simply some wording changes between the 2007 edition and this new one. However, when I did a careful comparison of each section there in fact are some significant changes. The changes seem to fall into four categories; new sections or additional wording to existing sections; the addition of the phrase “range of thermal exposure”; a change or removal of the words “flash fire”; and the removal of the reference to a flash fire duration being typically 3 seconds or less. Statements like “short duration flame exposure” have replaced the previous distinction of 3 seconds or less.
One of the most noticeable changes was the change or removal of the words “flash fire.” For instance, the 2007 Edition reads: ‘Proximity of the work to be performed to a hazard presenting a flash fire potential…’ while the updated 2012 Edition reads: ‘Proximity of the work to be performed to a fire hazard…’ This change is significant because it draws attention to the fact that there are other possible short duration thermal exposures. The committee recognized there is potential for users to encounter different types and ranges of thermal exposures of which flash fire is only one.
The change I feel was most impactful was the removal of the reference to a flash fire duration being three seconds or less. The 2 cal/cm²/sec intensity for 3 seconds (cumulative 6 cal/cm²) is the manikin test method parameters and not necessarily a typical flash fire. The committee felt it is the user’s responsibility to perform a hazard assessment to determine their exposure level, not the standards. Many other variables come into play that can make the cumulative thermal exposure level either higher or lower than the 6 cal/cm² used in the manikin fabric qualification test. Therefore the fabric performance beyond the 3 second/6 cal/cm² test parameters may be important to some.
There are a lot of nuances in the changes, and if anyone would like additional information, feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org