The 2012 Edition of NFPA 70E has been published and there are a large number of changes. There are a few key changes related to arc flash protective apparel.

The three most notable are:

  1. First the terms Arc Rated & AR have replaced Flame-Resistant & FR. This is an attempt to prevent the use of garments using fabrics that use the term FR but have not actually been tested to establish an arc rating. This was done because there are flame-resistance tests used for products like draperies that are not suitable of arc protection but have been sold as “FR.” Users therefore assumed they provide protection against electric arc flashes. The change does not require a garment be labeled as AR versus FR but does require the garment to have been arc tested and adhere to ASTM F1506 which requires it to be labeled with the arc rating (cal/cm² or EBT.)
  2. Second is the consolidation of Hazard Risk Categories 2 and 2*. By doing this, HRC 2 now requires the use of either an arc rated wrap-around face shield and arc rated balaclava, or an arc rated flash suit hood. Previously only an arc rated face shield was required. This was done to provide full head protection. With the face shield alone the sides and back of the head were not protected.
  3. The standard now states that flammable synthetic fabrics, zipper tape and findings shall not be used. Previously it only referred to synthetic fabrics, not findings. This was done to specifically address the use of none FR zipper tape and other findings that could fail in an arc flash event.

Below are the various changes related to protective apparel by section:




100 (I) Definitions -Arc

The definition was
expanded. In particular,
a note was added to
state that
flame-resistant clothing
without an arc rating
has not been tested for
arc exposure. Also the
term arc rated or AR has
replaced all the
previous references to
flame-resistant and FR.

The committee wanted to
differentiate between
fabrics that had been FR
tested to a standard not
related to arc flash
protective clothing
(e.g. drapery or
upholstery). Fabrics
meeting these standards
are also called
flame-resistant but are
not suitable for arc
flash protection.

110.2(D)(3) Retraining

Employee retraining is
now required to be
performed at intervals
not to exceed 3 years.

Adding a time period was
done to make sure
employees have been
trained to a current
edition of 70E since the
standard does change.

110.3(F) Hazard
Identification and Risk
Assessment Procedure

“Identification and
Assessment” were added
to the title. The text
now requires a hazard
identification and risk
assessment as part of
the procedure before
work is started within
the limited approach
boundary or arc flash

The committee felt there
is more than simply
identifying the
potential incident
energy numbers.

110.3(H)(1) Electrical
Safety Program

Safety program audits
are now required to be
performed at intervals
not to exceed 3 years.

Adding a time period was
done to make sure safety
programs keep up with
changes to the standard.

130.5(A) Arc Flash

The arc flash boundary
at 50 volts and greater
is the distance at which
the incident energy
equals1.2 cal/cm².
Previously 50 volts to
600 volts was 4 feet and
over 600 volts was the
1.2 cal/cm² distance.

The committee recognized
that there can be
situations when an arc
flash boundary of 4 feet
may not be suitable even
between 50 & 600 volts.

130.5(C) Equipment

The equipment labeling
requirement was expanded
to include the option of
labeling with the
minimum arc rating of
clothing or highest HRC
category. Plus, the
requirement includes
listing the nominal
system voltage and the
arc flash boundary.

Having the clothing
requirement on the label
makes it easier for
employees to know if
they have on the proper
level of arc protective
clothing without knowing
the tables or hazard
analysis data.

130.7(C)(5) Hearing

The requirement to wear
hearing protection
within the arc flash
boundary was added.

It was felt hearing
protection was also

130.7(C)(9) Factors for
Selection of Protective

The section allows for
wearing of flammable
clothing but the
sentence “Garments that
are not arc rated shall
not be permitted to be
used to increase the arc
rating of a garment or
of a clothing system”
was added.

This is not actually new
but it is now
specifically stated in
the text. The committee
wanted to be clear that
only arc rated clothing
can be counted. One
example of why is, if
the outer layer of a 2
piece system rated at 25
calories breaks open at
20 calories the inner
layer could ignite if it
is not arc rated.

130.7(C)(9)(a) Layering

The layering paragraph
also added the wording
above about flammable
clothing that is not arc

Same as above.

130.7(C)10 Arc Flash
Protection Equipment

Section (b) Head
Protection was added. It
includes sections: 1. An
arc rated balaclava
shall be used with an
arc rated faceshield
when the back of the
head is within the arc
flash boundary. An arc
rated hood shall be
permitted to be used
instead of an arc rated
faceshield and

2. An arc rated hood
shall be used when the
anticipated incident
energy exposure exceeds
12 cal/cm².

Full head protection was
determined to be needed
since the back of the
head can be inside the
flash protection
boundary and can be
subject to exposure to
the arc flash. The
balaclava & faceshield
option was added as a
more comfortable
alternative to the hood.

130.7(C)11 Clothing
Material Characteristics

The paragraph stating
that clothing made from
synthetic materials that
melt at 600°F was
expanded to specifically
spell out fabrics,
zipper tapes, and
findings. Previously it
was just fabrics.

They got more specific
in the wording to keep
manufacturers from
shortcutting for cost
reasons and failure of
these components can be

130.7(C)(15)(a) Task

Previously the task
tables included both an
HRC 2 and an HRC 2*
category. HRC 2 required
a faceshield and HRC 2*
required a flash suit
hood. HRC 2* has been
removed and now HRC 2
requires the use of an
arc rated balaclava &
faceshield combination
or a flash suit hood.

This is to go along with
the head protection
section above.

Annex H Guidance on
Selection of Protective
Clothing and Other
Personal Protective

Annex H was expanded to
not only reference the
simplified two-category
system of 8 and 40
cal/cm², but it now
provides a table for
when a hazard analysis
is performed rather than
using the Task Tables.
This table lists all the
clothing and PPE needed
for three categories of
exposure (≤ 1.2 cal/cm²,
>1.2 to 12 cal/cm², and
>12 cal/cm². All of the
clothing and PPE must
meet or exceed the
incident energy exposure
determined from the

This was expanded to be
more detailed and to
also address those that
do the analysis rather
than use the tables.


There may be questions or confusion about whether or not an FR garment is suitable since NFPA 70E now uses the term AR. The bottom line is a garment labeled FR, made from a fabric that has been arc tested and is labeled with an arc rating (ATPV or EBT), is considered an arc rated/AR garment. Plus the fabric must be FR using the vertical flame test, ASTM D6413, in order to meet ASTM F1506, which is required by 70E, not any other flammability test. Bottom line: garments that have not been arc tested will not have an arc rating and are therefore not AR.

It is likely there will be increased use of arc rated FR balaclavas & face shields or hoods, as it is now a requirement to have full head protection for all HRC 2 tasks.

Lastly, there should be a reduction in the use of non-FR components like zipper tape, although there is no enforcement arm of NFPA and no third party certification requirement.

Make sure the garments have an arc rating and are constructed with all FR components. And make sure you wear your arc rated face shield and balaclava.

NFPA 2112 – New 2012 Edition, What Changed?

The 2012 Edition of the NFPA 2112 standard was recently published and featured a number of changed. The changes made to NFPA 2112 were primarily done to clarify certain areas, add information in areas not previously covered and to keep some of the terminology in line with NFPA 2113 changes.

What is NFPA 2112?

NFPA 2112 is the Standard on Flame-Resistant Garments for Protection of Industrial Personnel Against Flash Fire. This standard outlines the various performance requirements and testing methods for both the FR fabric and FR garments that are needed to be considered in compliance with the standard. It also includes proper labeling and quality control requirements for the FR manufacturers. This is the standard most recognized in the flash fire industry and compliance with it is typically asked for by end users. Although meeting the performance requirements of NFPA 2112 is important, NFPA 2113 is needed to determine what kind of FR you should consider.

What is NFPA 2113?

NFPA 2113 is the Standard on Selection, Care, Use, and Maintenance of Flame-Resistant Garments for Protection of Industrial Personnel Against Flash Fire. This standard goes into all the aspects listed in the title but most importantly it goes into detail about how to Select an FR garment that is appropriate for the user’s application. Although 2113 comes numerically after 2112 it is in fact the first standard that should be reviewed prior to making an FR clothing decision.

The chapter on selection reviews the first and probably the most important step which is conducting a hazard assessment. The hazard assessment determines both the existence of a hazard requiring FR clothing as well as the level of protection needed.

NFPA 2113 does require that FR garments meet NFPA 2112 as the minimum requirement, but the hazard assessment is truly what is needed to determine what type of FR fabric and garments are truly needed.

So what changed in NFPA 2112?

The changes seem to fall into five categories:

1. The addition of the phrase “short-duration thermal exposure”

2. New sections on cold weather insulation materials

3. Clarification of zipper materials

4. More specificity on what is included in the manikin test

5. A change from TPP to HTP

Category 1 – Adding “short-duration thermal exposure


2007 Edition

2012 Edition

1.2.1 Purpose

This standard shall provide minimum requirements for the
design … reducing the
severity of burn
injuries resulting from
accidental exposure to
hydrocarbon flash fires.

This standard shall provide minimum requirements for the
design … reducing the
severity of burn
injuries resulting from
short-duration thermal
exposures or accidental
exposure to flash fires.

A.1.2.1 Purpose

Users are cautioned that flammable clothing can contribute
to the severity of burn
injuries through their
ignition and continued
burning after exposure
to flash fire.

Additional wording – “Short-duration thermal exposures can
arise from other fire
types in industrial
environments. These
include, but are not
limited to, jet flames,
liquid fires (pool fires
or running liquid
fires), solids fires
(fires of solid
materials or dust
fires), warehouse fires,
and fires associated
with oxygen.”

This phrase was added because some feel NFPA 2112 should be for fabrics and garments to protect against various thermal exposures and not just a 3 second flash fire. Plus there are thermal exposures other than just the initial flash fire that wearers could encounter during and after the initial event.

Category 2 – Cold weather insulation materials


2007 Edition

2012 Edition

Definition 3.3.6 Cold Weather Insulation Materials


A fabric that consists of one or more non-separable layers
that is used for
protection in a

Fabric Requirements Thermal Shrinkage


Cold weather insulation materials utilized in the
construction of
flame-resistant garments
shall be tested in
accordance with Section
8.4 and shall not shrink
more than 20 percent in
any direction.

Fabric Requirements Manikin Test


Garments consisting of separable layers, such as a removable
cold weather insulation
material layer, that are
intended to be worn
together or separately
shall be tested in all
wearable configurations
identified by the

Test Methods Heat and Thermal Shrinkage Resistance
Test (cold weather
insulation materials)


Measurements of cold weather insulation material thermal
shrinkage shall be made
on the side of the
fabric facing the wearer
as used in the
construction of the

A.3.3.6 Cold Weather Insulation Materials


Examples of insulation materials are textile batting(s)
alone or batting(s) that
are attached to a face
cloth. For example, an
insulation material
consisting of two layers
are considered
non-separable by the
attachment that combines
the two layers. Cold
weather insulation
material as defined in
this standard does not
preclude the use of
intermediate layers for
additional protection
against thermal hazards.

Added to address questions about what is considered cold weather insulation, how they should perform relative to thermal shrinkage and how to test the insulation materials used in cold weather garments.

Category 3Clarification of zipper material requirements


2007 Edition

2012 Edition

Design Requirements 6.3 Slide Fastener Tape Requirements


All slide fastener tape utilized in the construction of the
flame-resistant garments
shall be made of an
flame-resistant fiber.

This section was added to make sure non-FR zipper tape was not used as it could pose a risk to the wearer if ignited.

Category 4 – Manikin Test Body Burn Details


2007 Edition

2012 Edition

Fabric Requirements 7.1.5 Body Burn

Specimen garments shall be tested for overall flash fire
exposure as specified…
and shall have an
average predicted body
burn rating of not more
than 50.

Specimen garments shall be tested for overall flash fire
exposure as specified…
and shall have an
average predicted body
burn rating of not more
than 50 percent based on
the total surface area
covered by sensors,
excluding hands and

Test Methods Manikin Test Procedure

The percent total body burn for each specimen shall be
reported as the body
burn rating

The predicted percent body burn based on the total surface
area covered by the
sensors, excluding hands
and feet, for each
specimen shall be

These changes clarify that only the area covered by the garment, which excludes the hands and feet, are the areas used to determine the body burn percentage. Plus the word predicted was added to the procedure statement; and the word rating was removed as it is not a rating but simply a reported result of the test.

Category 4 – HTP (heat transfer performance) replaced TPP (thermal protective performance)


2007 Edition

2012 Edition

Fabric Requirements 7.1.1 HTP

Fabric utilized in the construction of flame-resistant
garments shall be tested
for thermal protective
performance (TPP) …

Fabric utilized in the construction of flame-resistant
garments shall be tested
for heat transfer
performance (HTP) …

Test Methods 8.2

Thermal Protective Performance (TPP) Test

Heat Transfer Performance (HTP) Test


The testing method was changed from the NFPA 2112 TTP test method to the ASTM F2700 HTP test method. The HTP test method is considered a more uniform and consistent method. The requirements remain at 6 cal/cm² spaced and 3 cal/cm² in contact.

What is significant about these changes to NFPA 2112?

1.      The insertion of “short duration thermal exposure” is the start of addressing the controversy over the position that a 3 second or less flash fire is the primary hazard because that is the duration of the manikin test. Some feel NFPA 2112 should be for fabrics and garments to protect against various thermal exposures and not just a 3 second flash fire. NFPA 2113 now includes the phrase “range of thermal exposures” and removed the phrase “flash fire” and “typically 3 seconds or less” to push users to perform a hazard assessment and not assume their only exposure was a 3 second or less flash fire just because the manikin test results are measured after 3 seconds.

2.      The other important change was the requirement for zipper tapes to be made of FR material. Prior to this change zipper tape was not specifically called out and therefore manufacturers could slide by using less costly non-FR tape.

3.      The body burn details spelling out the exclusion of hands and feet, was not a change but simply an addition to let readers know those areas may have exposure but are not counted in the results. The feet are not particularly an issue as workers typically have on leather work boots which provide protection. The hands could be an issue as workers may not have any hand protection or their gloves could be ignitable.

4.      The addition of cold weather materials was added to clarify how they are tested.

Lastly the change from TPP to HTP has no particular impact on Workrite garments.