The NFPA 2112 Flame-Resistant (FR) garment standard has been around since 2002, but seems to have to come under greater scrutiny over the past couple of years. More and more employers, in the oil and gas industry in particular, have looked for garments that not only meet the performance requirements of NFPA 2112 but are also certified to it. This certification is performed by an independent third party organization, like Underwriters Laboratory (UL), as is required by the standard. In addition, OSHA safety inspections in this industry have been on the rise, which has lead to a sharp increase in the use of FR garments as another piece of personal protective equipment (PPE) required by OSHA, for certain job categories. OSHA doesn’t specifically require NPFA 2112 certified garments, but many Safety Managers in the industry seem to have decided that having a certified garment makes their life easier, and will hopefully make safety inspection go more smoothly.
So what does it mean to have an NFPA 2112 certified garment? This additional certification at the garment level guarantees that, not only is the fabric certified, but the garments itself has been certified as a whole finished product. It goes beyond just certified fabric to include thread, zipper tape – all the items that make up the garment. It also requires an ongoing audit for all the garment manufacturing facilities to verify there is a quality control process in place to make sure all the garments are manufactured as certified. This process gives the Safety Manager, and possibly the OSHA inspectors, confidence and trust that every garment they order meets all the requirements of the standard.
With that said, how does a Safety Manager ensure that the garments being worn by their employees on the work-site are in fact certified to NFPA 2112? The only labeling requirement of the standard is to place a specifically worded label somewhere on the garment. This label is typically sewn on the inside of the garment, which doesn’t make it convenient to identify when in use. To provide easier identification, Workrite recently started taking the extra step of placing an additional external label onto the outside of the certified garment, for a quick visual reference. This new, easily seen, “NFPA 2112” external label guarantees that the garment is certified to the stringent requirements of this safety standard. At a quick glance, the Safety Manager and an OSHA inspector can see workers are wearing the proper garment.
It’s up to the Safety Manager to decide if a NFPA 2112 certified garment is required. But once that decision is made, providing a certified garment with at-a-glance identification will certainly make the Safety Managers task of compliance monitoring quick and easy. This is an opportunity to help Safety Managers get the FR garments they want and need, plus help them with OSHA inspections, so they can move on to their many other responsibilities.