Rating Explanations for Flame Resistant Clothing

Flame Resistant Clothing

If you’ve been told you need to buy flame resistant clothing for your job and you’re now in the market for fr shirts for men, it’s essential that you understand the rating system that determines the level of protection these garments have. After all, you don’t want to purchase something only to discover it doesn’t meet the guidelines for your employer. Plus, learning about the flame resistant clothing rating system will make you a more educated shopper as well.

The Rating System

There are essentially two rating systems that go into developing the right flame resistant clothing protection level. The first is known as the Arc Thermal Protective Value and is often shortened as ATPV or the Arc rating. This is the flame resistant rating of the actual fabric that is used to make the article of clothing. It is determined by calculating the maximum incident energy the clothing can be exposed to for the prevention of second-degree burns. The higher the rating number on a scale of 0 to 40, the more energy the clothing can protect you from.

The second rating system used to make sure the proper flame resistant clothing is worn for specific jobs is called the Hazard/Risk Category or HRC rating. There are four HRCs, with HRC 1 being the least hazardous and HRC 4 being the most hazardous. In HRC 1 jobs, the flame resistant clothing requirement is to have an Arc rating of between four and seven. HRC 2 jobs require an Arc rating of between eight and 24 and HRC 3 jobs require an Arc rating of between 25 and 39. If you have an HRC 4 job, you must have clothing with an Arc rating of 40 or higher.

Common Types of Clothing at Each Arc and HRC Level

While the types of clothing that you wear for your job should be discussed with your employer, there are some types of clothing that are common for employees that work at each HRC level. You should always check the Arc rating of any clothing you purchase to ensure it meets the HRC standards because not all articles of clothing are rated the same, even if they are made out of the same material. Additionally, a hard hat, ear protection, and eye protection are required for all HRC levels. 

HRC 1 (Arc Rating of 4-7)

  • Cotton undergarments
  • Arc rated Long sleeved shirt 
  • Arc rated Long pants or overalls
  • Leather or insulating gloves
  • Leather shoes
  • Single layer of Arc rated clothing is required

HRC 2 (Arc Rating of 8-24)

  • Arc rated cotton undergarments
  • Arc rated short sleeved shirt
  • Arc rated Arc flash hood or hard hat
  • Arc rated face shield
  • Arc rated coveralls or arc rated jacket and bib
  • Arc rated leather gloves
  • Leather shoes
  • 2-3 layers of Arc rated clothing is required

HRC 3 (Arc Rating of 25-39)

  • Higher arc rated cotton undergarments
  • Higher Arc rated short sleeved shirt
  • Higher arc rated flash hood with coveralls or higher arc rated jacket and bib
  • Higher arc rated leather gloves
  • Leather shoes
  • 2-3 layers of higher Arc rated clothing is required

HRC 4 (Arc Rating of 40 or Higher)

  • Same as HRC 3 only:
    • All clothing must be rated 40 or higher on the Arc scale
    • 3-4 layers of Arc rated clothing is required

Working in a dangerous profession is already difficult without worrying if your clothing could cause you even more distress if a fire breaks out. Protect yourself by making sure your clothes meet the minimum flame resistant requirements of your profession and work with added peace of mind.

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