For many years, flame-resistant (FR) fabrics have been utilized for secondary protection by various
industries with exposure to ferrous molten metal splatter, such as steel and welding industries. Secondary
protective clothing is defined as “protective clothing for continuous wear during work activities in
designated locations in which intermittent exposure to molten substance splatter, radiant heat and flame
sources is possible.” This can include those working on energized equipment and conductors that have
the potential for the occurrence of an electric arc flash.
There are two critical factors that make FR fabric suitable for this hazard.
1. The fabric must be flame resistant so that it will not ignite and continue to burn.
2. The fabric should demonstrate an ability to shed the molten metal droplets.
Note: While some charring and small hole formation may occur, the flame resistant properties of the fabric
precludes ignition and continued combustion.
Fabric Evaluation:
It is highly recommended that any fabric under consideration be evaluated in the form of “onsite” wear
trials. Because different work environments have different exposure potential, the garments should be
evaluated for applicability for that specific site’s hazard. Protection from second degree burn injury in
molten metal applications is highly dependent on the quantity of metal to which the worker is exposed.
In general, heavier weight fabrics and/or multiple layers will provide better insulation from heat transfer,
but the end user must determine what is most appropriate for their application.
Fabrics suitable for use, as secondary protection in molten metal applications, should be capable of
passing the basic FR flammability test, ASTM D6413 Standard Test Method for Flame Resistance of Textiles
(Vertical Test). Industry standards on what to wear is somewhat limited, but ANSI Z49 “Safety in Welding,
Cutting and Allied Processes” provides some guidelines for those engaging in these specific activities. | 1.800.521.1888