ASTM F23 Committee Agrees to Remove ASTM F2302

The ASTM F2302 standard, Standard Performance Specification for Labeling Protective Clothing as Heat and Flame Resistant, has been withdrawn until such a time as the standard could ensure no unsafe products would meet minimum requirements. However, Mary Mikolajewski, staff manager for Committee F23, said the standard was administratively withdrawn.

The ASTM F2302 standard, Standard Performance Specification for Labeling Protective Clothing as Heat and Flame Resistant, was designed to be a minimum standard for labeling flame resistant garments. Originally intended for single-use garments or miscellaneous flame resistance needs with low-level exposures, the misuse of the standard has forced the committee to withdraw it until such a time as the standard could ensure no unsafe products would meet minimum requirements, reports Hugh Hoagland, managing partner of e-Hazard Management LLC and president of ArcWear Inc. of Louisville, Ky.

Rainwear and winter wear, most commonly sold in the northern United States and Canada, repeatedly was being sold into oil and gas and utility applications as FR with the potential devastating results of ignition and melting, even though they met the vertical flame test and oven shrink test required in the standard. To quote the negative that persuaded the committee: "These small scale tests are inadequate to insure worker protection and until this has been accomplished, the standard should be withdrawn," he explained in a Feb. 24 email.

"Some companies sold legitimate arc rated garments additionally labeled with this standard. Those garments would be considered safe. Garments with ASTM F2302 as the stand-alone standard for flame resistance should be suspect for flash fire or arc flash exposures or any exposure other than a small flame for a limited time," Hoagland wrote. "This standard is mentioned in ANSI 107 for high visibility garments. Be aware garments meeting this standard may not be adequate for your exposure and melting materials are especially dangerous. The FR treatment required to pass this standard may not prevent sustained ignition in a flash fire or an arc flash of even a moderate level, and the treatment does not prevent melting of the material, meaning it is not an approved material for OSHA 1910.269 or NFPA 70E exposures."

Editor's note: ASTM on March 21 provided the following statement about this article from Mary Mikolajewski, Staff Manager, Committee F23 on Personal Protective Clothing and Equipment for ASTM International: "This headline and ensuing article misrepresent the actions taken by ASTM International Committee F23 on Personal Protective Clothing and Equipment by suggesting that this standard (F2302: Standard Performance Specification for Labeling Protective Clothing as Heat and Flame Resistant) was withdrawn 'due to misuse.' In fact, the standard was administratively withdrawnin accordance with section 10.6.3 of the Regulations Governing ASTM Technical Committees, which requires that standards shall be updated by the end of the eighth year since the last approval date. This standard did not receive a new approval date by December 31 of the eighth year since the last approval date, so it was withdrawn. Any further questions regarding this committee's operations can be addressed to mmikolajewski@astm.org. Thank you."

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