Liquid chemical splashes

Durable

Protection against chemicals in compliance with EN 13034 type 6: safety or just appearance of safety?

Clothing that provides effective protection against chemicals is an important requirement in many industrial applications. Not only is this protection necessary in the chemical and petrochemical industries, but also in the energy sector, for instance. 

There are countless different types of chemicals in various concentrations and three forms: gas, powder and liquid. And that is precisely the reason for the different types of chemical clothing. Each one has its own standards and requirements:

Classification of chemical clothing:

  • Type 1 Gas-tight chemical protective clothing
  • Type 2 Non gas-tight chemical protective clothing
  • Type 3 Liquid proof chemical protective clothing
  • Type 4 Spray proof chemical protective clothing
  • Type 5 Chemical protective clothing resistant to solid particulates
  • Type 6 Partially splash proof chemical protective clothing

In addition to the use of the various sealed chemical suits, many pieces of clothing are equipped with a FluorCarbon finish and thus comply with the norm EN 13034, type 6: 2005 + A1: 2009. Although the norm clearly states what degree of protection these garments should provide, there is quite a lot of confusion on this. We would like to provide you with greater clarity on the European norm, the degree of protection expected and the material solutions.

  • Protection Level EN 13034, type 6Protection Level EN 13034, type 6

    Liquid chemical splashes

    Risk Assessment Protection Level EN 13034, type 6

    The protection level as stated in EN 13034, type 6: 2005 + A1: 2009 describes the minimum requirements for limited splash-resistant chemical protective clothing. This clothing is ideal where there is a potential risk of exposure to light spray, liquid aerosols or a small number of chemical splashes.

    Test Method EN13034, type 6
    In addition to various durability tests, such as tensile- and tear-strength tests on both fabrics and seams, the chemical resistance is of course also tested. This is done through the repellent properties and the degree of penetration. These tests are carried out as standard using four different chemicals: 

    • Sulphuric acid (H2SO4 30%)
    • Lye (NAOH 10%)
    • Butanol 
    • o-Xylene


    Using a Gutter Test (method in accordance with EN 368, substituted by EN ISO 6530), these chemicals are poured at an angle over the test material. The degree of penetration is then determined by measuring the weight and the degree of repellence. The norm has 3 classes for both factors: 

    Class

    Penetration

    Repellence

    1

    < 10%

    > 80%

    2

    < 5%

    > 90%

    3

    < 1%

    > 95%

  • Safety or the appearance of safety?Safety or the appearance of safety?

    End user TenCate Tecasafe® Plus

    Importantly, just one of the four liquid chemicals is required to meet class 3 for repellence to comply with the norm. For penetration, only one out of four has to achieve class 2. The performance of the other three chemicals is then no longer important to whether or not the EN 13034 norm is being complied with.

    Example:
    Fabric xxx is tested in accordance with EN 13034, type 6: 2005 + A1: 2009 and the result is as follows:

    H2SO4 NaOH O-xylene Butan-1-ol
    Penetration < 10% < 5% < 10% < 10%
    Repellence > 80% > 95% > 80% > 80%

    This fabric can be certified in accordance with EN 13034, type 6: 2005 + A1: 2009, but does not provide enough protection to someone working with the chemicals sulphuric acid, o-Xylene or butanol.  In addition to the fact that clothing tested according to this norm is only suitable for a low risk of limited splashes and that the criteria for obtaining the norm are not particularly high, the four selected chemicals naturally do not cover the dangers of all chemicals and concentrations used across the planet. We therefore always recommend end users test the chemicals used by the company on site. They could of course use the gutter test method, but may also apply a practical test at the workplace. Clothing and fabric suppliers are usually happy to provide assistance. This approach should avoid any nasty surprises when using the clothing.
  • Reapplicatie finishReapplicatie finish
    Industrial washable
    Protective clothing with partial splash resistance is often produced from fabrics with a FluorCarbon finish. These finishes come in various forms, with each having its own specific properties. At present many of these finishes have a limited life expectancy. Each wash reduces the fabric’s effectiveness such that, after an average of four or five washes, its active properties have been largely lost. As the level of protection is then too low in practice, repellency can be reactivated in the industrial laundry (also known as reapplication), This retains the resistant and protective character of the finish. Only a specialized industrial laundry can carry out reapplication. Washing such clothing at home is strongly discouraged.
  • Risk assessmentRisk assessment
    End user TenCate Tecasafe® Plus

    The risk assessment should demonstrate the probability and frequency of chemical splashes. The greater the risk and frequency, the more likely a fabric with chemically resistant fibres will be selected. If the risk is lower or if the chemicals are less aggressive, then the user can better select a fabric with a higher cotton content. But the key objective is always to safeguard the FluorCarbon finish.
TenCate Protective Fabrics - Industrial Safety