NFPA 2112, Standard on Flame Resistant Garments for Protection of Industrial Personnel against Flash Fire, has become recognized as the foremost performance standard for flame resistant clothing meant to protect workers from a flash fire hazard. The document details the minimum performance requirements for the thermal protective qualities of flame resistant fabrics and the garments. Since its original issue in 2001, NFPA 2112 has provided authoritative guidelines for manufacturers of flame resistant fabrics and garments.
Interest in compliance with NFPA 2112 increased significantly since the publication of a memo by OSHA in the spring of 2010. Much discussion has gone into the interpretation of the memo and its effect on end users in the oil and gas industry. While OSHA does not mandate compliance with any standards, nationally recognized consensus standards, such as NFPA 2112, are used as evidence of best practices being followed in considering General Duty Clause citations. The mere mention of the NFPA 2112 standard in the memo sparked an immediate response from organizations with employees at risk for exposure to flash fire.
OSHA's general industry standard for personal protective equipment (PPE), 29 CFR 1910.132(a), clearly states that PPE, including protective clothing, shall be provided and used if workplace hazards are identified as part of the required risk assessment. Despite the existence of OSHA regulation on PPE in the workplace, accidents continue to occur in facilities where flash fire is a hazard. Death and injury have been the result in workplace incidents involving explosions, the most notable among these being the Texas City, Anacortes, and Deepwater Horizon accidents.