American National Standard for Classification of Insulating Apparel Used in Cold Work Environments
The contribution of clothing to maintain consistent comfortable temperatures for the wearer is an important factor in productivity, endurance and safety in performing a given activity. In cold weather particularly, a clothing ensemble must provide the required level of insulation for the comfort and protection of the wearer in the exposure environment. The clothing must maintain the level of “as new” performance reasonably throughout its expected useful lifetime.
American National Standard for Classification of Insulating Apparel Used in Cold Work Environments (ANSI/ISEA 201-2012) is a new, voluntary consensus industry standard that serves as a tool for rating insulative garments to assist wearers and protective apparel purchasers and specifiers in selecting clothing that meets their needs.
Manufacturers will test a garment’s insulating value after a specified number of washing or dry cleaning cycles, and assign a thermal performance category based on the results. The intrinsic insulating value is expressed in clo. One clo is the insulation needed to maintain body temperature for a person seated in a 70-degree F room, roughly equivalent to a business suit. This information is included on a garment label designed to inform the user how the garment will perform at various levels of exertion, and how it is expected retain its insulating properties over time.
In addition to a garment’s thermal performance and wash durability, other aspects related to environmental conditions and wearer comfort considerations may contribute to selecting appropriate insulating apparel and are discussed in the appendix. Examples of garment configurations within the six performance categories are given in the appendix as well:
• Performance Category 1: Apparel in this category can serve as an outermost layer in mild conditions or as insulating inner layers in more extreme conditions. Typical examples would include: 1) a shell garment with a fabric liner, 2) a thin fleece garment, 3) heavy sweatshirt, etc.
• Performance Category 2-4: Apparel in these categories would include, but would not be restricted to, medium to heavy weight outerwear and typically would include an insulated lining (either removable or fixed). Examples may include insulated jackets, coveralls, and parkas.
• Performance Category 5-6: Apparel in this category would typically encompass heavily insulated apparel items that typically cover both the torso and legs, and which is intended for long exposure durations and/or extremely low environmental temperatures (e.g., heavy winter parkas, insulated pants, freezer wear coveralls, expedition suits, etc.).
Forms included in the standard to report laundering results and thermal classification, as well as the compliance certificate format, are available online.
American National Standard for Classification of Insulating Apparel Used in Cold Work Environments (ANSI/ISEA 201-2012) can be purchased from ISEA for $30 a copy; discounts are available on bulk orders. For more information, contact Cristine Z. Fargo, ISEA director of member and technical services.
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