Choosing Thermal Insulating Apparel – The New ANSI/ISEA 201-2012 Standard

A new national standard, approved in the spring of 2012, will assist in the choice of thermal insulating apparel to keep workers protected from harsh cold weather conditions.

The American National Standard for Classification of Insulating Apparel Used in Cold Work Environments (ANSI/ISEA 201-2012) classifies a garment based on its material’s ability to keep workers warm in low temperatures and to retain such protection throughout its extended life.

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 and is roughly equivalent to a business suit.

The thermal performance category and corresponding temperature range will be displayed on the garment’s label, along with a durability classification to show how many laundering cycles were performed before testing. These figures are designed to inform the user how the garment will perform at various levels of exertion, and how well it is expected to retain its insulating properties over time.

The standard also includes guidelines for selection of thermal insulating apparel, to give specifiers, purchasers and users a way to evaluate garments based on environmental conditions, work being performed and other factors such as the need for dexterity and mobility.

The standard was developed by the International Safety Equipment Association’s Protective Apparel Group and was approved by key stakeholders representing testing laboratories, product suppliers, users, university researchers and government agencies. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) recognizes the ISEA standard as an American National Standard.

3M, with more than 40 years of experience in the science of warmth, has prepared a how-to guide for understanding the standard. This infographic includes charts outlining the different insulating values, cleaning and thermal performance categories that help the user see how different garments will perform at various levels of exertion and how well they are expected to retain their insulting properties over time.

For more information on the standard go to:

3M’s infographic can be found at:

For news regarding 3M Thinsulate’s developments, visit: Content Partner Info:

Originally Published in Industrial Hygiene News

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