Welding protection products to be rated by new standard

August 10, 2004

FM Approvals a testing laboratory has introduced Approval Standard 4950, "Welding Pads, Welding Blankets, and Welding Curtains for Hot Work Operations." The standard was developed following a year-long study by FM Approvals' parent company, commercial and industrial property insurer FM Global, that found since 1993, hot-work-related losses have caused, on average, nearly $2 million of property damage and business downtime per incident.

According to the laboratory, hot-work protection products that meet the new standard can help property owners avert potentially crippling losses. The standard groups hot-work protection into three categories—welding pads, welding blankets, and welding curtains—because the different types of hot work operations vary in severity, making it impractical for a manufacturer to produce a universal product for all hot work environments.

To earn approval according to the new standard, products in each category are subjected to a rigorous series of tests, including fire/thermal resistance, charring embrittlement, and accelerated weathering. The standard also requires manufacturers to implement a quality control program and to submit to manufacturing facility inspections as part of the approval certification processes.