Month: December 2020
Flame-resistant or FR clothing is the type of clothing that has been designed & is specifically manufactured to protect wearers from potential intermittent flames & thermal exposure. Furthermore, flame resistant clothing is engineered to protect the wearer from any kind of injury that can be caused due to flames. This kind of clothing item doesn’t easily catch fire & even if they do, they are designed to self-extinguish.
When it comes to buying flame-resistant clothing, certain points need to be kept in mind. Below we have stated the three most important questions that you must consider before buying FR clothing.
How should FR clothing fit?
When it comes to FR clothing, the thumb rule is that a looser fit will provide more protection. When a garment is loose in fit, there’s an added layer of air between you & the garment, which provides extra insulation against the heat/flames that you may encounter while wearing it. If you wear a skin fitted flame-resistant garment, the flames will almost be directly up against your skin. Thus, it is safer to allow this air cushion between your skin & the fabric.
However, this doesn’t imply that you need to buy the baggiest & loosest-fitting clothing you can find. While this may initially look like a good idea, it will most likely lead to a disaster. It is important to remember that baggy clothing can easily snag on surrounding objects & hazards, trapping & leaving you immobile, or ripping & leaving you vulnerable to environmental hazards. Therefore, the best solution is to find an in-between fit and ensure that your FR clothing is neither skin fitted nor baggy. It should have a slightly loose fit, but make sure it doesn’t hang off your body so much that it’s at risk for catching on nearby objects.
Are there specific designs for women?
Some flame resistant clothing manufacturers make specific design for women workers, while others may not. So, if you’re a woman, it would be better to look for women-specific FR clothing. However, the purpose of this flame-resistant women’s workwear remains the same as the general FR clothing, which is to provide protection against flames; the only advantage is you will easily find your size. Since you need to buy a slightly loose-fitting nature of these garments, this sometimes makes it difficult to find the right size for women; thus, it is better to look for women-specific FR clothing.
What should I look for?
Your employer/company will provide you the specific instructions about what you need to buy in most cases. For example, they’ll tell you whether you need primary or secondary protection for your task. They’ll also tell you which specific garment you should buy & wear.
Another important factor to consider is a good fit, as mentioned above. But while buying FR clothing that is loose-fitting, make sure to leave room for the clothes to shrink slightly without being excessively baggy.
In addition to this, be a little aware of the manufacturer you choose to buy from. Every manufacturer usually has a different selection of fabrics & styles. The clothing quality may vary from one manufacturer to another, as well as factors like price, various guarantees & the quality-control process. Take all these aspects into account before making the final decision about the manufacturer and the garment.
When you are at your worksite, every precaution must be taken to ensure your & others’ safety. While proper training & hazard assessments go a long way in this context, there are still chances of accidents & certain unavoidable hazards. Thus, working in a dangerous work environment makes it imperative to take all the necessary precautions to ensure everyones’ safety.
Perhaps most risky are the jobs where workers face several kinds of hazards all at once. For instance, a worker working in a position that involves the risk of flash & fire with poor visibility is prone to multiple dangers. It’s not possible for anyone to look over their shoulders for oncoming motor vehicles while welding or fixing an electrical wire. Instead, these workers need a unique combination of flame-resistant (FR) high-visibility protective clothing that can serve both purposes.
Read on to understand the importance of hi-vis flame resistant clothing and its performance class.
Importance of Hi-Visibility FR Clothing
People working in an environment such as utility and oil & gas industries where there’s a risk of fire and explosion need to follow FR clothing norms to ensure workers’ safety. Flame-resistant clothing is vital as it effectively reduces the risk of injury from flash fire, arc flash, and open flame hazards. Flame-resistant clothing is specifically designed to works as a self-extinguisher when exposed to flame, reducing the extent of burns & providing workers a chance to escape. The material of this clothing doesn’t melt & provides thermal insulation from heat. While no clothing guarantees being entirely fireproof, FR clothing drastically cuts down on the number & severity of burn injuries.
Moreover, a worker working in an environment that involves the risk of flash or fire with potential low-light conditions is exposed to the added danger of not being visible. That’s why high-visibility clothing is a must for many jobs. High-visibility FR clothing is made of brightly colored fabrics & reflective materials, which make the wearer more visible in all conditions and inclement weather. This, in turn, prevents many major accidents. Wearing FR clothing that comes with high visibility, along with other safety precautions & training, prevents many severe injuries and deaths every year.
The American National Standard Institute (ANSI) has established the ANSI/ISEA 107 standard, which provides industries with performance guidance around high-vis safety apparel. Below we have mentioned the breakdown of the two most popular ANSI high-visibility performance classifications:
There are very limited differences between performance Class 1 and general-purpose safety vests; thus, only the manufacturer rated safety vests starting at Class 2 are elected.
Performance Class 2: This is for workers working in low-light environments & heavy traffic. When traffic exceeds 25 mph & below 50 mph, Class 2 rated safety vests are considered ideal. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recognizes highway/road construction work zones as areas where workers are potentially exposed to the risk of being struck by the vehicles operating near them. A worker working as a flagger, laborer, or survey crew in these areas need to wear a Class 2 rated vest.
Performance Class 3: This is for workers working in dangerous, high traffic areas and in poor light conditions, for example, workers working in snowy conditions on a busy road. A worker is operating in an area where a vehicle travels more than 50 mph need to wear a Class 3 rated safety vest. Most heavy traffic areas, as mentioned in Performance Class 2, should consider wearing a Class 3 safety vest, as an additional reflective material will help to identify other workers better.
One more perk of high-vis clothing is these easily recognizable garments & accessories communicate a certain level of authority in situations where an area has restricted access. Everyone recognizes high-vis gear as work clothing & understands that individuals wearing it are there to do a job, which separates the worker from other passersby.
Working on a construction site can be both challenging & dangerous. Construction workers sometimes need to work hundreds of feet above the ground and are often exposed to dangers from acids, radiant heat, naked flames, sparks, and heavy objects such as bricks & beams. Even the workers who are not atop a building can be exposed to dangers from traffic on the road. Thus, keeping them protected from dangerous materials and flames is very crucial for their safety. One of the most crucial things that play a major role in protecting workers at construction sites is safety clothing.
Safety Clothing’s Role in Construction Sites
As workers at a construction site are usually surrounded by heavy objects, flames, and hazardous chemicals, their safety is paramount. In fact, no safety equipment is more important at such worksites than protective workwear clothing. Overalls are usually the most common attire worn on construction sites & are ubiquitous at well-managed sites.
Just like skilled employees in different vocations have a certain dress code, there is a dress code for skilled construction workers as well. A well-maintained piece of safety workwear clothing is a reason for pride for many workers; as a matter of fact, the most efficient & dedicated workers feel confident and tend to perform well at their jobs when they are wearing protective clothing.
As stated above, protective clothing serves as an unofficial uniform for workers at a construction site, yet it implies, and does, provides excellent utility too. Hence workers typically wear overalls not just because it protects them from a wide range of hazards but also it helps them to do their job well. Basically, overalls that protect workers from hazards such as flames or fire are often required at construction sites. Such clothing is made from flame-resistant fabrics, which work as a self extinguisher most of the time.
While safety is paramount at construction sites, working at such sites also requires using several different tools such as pliers, screwdrivers, spanners, etc. Overalls and safety work jackets, workwear pants have pockets in them that allow workers to carry every kind of small tool they’ll need.
Other Benefits of Safety Clothing on Construction Sites
While worker’s safety is important when it comes to working on a construction site, comfort plays a major role as well. Workers that feel safe while working are able to carry out their duties better. This is why specifically designed safety clothing is ideal for wearing at a construction site because they sit well on the wearer’s frame and make them feel comfortable & safe.
To See & Be Seen
On any busy construction site, when groups of people are working together surrounded by dangerous equipment or extreme environmental hazards, it is imperative that everyone should be able to clearly see everyone else. Knowing where someone is working, even in the poor light, is very crucial for safety at a construction site. This is where high visibility safety clothing works best as it brightly reflects any light that shines on it, making the wearer visible even in poor lighting. And a remarkable quality of this hi-vis clothing is it does not get degraded even when washed frequently.
Safety Clothing in Different Roles
Just as there are various types of work environments, there’s also more than just one variety of protective clothing. Plain safety clothing may be made from cotton or a flame-resistant material, which makes it suitable to wear at many construction sites. Other kinds of safety clothing may be used by firemen or by people working in some of the most extreme work environments, such as nuclear power plants or chemical plants, or chemical laboratories.