Category: Flame Resistant Workwear

flame-resistance clothing

4 Tips to Choose the Right FR Safety Clothing for Winters

With every changing season, there are new inherent hazards that directly affect a worker’s health & safety.

In the winter season, decreasing temperatures & wind chill tend to put outdoor workers at risk for hypothermia & frostbite; other dangers could be decreased mobility, slower response times & slippery surfaces. Additionally, it has been observed that diligence with wearing flame-resistance clothing over warmer winter wear may diminish the effect & potential risk during the winter months.

For these reasons, it is crucial that a winter Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) plan must be established for workers working in areas where they may be exposed to arc flash, hazardous materials, or other conditions that require flame resistance clothing.

Here are four tips that will help you choose the right FR safety clothing for winters:

Avoid Loss of Body Heat & Injuries Associated with Potential Arc Flash

In addition to being uncomfortable, wet clothes will lead you to lose more body heat. You may also face a greater risk from moisture seeping through the layers. Once the clothing directly touching your skin becomes moist, it gives a path for an arc flash to travel. Make sure to use appropriate rain gear & have a change of FR clothing available for emergencies. Workers who’re exposed to electrical hazards must not wear synthetic materials as they can melt.

FR clothing items with moisture-wicking fibers pull the moisture away from your body, which helps in keeping you warmer, drier & more protected. The balance of insulation, warmth & breathability should not be overlooked while you’re working outdoors in winters. Choosing the right safety clothing for your application & environment can make a big difference in both safety & performance.

Protect Your Eyes

Eye protection in winter is a lot more important than just keeping debris or chemicals out of your eyes. Icy blasts from harsh winds in winters can irritate eyes & cause decreased visibility. So make sure your eyes are well-protected. Moreover, in certain hazardous work environments, the use of face covers along with protective eyewear may be needed.

Cover Your Head, Hands & Feet

Your body loses about 10-percent of your heat through your head. While it is important to keep your head warm, you must also ensure that your hard hat is properly fitted and those hats or liners do not cause slippage. Choose a hat or liner that can cover the back of your neck as well as your head. It is better to get a slightly larger hard hat for winters to accommodate the necessary head coverings.

In addition to this, protecting your arms & hands is also critically important for job effectiveness & worker safety. Frostbite to your hands & feet can occur rapidly. Thus, you should consider getting additional liners for gloves & boots. These liners will provide you with extra warmth & you can change them if they become damp. If your job requires you to wear protective gloves, liners should be made with suitable material that’ll not melt in case of arc flash.

It is always better to look for reusable and washable products while looking for hand & arm protection. These products offer anti-microbial & cut resistance designs and heat & chemical resistance in a lightweight & heavyweight options.

Keep your PPE Well Maintained

Your flame-resistance clothing is designed to keep you safe. For it to perform properly & provide you enough safety, you must take care of it as well.

You must follow the use & care instructions provided by the FR clothing manufacturer on the garment in order to get the full-service life from your FR products. During winters, you may need to change your garments frequently if you’re working in snowy or muddy conditions.

Conclusion

The most crucial factor for choosing appropriate PPE for the winter season is selecting clothing items that are not only suitable for the temperature in which you’ll be working, but it is also functional for the kind of work you’ll be performing and the physical exertion you’ll go through. Make sure to always follow the legal requirements for your trade & consult relevant sections of NFPA codes & standards to make the right choice.

6 FAQs About Flame-Resistant Clothing

There has always been a lot of nuances & requirements when it comes to FR clothing. Maybe you’re about to start a new job & you’ve been told you’ll need to wear flame-resistant (FR) clothing. Whatever the case is, you suddenly have reason to be curious & ask — what exactly is flame-resistant workwear clothing?

In this article, we’ll discuss the most frequently asked questions about flame-resistant workwear clothing.

What is flame-resistant clothing?

Flame-resistant clothing, also known as FR clothing, refers to any clothing item which is designed & specifically manufactured to protect wearers from the potential intermittent flames & thermal exposure. FR workwear clothing is engineered to protect the wearer from injuries due to flames. These clothing items don’t easily catch fire, and even if they do, they are designed to self-extinguish.

Who needs to wear flame-resistant clothing?

Any employee who works in environments where there are possibilities of heat, fire or electrical injuries, the odds are good they should be wearing FR clothing. Typically, there are three broad categories of workers who should wear FR clothing for protection. These categories are based on the type of hazard the worker will be exposed to while working. The three primary hazards are:

Electric arc: People exposed to this hazard include electricians and certain utility workers & others.

Flashfire: This category includes pharmaceutical & chemical workers and those working in refineries & more.

Combustible dust: This category covers workers in food processing plants, the paper & pulp industry, etc.

What is the difference between “flame resistant” clothing & “fire retardant” clothing?

Flame resistant materials & clothing doesn’t melt or drip when exposed directly to flames or extreme heat. The vertical flame test is the official test method that determines whether a fabric is flame resistant or not. For a fabric to be classified as flame resistant, it must self-extinguish in 2 seconds or less after exposure to direct flame. Flame resistant fabric gains its self-extinguishing properties either from the use of inherently flame-resistant fibres or from flame resistant treatments.

Flame retardant material, on the other hand, stops or slows down the process of catching fire or reduces its intensity. These fabrics or clothing can be made from any material, but they must be treated with a special chemical to qualify as a flame retardant. Fabrics used for making this clothing are not made with non-flammable fibres.

What makes FR clothing flame resistant?

Flame resistant refers to FR clothing, which is made to self-extinguish when the flame source is removed from the clothing article. FR clothing is typically manufactured with fabrics with unique properties that prevent the clothing from melting, igniting, or dripping when exposed to an open flame; this reduces burn injuries to its wearers.

How to choose the right FR clothing?

The “best practice” for selecting FR clothing include:

  • Your FR workwear clothing selection must be based on the probable worst-case exposure for the job/task.
  • FR clothing should provide a good functional fit for protection as well as comfort.
  • Sleeve cuffs of your clothing should be fully rolled down & secured.
  • All garments, including outerwear, need to be fully fastened.
  • FR clothing should be free from flammable contaminants such as oil or grease that can ignite & increase burn injury.
  • Appropriate protective face, head, neck, eye, hand, & foot coverings should be worn.

Do we really need FR clothing?

OSHA mandates FR clothing & its usage, and the organization won’t hesitate to hand out fines to any company it finds to be outside of compliance with the regulations.

In addition to protecting workers, FR clothing also serves as a handy insurance policy for your business if in case an accident occurs. While it is certainly expensive for your company to outfit its workers in appropriate gears, it will be even more expensive for them if a worker is severely injured/burned. The cost of things such as workers’ compensation, training temporary replacement workers & other related expenses typically far outweigh the cost of protecting workers in the first place.

Therefore, all this goes to prove even if it weren’t for OSHA regulations, it is better for businesses to rather outfit their employees correctly than be forced to deal with onsite accidents or injuries!

We hope this information will help you make an educated choice when it comes to FR clothing!

Tips for Protecting Workers in the Oil & Gas Industry

Growth & expansion in the oil & gas industry has led business organizations to increase operations & take on more projects; this has led to increased demand for skilled workers. Workers working in the oil & gas industry are often at higher risk of on-the-job injuries. But oil & gas companies that take steps to protect employees helps to prevent accidents, increase retention rates & lower worker’s compensation costs.

Oil & gas work, by nature, is dangerous, and while efforts are constantly being made to reduce the risks of fires & explosions, it still presents a significant hazard. In this article, we will see how you can protect workers in the oil & gas industry.

Why FR Clothing matters in the Oil & Gas industry?    

Burn injuries do occur in the Oil & Gas industry & the consequences can be severe. Along with this tragedy of serious injury or death, burn injuries can cost a company millions of dollars in OSHA fines, legal costs, hospital fees, increased insurance premiums, reputation damage & lost productivity.

Preventing fires & explosions from occurring is always better than trying to mitigate the damage afterwards. And the first step toward avoiding workplace injuries should always be following safe work practices. However, even if you’ve taken proper precautions, it is important to be prepared for an accident. This implies that wearing proper flame-resistant (FR) clothing on the job is essential!

Read on to see things you must take into consideration while selecting FR clothing to protect workers in the Oil & Gas industry.

Safety

The first thing that you must consider while selecting FR clothing should always be safety. OSHA requires employers to identify risks & protect employees from hazards in the workplace. This includes ensuring each worker has proper personal protective equipment (PPE). On various occasions, OSHA has used this regulation as the basis for citations when workers have suffered burn injuries & the employer did not require FR protective clothing. To comply with OSHA regulations & to keep employees safe from harm, it is important to identify the types of hazards your workers might encounter on the job & ensure that the flame-resistant apparel you choose must be designed to address those hazards.

Comfort

Along with protection, comfort is another important aspect that you must take into consideration while selecting FR workwear clothing. If your workers are uncomfortable in their FR clothing, they may not wear it consistently or appropriately; this can detract from the safety benefits.

For the maximum possible comfort, it is important to provide your workers with correctly sized garments. This implies that you must consider ordering non-stock sizes or seeking garments that are designed specifically for women. Additionally, you would want to choose garments that enable the greatest possible ease of movement to enhance comfort & support job performance. It is also helpful to choose products that are appropriate according to the temperature & weather conditions. Thus, choose fabric types that balance proper protection along with comfort considerations such as breathability, weight, warmth, and moisture-wicking.

Durability

Finally, beyond protection & comfort, you must also consider the durability & long-term value of your FR clothing. While you may find certain lower-quality options less expensive initially, but they may need replacement more frequently due to excess shrinkage or poor durability; this results in higher overall costs in the long run. Also, keep in mind that FR workwear clothing that has holes, rips, or worn-out areas may not provide adequate protection, thus compromising the wearer’s safety. Therefore, to maximize protection while achieving the best possible value, choose FR clothing that is made with high-quality fabrics & manufactured with durability in mind. Choose workwear clothing that is made by trusted manufacturers, and look for features that add to its durability.

Ending Note

In the Oil & Gas industry, burn injuries can have devastating consequences. But with safe work practices & implementing an effective FR workwear clothing program, you can significantly reduce the likelihood that a serious injury will occur.

Flame Resistant Clothing

Important Tips to Take Care of your Flame Resistant Clothing

FR clothing refers to the clothing items that are designed & specifically manufactured to protect wearers from potential intermittent flames & thermal exposure. These clothing items do not easily catch fire, and even when they do, they are designed to self-extinguish.

While every job is slightly different, it is highly likely that you’re going to put your Flame Resistant clothing through some demanding conditions while working. As a result, you’ll need to clean your flame-resistant clothing on a fairly regular basis. Here we bring you the most important tips to clean and care for your flame resistant clothing.

How to wash & dry FR Clothing?

For most FR clothing items, the cleaning process is fairly simple. You can easily clean these garments at home with your choice of laundry soap in your ordinary washer & dryer. However, it is essential to note that it’s inadvisable to use chlorine bleach with your FR clothing. It’s also a good rule of thumb to avoid using fabric softeners. And for the best results, wash these clothing items separately from your other clothing items. If your FR clothes are extremely soiled & need a deeper cleaning than usual, you can wash these clothes on the hottest setting allowed on the clothing tag.

Most flame-resistant clothing includes at least a small percentage of cotton, which implies they are susceptible to shrinkage during the first several washes. If you’re concerned about your garments shrinking, you can prevent this by hanging the clothing items to dry on the drying rack instead of running them through the dryer.

For any additional concerns about your specific FR clothes, it is recommended to look at your clothing tags. While every FR clothing manufacturer is different, you should be able to find more individualized wash & care instructions there.

Can FR clothing be dry cleaned?

Yes. You can dry-clean your FR clothing with no adverse effects. Since you can easily wash these clothing items at home using your regular clothes washer, there’s no particular need to have them dry-cleaned. However, if you prefer to get them dry cleaned, there is no reason you cannot safely do so.

How many times can you wash your FR clothing?

Most FR clothing items are built to be tough & to withstand a lot of wear & tear. Therefore, a few washes through the washing machine are not likely to damage it. You should feel confident about washing your FR garments as often as they need it. Unless you’re using any of the items we mentioned above that are not recommended — such as bleach or fabric softener — you can wash your FR clothes as often as you like.

How can FR clothing be repaired?

Well, you can indeed repair your damaged FR clothing, but it’s a little bit more complicated than getting out your sewing kit & patching a hole.

To repair your FR clothing, you need to have materials that are flame-resistant. These repair materials must be consistent with the original materials used to create the garment, so the entire piece retains its FR attributes. Repairing your FR clothing with non-flame-resistant materials can result in the entire garment being compromised & failing to protect the wearer on the job.

If you are not equipped to handle this level of repairs, it is best to directly contact the manufacturer. These professionals will be able to complete the repairs with the proper material so that your garment remains its ability to protect you while you work.

By keeping these specific ways in mind while cleaning & taking care of your FR clothing, you can certainly use them for a much longer period.

FR Clothing

What does “FR” in the FR Clothing really mean?

There are a lot of nuances & requirements when it comes to FR clothing. Do you what “FR” really means? Maybe you’ve just been told that you need to wear FR clothing at your new job. Whatever the case is, it is important for you to understand the meaning of FR clothing. In this article, we will talk about what is flame resistant clothing and what does “FR” here really means.

What is Flame Resistant Clothing?

Flame-resistant clothing — commonly abbreviated as FR clothing — refers to any clothing items that are designed & specifically manufactured to protect wearers from potential intermittent flames & thermal exposure. These clothing items are engineered to protect the wearer from injury due to flames as they do not easily catch fire, and even when they do, they are designed to self-extinguish. If the wearer gets exposed to a brief, intermittent flame while wearing FR clothing and the clothing catches fire, it will self extinguish itself. FR clothing’s ability causes the wearer’s risk of burn injury to plummet & can often provide the wearer with enough time to escape the unsafe environment.

All these attributes work together to provide the wearer with a far greater chance of escape & survival if they find themselves suddenly in the middle of a flash fire, an electric arc, or any other unexpected thermal problem that can cause injury. In situations like these, FR clothing can be the difference between being severely injured or escaping unscathed.

Moreover, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), delineates specific guidelines. Any FR clothing required by a workplace will need to fall within their guidelines. OSHA stipulates any worker working in conditions where they may be exposed to flames, electric arcs or any similar hazards must not wear clothing that “could potentially increase the extent of the injury.” In addition to this, OSHA’s clothing requirements then go on to prohibit clothing made of nylon, rayon, polyester or acetate, unless the employer can prove they’ve been appropriately treated to withstand the conditions the workers may encounter during their work.

“FR”- Flame-Resistant or Fire-Resistant or Fire-Retardant

People often confuse FR for Flame-Resistant or Fire-Resistant or Fire-Retardant as they usually assume these three terms are synonyms. However, the confusion is understandable, given the similarities of these terms. But actually, two of the terms are interchangeable, but another one of them is quite a bit different. So, here are the major differences between these terms.

Flame-Resistant: Flame-resistant clothing is typically made from inherently non-flammable fabrics & materials. The materials used for making this clothing have a chemical structure which is naturally resistant to flames. This fabric type may catch fire, but it will either self-extinguish or burn very slowly, which gives wearer enough time to escape. The most important function of these fabrics is to prevent any further spread of fire.

Fire-Resistant: This term can be taken as a synonym for flame-resistant. If you find this term as a replacement of flame-resistant, don’t be confused. Both these terms mean exactly the same thing, and it is correct to use them interchangeably.

Fire-Retardant: Fire-retardant fabrics are quite different from the other two. These fabrics are those that have undergone chemical treatment to acquire some of the similar properties that flame-resistant fabrics inherently have. As a result of these chemical procedures, flame/fire-retardant fabrics become self-extinguishing & slow-burning. Any type of fabric can be used, but it must undergo this chemical treatment before it can be considered as flame/fire retardant.

These definitions clearly state the meaning & significance of these terms. So make sure you understand the requirements & guidelines of your industry & work type and choose your “FR” clothing accordingly.

Flame Resistent Clothing

Important Questions to Keep in Mind While Buying Flame-Resistant Clothing

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.

High Visibility FR Clothing

Understanding the Importance of High Visibility FR Clothing & its Performance Class

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.

Performance Class

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.  

4 Key Reasons Why Fire-Resistant Clothing Is Important

Wearing fire-resistant clothing is a crucial factor for companies seeking to comply with industry safety regulations & voluntary performance standards. Employees working in hazardous work environments with a risk of explosions or flash fire are the most common situations where a form of fire-resistant (FR) protective clothing is required. In these work environments, workers may also experience an “arc flash” that directly or indirectly causes a garment fire, resulting in severe injury or even death.

When exposed to such situations, the type of clothing one chooses to wear can play a major role in how the situation turns out. In this article, we have stated some of the most significant reasons that make fire resistant clothing important.

It works as self-extinguisher

FR clothing helps to protect workers by self-extinguishing when they are exposed to flame. It reduces the extent of burn injuries as well as provides workers with valuable escape time. Most severe burn injuries are often caused when a worker is wearing clothes that are not fire-resistant, which may ignite & continue to burn even after the heat source has been removed. By wearing fire-resistant protective workwear, one can prevent such instances.

It reduces the severity of injuries

Whenever there’s a fire or explosion, FR workwear dramatically reduces the severity of the injuries. However, it should be noted that FR clothing does not completely eliminate the risk of burn injury. FR workwear is designed to protect the wearer as it allows them to get away from the heat source. The fabric serves of these FR clothing works as a barrier between the flash fire & skin of the victim, which reduces the level of energy transmitted onto the skin surface.

Moreover, the material of this FR workwear does not melt on the skin, as seen when you wear clothing made of or blended with synthetic materials like nylon, acetate, polyester, or polypropylene. Also, in the event of an arc flash incident, fire-resistant clothing helps to mitigate the overall extent of the injury.

Complies with industry standards

FR clothing not just protects you from fire but also enables you to comply with State & Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards. According to these standards, employers need to protect their employees from hazards in the workplace. Staying compliant with these standards is vital for protecting your company’s safety record as well as its financial bottom line. Without having a proper FR program in place, you’re more likely to get into trouble as any non-compliance may lead to sanctions and various other penalties.

Improves employees morale & productivity

The most crucial aspect of any job is personal safety. When employees feel that the organization they’re working with is taking steps to protect their physical well-being by implementing an FR program, it significantly boosts their motivation, which results in higher performance. Employees working in hazardous work environments where nothing is being done for their safety tend to feel less motivated & less-efficient, which leads employers to incur thousands of dollars in lost productivity.

Ending Note

It is extremely important for employers, safety managers, and employees to understand that fire-resistant clothing serves as the last line of defense for end-users in case of flash fires & explosions. Careful consideration must be taken to ensure that the appropriate FR clothing suitable for a particular type of activity conducted by the workers is chosen, and the workers wear it properly!

Flame-Resistant Clothing

What makes Flame-Resistant Clothing “Flame Resistant”?

A diverse array of workplace hazards makes having the right protective gear even more crucial. In many cases, this means flame-resistant (FR) clothing. Working around with high-voltage materials & fire hazards or working as a welder are just a few examples of jobs that require flame-resistant clothing. If you work in any of these industries, you would already know the purpose & importance of flame-resistant clothing. But, what actually makes flame-resistant clothing “flame resistant”?

Let’s get an insight into the science behind flame resistant clothing. A better understanding of this type of safety clothing will help you make smarter buying decisions.

What makes FR Clothing “Flame-resistant”?

Though not the only industry to wear this type of safety clothing, the electric power industry is the one that has a substantial need for flame-resistant protection. One of the most severe threats for workers is electric arcs. Hazards from arc blast/flash include:

  • Hot gases
  • High temperatures over short periods of time
  • Intense pressure waves from explosions
  • Shrapnel from vaporized &molten metal particles

It is easy to see the potential lethality of these dangers. That’s why the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has introduced the “269” standard. This “269” standard states that workers must be trained in the potential hazards of electric arcs. Coming back to the topic of FR clothing, this standard also prohibits workers from wearing protective equipment that may amplify the potential of injury in the presence of an arc.

Clothing material that might lead to ignition, or will continue to burn, or that may melt on the skin is out of the question. This basically means that FR apparels are not crafted from synthetic materials such as nylon, acetate, polyester, or rayon. OSHA also provides a general explanation for what material may be considered for FR clothing. This requirement states, “Clothing apparel made from materials like 100% cotton/wool may be acceptable if its weight is appropriate for the flame & electric arc conditions to which a worker could be exposed.”

What your flame-resistant gear made out of?

The answer to this question will depend upon the hazardous risk category level & the minimum required arc rating for your job. When it comes to flame-resistance, the “one size fits all” approach doesn’t work. Different jobs have different protective gear requirements, which means each flame-resistant fabric has unique properties that may either help or harm the end-user. However, blending different fibers may allow maximum protection and performance.

Two common flame resistant fabrics include 100% cotton and an 88% cotton/12% nylon blend. The 100% cotton apparel has been permanently treated to provide flame-resistance to the extent of the garment’s life. The other one with 88% cotton/12% nylon blend is engineered to provide guaranteed flame-resistance for the life of the garment. These fabrics are treated to provide flame-resistance.; this treatment involves the application of flame retardant. Some flame retardants are phosphonium salt precondensates; these retardants have been polymerized with gaseous ammonia. They may also be a heat-cured dialkylphosphonamide. The process used for this treatment has minimal impact on the performance of the fabric.

The various types of fabrics may have different combinations of fibers or may have undergone a certain flame retardant treatment process. Still, the flame-resistant clothing you select will depend on the hazards of your workplace & the minimum required arc rating you need. However, it is not enough to consider only one facet while choosing FR clothing; a comprehensive view is needed!

Why is Flame Resistant Clothing important for people working in a hazardous environment?

The wearing of flame-resistant (FR) clothing is one of the most crucial factors for companies seeking to comply with industry safety regulations & voluntary performance standards. People working in hazardous work environments are prone to the risk of explosions or flash fire. Situations, where there’s a risk of explosion or flash fire most commonly, requires a form of Flame Resistant (FR) protective clothing. Moreover, workers can also experience an “arc flash;” this can directly or indirectly lead to a garment fire. Such fires often result in severe injury or even death.

The type of clothing one chooses to wear can play a huge role for people exposed to such incidences. Read on to understand why flame resistant clothing is important for people working in hazardous.

Works as Self-extinguishers or Resists Ignition

FR clothing typically protects workers by working as self-extinguishers for people when they’re exposed to flame. It reduces the extent of burn injuries as well as provides workers with valuable escape time. Most severe burn injuries are caused due to workers wearing non-FR clothing, which leads to igniting and continues to burn long after the heat source has been removed. By wearing Flame Resistant clothing, one can significantly prevent instances like these.

Reduces Severity of Injuries

Whenever there’s a fire or explosion, FR clothing dramatically reduces the severity of the injuries. However, it doesn’t completely eliminate the risk of burn injury. These Flame Resistant wear are designed to protect the wearer by enabling them to get away from the heat source. The fabric of this clothing serves as a barrier between the flash fire & skin of the wearer, which reduces the level of energy transmitted onto the skin surface.

The fabric of the FR clothing does not melt on the skin, which is usually seen when a worker is wearing clothing made of or blended with, synthetic materials. Also, in case of an arc flash incident, Flame Resistant clothing helps to mitigate the overall extent of the injury.

Complies with Industry Standards

Investing in FR clothing for your workers will not just protect your workers, but your company will also comply with State and Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards. According to these standards, employers are required to protect employees from hazards in the workplace. Compliance with these standards is vital for protecting your company’s safety record as well as for its financial bottom line. Without a proper Flame/fire Resistant program, you are more likely to get in trouble of sanctions and other penalties.

Improves Employees Morale & Productivity

The most crucial part of any job is a worker’s personal safety. When an employee feels that their company is taking measures to ensure its employees are protected, and their physical well-being is taken care of; it significantly boosts their motivation, which results in better performance. Employees working in hazardous work environments where no measures are taken for their safety tend to feel less motivated & less-efficient. This lost of productivity eventually cost employers loss of thousands of dollars.

Conclusion

Therefore, it is extremely important for employers, safety managers, and employees to understand that Flame Resistant clothing wear serves as the last line of defense for end-users in case of flash fires & explosions. However, careful consideration is required to ensure that you choose appropriate flame resistant clothing which is suitable for the type of activities conducted by the workers.