Category: Flame Resistant Workwear
If you work in a profession where fire or other open flame hazards are present, wearing the appropriate protective clothing is vital for your safety. Flame-resistant clothing, also known as “fire-resistant clothing” or “flame retardant garments,” are designed to protect the wearer from a variety of hazards such as fire and extreme heat. This protective clothing offers protection against burns, flash fire, and other hazards, which can be life-threatening. It is vital to maintain this safety clothing properly. This blog post will guide you on how to launder and wash your FR clothing properly.
Why Does your FR Clothing need Special Care?
Flame-resistant clothing is made with special fibres that are specifically engineered for protecting the wearer from exposure to fire. If these fabrics are not cared for properly, they will lose their ability to protect you from a dangerous situation will be reduced and may even fail altogether. Thus, it is important to know how your flame-resistant clothes should be laundered/ washed properly.
Key FR Clothing Laundering Practices
Here are the common laundering practices that will help you properly care for your FR clothing:
Avoid using hard water
Avoid using hard water to wash your FR clothing as it causes minerals like calcium and magnesium to form hard deposits on the fabric, which will eventually become brittle. These minerals are abrasive agents that may weaken seams during washing or wear over time. This can affect the flame-resistant properties of your clothing. Thus, it is advised to use soft water for washing your FR clothes.
Do not use bleach
Bleach can damage the fabric and weaken its resistance to fire. Instead, opt for detergents made specifically for FR clothing. Be sure that they are formulated with ingredients that will break down grease without damaging the garments’ surface or colorfastness.
Avoid high temperature
Washing or drying your FR clothes at high temperatures may decrease their effectiveness. Instead, opt for cold or room temperature washes and drying. This also extends longevity because high temperatures can cause colors and fabrics to fade faster than if you were using a cooler setting on your washing machine.
Do not use Woolite
Woolite is a detergent formulated for washing wool fabrics and contains an enzyme that removes protein from fabric. This may be detrimental to your FR garments because it leaves the fabric unprotected against harmful substances in the environment. If you are choosing to use a detergent, opt for one formulated for synthetic fabrics instead.
Inspect your garment regularly
It is also important to inspect your garment regularly for any damages that may need to be repaired. For instance, if there are holes or frays in the fabric and threads, it needs immediate repair before you start washing to not have a hole grow larger with use. It’s best to take all garments out of service once they are damaged to avoid the risk of them catching fire.
Tips To Wash Your FR Clothing At Home
- Wash the clothing in cold water.
- Use a mild detergent that will not stain fabric colors.
- Clean all areas of your washing machine, including the drum, lid, agitator, and gasket, before starting laundry to remove any residue buildup on these surfaces.
- Fill the wash machine’s drum with cold water and add detergent according to instructions on the box.
- Wash your FR clothes in a Normal/Cotton cycle at any water temperature up to a maximum of 140°F.
- Add clothing to the top rack of your washing machine, but do not place them in a washer bag or pillowcase—this will lead to wrinkles.
- Wash items separately so that they are clean & free from any residue left behind by other clothes.
- Hang dry your clothes or use a drying rack to prevent wrinkles and shrinking.
Knowing how to properly care for & wash/launder your protective clothing will help to ensure your protective workwear lasts longer and protects the way it was meant to protect you!
We all know that rains can be unpredictable, but critical industries such as utilities, infrastructure maintenance, and transportation cannot delay their services due to rain. Electric utility linemen and oil & gas industry workers are truly essential, for that matter, as they keep the power flowing to the given area. These workers can face long hours of exposure to all types of hazardous weather, which makes it essential that they have all the protective gear they need in good shape at all times.
The scenarios utility workers typically face requiring protection in the form of high-quality flame-resistant rainwear clothing. FR safety clothing is made from materials that don’t catch fire easily when exposed to sparks or flames. Once you’ve made the investment in protecting your team with the right FR garments, the next step is to ensure that they take care of these clothing items correctly.
In this blog, we’ll see the importance of taking care of FR rainwear clothing and how you can keep them clean.
Why is it Important to Take Care of FR Rainwear in the Right Manner?
Outdoor working conditions can be harsh & extremely variable. Therefore, it is imperative that your workers have all the right gear for their safety and that they maintain it appropriately. Keeping your flame-resistant rainwear clean is important for a number of reasons, such as:
- It’ll maintain its durability & performance so that you can get the most out of it over time.
- It would help them last longer due to reduced wear & tear from dirt or grime build-up, which might otherwise get trapped in fabrics if they were dirty.
- Also, it helps to avoid possible safety hazards such as accidents caused at the worksite.
These are just a few scenarios where wearing high-quality safety clothing with the appropriate care can make all the difference in the safety & efficiency of the worker.
Furthermore, caring for your FR rainwear with the correct methods will help these valuable gears to last longer & perform better even in the harshest conditions. Not washing your FR workwear in the right manner can damage it or make it prematurely worn out. Using the right washing procedures & tools are also essential as dirty, worn out, or broken tools can be ineffective for cleaning or affect the efficiency of the garment.
How to Clean FR Rainwear?
Here are some key cleaning tips that will ensure that your FR rainwear stays clean & ready to protect you from any workplace hazard:
- Create a regular cleaning plan/schedule for your rain gear; this will ensure that your gears are clean & ready whenever you need them. Consider how often you’ll need to wash your rainwear, where & how you want to wash it, and where you’ll be keeping them.
- The primary step in the actual cleaning process is to spot clean or wipe the entire garment with a damp cloth. Make sure you keep your garments in a manner & location where they can dry completely.
- For more thorough cleaning, you can wash these garments at home in the washing machine separately in cold water on the gentle cycle of your washer.
- When you’re cleaning your rainwear, either by hand or in a washing machine, make sure to not use abrasive cleaners, solvents, bleach, or fabric softeners.
- Do not iron your FR garments at all. Simply hang them in a manner that’ll prevent any creases or wrinkles from forming.
- Do not dry clean your FR rainwear, or send it out to an industrial laundry facility for cleaning.
Keeping these tips in mind while cleaning your FR rainwear will ensure they don’t lose their quality and keeps you safe for a longer period.
The oil and gas industry is a risky environment, where safety and comfort should be top priorities for every employee. One of the most important pieces of gear to ensure this goal is achieved is FR Safety Wear. Flame-resistant safety apparel is an essential part of any company’s (working in the oil & gas industry) worker protection program. FR clothing provides superior protection against flash fires and heat exposure from radiant energy sources, including welding, brazing, or cutting torches. However, choosing the right Flame-resistant safety wear for your employees in the Oil & Gas Industry is not an easy task. There are various factors that need to be considered before you make a final decision. Below we have compiled a list of critical factors that you must consider while choosing FR safety wear.
The important factors that you must consider while choosing flame-resistant clothing in the oil & gas industry are:
It is important to understand that flame-resistant clothing does not have a fixed protection level, as it can range from just meeting NFPA 2112 requirements all the way up to providing full and complete protection against LPG fires without rupturing. So be sure you know what the level of protection you need is before purchasing FR clothing.
Number of Layers
The number of garments worn in FR clothing depends on several factors like the type of activity/work you’re involved in, the time span for which protection is needed, type of work environment (chemical sensitivities), among other things. As general guidelines, workers should consider wearing three layers when working in an area where there’s exposure to gasoline vapors; two daily use/casual daywear items plus one protective overgarment while working in an area with no gasoline exposure but there’s a chance of liquid petroleum gas (LPG) or ammonia vapors; and one daily use/casual daywear item plus two protective overgarments while working in an area where there is a potential for LPG, ammonia or chlorine exposures.
Flame retardant clothing should be self-extinguishing and have a wide range of options for different levels of protection, from just meeting the NFPA 2112 requirements all the way up to providing full and complete protection against LPG fires without rupturing.
Flame-resistant clothing is tested for its ability to resist the spread of flames and heat. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulates compliance with these standards in most countries. Thus, it is important that the safety wear that you are using has been certified. You must be able to identify what standards they have met, and more importantly, their certification number so that you can verify it with them if required.
It is important not only that your clothing provides adequate protection against fire but also ensures it fits well, so you don’t even notice them while working in harsh conditions. Also, the materials should be breathable, i.e., it should allow air and moisture to pass through protective garments. And since these garments often cover most of your body’s surface area, comfort features such as durability when wet and elasticity to reduce chaffing are also important to consider.
Flame-resistant clothes need to last a long time because they tend to have a higher upfront cost than other types of clothing and are worn out more quickly. They should be able to stand up against constant use in the oil & gas industry, where there’s always an increased risk of danger due to machinery or equipment being close by.
The oil and gas industry is a high-risk sector, where there are constant threats of explosion. With FR clothing being one of the key components of keeping workers safe from harmful chemicals and fumes, it is important to choose the right one. Thus keeping all the above-mentioned critical factors in mind will help you make the right decision for your needs and safety!
The layering system of FR clothing is meant to keep the wearer warmer or cooler and drier as per their working condition while providing the added mobility & comfort. But, have you ever thought that when you’re wearing multi-layered garments, what specific clothing combinations are tested together to determine their effective arc rating?
Flame-resistant clothing typically comes with a layering system that offers the highest levels of protection. Workwear USA goes a little beyond usual while testing the popular clothing combinations to determine their actual ATPV Cal/cm2 rating. This makes it easy to know if your FR apparel’s combination meets your required ratings & work safety requirements.
Now, you must be wondering what this FR layering system is all about. Read on to understand the ultimate FR layering system and the purpose of each layer.
The Ultimate FR Clothing Layering System
When you are choosing a clothing layering system, start by finding one that offers permanent moisture-wicking technology in every layer. From base layer to button-up work shirt, hoodies to outer jacket, a layering system that offers moisture-wicking technology will never wear out, wash out, or stop providing protection to you.
An FR clothing layering system offers the following benefits:
Built to move: Each component of the FR layering system comes with added stretch, which enables you to move as freely as you do.
A beveled tail for warmth: This safety clothing is designed with a longer, swooping backside, where your midsection remains protected from the hazardous elements whether you’re reaching high or bending forward.
Water & wind-resistant: Your layering system will protect you even when you add or remove layers. Your outerwear offers water & wind resistance that makes you feel confident in your apparel.
What is the Purpose of Each Layer?
Layering is very crucial to worker safety in any kind of weather, be it summers or winters. The right flame-resistant fabric will keep your team protected & comfortable for longer. Here is the breakdown of the three main layers of the FR layering system:
Having a solid foundation is the key to any strong structure; the same can be said for the layering system of FR clothing. The base layer keeps you dry by pulling moisture away from your body; this helps to keep your body cool during hot summer days and warm when it’s freezing cold outside. The base layer clothing is usually made with a blend of hydrophobic & hydrophilic fibers that constantly pull moisture away from your body, moving it to the garment’s outer surface to allow it to dry.
You can easily get a wide variety of mid-layers at Wokrwear USA; each of these clothing options is designed to work with the base & the outer layers to keep moisture off your body & make you feel comfortable. In addition, these layers are typically built with effective, lightweight fabrics that help to increase worker comfort without reducing mobility.
The outer layer of FR apparel is really the cherry on top of the FR layering system because it is wind-resistant, water-resistant, and moisture-wicking. The unique garment design of this layer keeps all the elements at bay while moisture is being pulled away from your body to the outermost layer. This enables you to focus on the task at hand without causing any distraction or discomfort.
The FR clothing layering system is an excellent way to stay warm & comfortable in extreme weather conditions. Knowing what each level of insulation does & why you need it can help you stay safe while you’re working in hazardous work conditions. The purpose behind Workwear USA’s FR clothing design is to create a custom fit that will keep you protected regardless of how many layers are on underneath.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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-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.