Tag: 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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.