Tag: FR workwear
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.
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!