Key Points To Consider When Choosing Flame-Resistant Garments
When choosing flame-resistant garments for your company, be sure they meet your company’s safety standards. Significant variation in type, quality, and features means your company needs to evaluate according to the environment in which the garments will be used.
Key points to keep in mind when selecting flame-resistant garments:
- “Flame resistant” means that the material self-extinguishes upon removal of the heat source.
- Employees who need flame-resistant garments include electricians, electric utility lineman, refinery workers, chemical and pharmaceutical workers, paper and pulp industry workers, food processing workers, paint manufactures, and any worker who may come in contact with energized electrical equipment. Any employee who has any possibility of danger from fire needs to wear flame-resistant clothing.
- The clothing must be comfortable or workers will resist wearing it; obviously, the garments work only if they are worn regularly. The biggest drawbacks of safety clothing are their weight and their fit. Be sure to find clothing that employees are willing to wear.
- Garments that have permanent flame resistance are imperative. Garments should stay fire resistant even if they are constantly washed and worn.
- Garments must resist melting or dripping when exposed to high temperatures and flames. The fabric should never stick to the skin.
- Garments should self-extinguish when the source of the fire is removed.
- A range of garments should be available so that employees can layer up or down depending on the circumstances and still be protected regardless of weather or hazard conditions.
- Arc-rated apparel is designed to protect the wearer from severe or fatal injuries where flashes and other electrical hazards exist.
- Moisture-wicking flame-resistant garments keep the wearer comfortable and dry. These are available in lightweight t-shirt material and heavy woven fabrics with antimicrobial features that help eliminate odors.
- Under certain conditions, high visibility garments must be worn. Be sure to check if your company needs this feature.
Surviving a fire with no or few injuries is the first job of any fire-resistant garment. Industrial and commercial fires are dangerous and oftentimes much hotter that a house fire, so clothing that does not melt, drip, stick to the skin, and extinguishes as soon as the heat source ceases is imperative to avoid fire-related injury.
When choosing flame-resistant garments for your company, make the most informed decision by keeping the above information in mind. Coordinating the correct gear with the working conditions will keep your employees outfitted appropriately and comfortably, while keeping them safe.
Carolyn Kidd is the Marketing Manager of DRIFIRE® in Chicago, IL. DRIFIRE is a leading provider and developer of flame resistant (FR) fabrics and protective apparel to the government, industrial and consumer markets.