The Best Flame Resistant (FR) Garment Industry Practices
When thinking about employee safety, there is several options. Here are some of the industry best practices with FR garments:
In the FR Industry, a Dual-Hazard garment is one that could protect you from both a flash fire and an arc flash incident. This protects the worker from multiples hazards and ensures the best overall protection.Inherent protection
Inherent flame resistant fabrics use fibers that have flame resistance built into their chemical/natural structures. The actual structure of the fabric itself is not flammable. The terms “treated” and “topically treated” refer to a manufacturing process whereby a special mixture of chemicals is applied to a flammable fabric, such as cotton or cotton/ nylon blends, to make the final fabric flame-resistant (FR).Inherent wicking action
Wicking fabrics were created to give flame resistant fabrics greater efficiency and more dependable wicking properties. Similar fabrics “chemically treated” with a wicking finishes can only provide temporary wicking because the ability fades and weakens with every washes. Through a patented design, these fabrics wicks by construction versus chemical applications or cotton fiber additions. Companies invented a superior layering system that naturally pulls moisture from the skin, then spreads the moisture for faster evaporationn and these properties lasts for the life of the garment.High visibility
3M™ Scotchlite™ Reflective Material is rigorously tested and meets compliance with industry safety standards. Using the right 3M reflective for the application is the best industry practices, it ensures that the reflective will last as long as the garment. In Canada, CSA Z96-15 Class 2 and Class 3 garments are industry best practices.NFPA 2112
NFPA 2112 Standard Flame-Resistant Garments for Protection of Industrial Personnel against Flash Fire provides the minimum requirements for the design, construction, evaluation and certification of flame-resistant garments. NFPA 2112 UL certification is a third party certification and is the best recognized industry practices. UL has become a symbol of trust in the market place as it provides peace of mind when purchasing a product.Importance of the Layering System
Currently, the industry standard for Flame-Resistant apparel does not require you to wear FR base layers & undergarments. However, wearing these garments during an electric arc or flash fire exposure greatly decreases your chance of body burn & seriously increases your chance of survival. They provide added protection to your most important parts!
Wearing base layers also has several performance & comfort enhancing benefits, giving you peace of mind & allowing you to focus on the job. Although FR fabrics & garments have come a long way in the last decade. The extreme conditions most people wearing FR are working, requires an increased demand for better mobility and physical performance. Being weighed down by bulky outerwear or fabrics that don’t breathe simply won’t cut it. This reality leaves a lot of workers to dangerously alter their FR clothing systems; such as cutting off sleeves, or wearing ineffective lighter garments that do not meet the standards. This action greatly puts workers at risk. The best recognized industry practice is the layering system. Layers come in many different weights and fabrics, each is specialized for a particular environment and application. They can keep you warm in arctic environments, handle the changes in transition temperatures and help manage the heat in the driest environments. They allow you to quickly add or remove layers as temperatures changes. These layering systems are customizable to your needs, and provide just as much protection as its bulkier counterparts. Cotton and non-FR base layers while inexpensive, have some serous downsides.Importance of avoiding cotton.
Cotton and non-FR base layers while inexpensive, have some serious consequences downsides. You’ve heard it before. Cotton kills performance! Why? Because it absorbs a substantial amount of water—up to 27 times its weight and does not rapidly evaporate and dry. Cotton’s limitations can lead to considerable discomfort in warm or cold conditions. Also, moisture against the skin can significantly increase the possibility of steam burn injuries.
Risks of Non-FR fabric & base layers:
- Melts onto skin & and will continue to burn
- Cotton against the skin absorbs moisture and holds it, which rapidly wicks away body heat, lowers a workers body heat in winter and increases discomfort in summer, leaving them vulnerable to hypothermia and potential steam burn
- Increases percentage of burn injury
- Greatly decreases chances of survival
- Increases move-ability
- Inherent wicking action
- Inherent protection
- Highly breathable and quick drying
- Comfortable, next-to-skin products
- All Weather proof
- High Visibility
- Compliance with the highest industry standards