The professions that need fire resistant or flame resistant uniforms are more than what you would imagine. Firefighters, sure, but what about electrical workers or laborers in construction and heavy industry? In fact, flame resistant uniforms and clothing are not only a good idea; they are actually required by OSHA, even if there is little exposure to open flames.
Electrical workers are one of the best examples. Wiring, high voltages, and a large variety of equipment and fixtures (some of which can be decaying or placed high above the ground) all translate into constant exposure to electricity. At such workplaces, it is a real possibility of an electrical arc traveling to the worker’s body through their clothing. And Electrical arcs are intensely hot: they are hotter than the surface of the sun, and a few milliseconds of exposure is enough to catch a piece of clothing on fire. Plus, an arc flash or blast can produce hot gases and pressure waves similar to a small explosive detonation.
An electrical arc alone can already cause serious injury to a worker, and flaming or melted clothing on the skin would cause even more severe injury. That is where flame-resistant clothing comes into place.
Flame-resistant clothing is made from special fabrics and materials that have nonflammable chemical structure. They are built to protect the wearers from the abovementioned hazards. FR garments less likely to catch fire comparing to regular ones, and when they are on fire, they are engineered to inhibit the spread of fire. That doesn’t mean FR clothing prevent injuries. However, it acts as a firewall between the wearers and accident to buy them more time to react to and retreat from a dangerous environment, which can be vital in an accident scene.
Since clothing is such an important part of electrical workers’ safety, OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, recently revised their rules to better reflect today’s industry standards. The new provisions outline broader coverage for flame-resistant uniforms in the electrical and construction industries. They also include other safety standards such as head, face, and fall protection.
Additionally, OSHA requires that clothing contaminated with oil, grease, or other flammable substances be thoroughly cleaned or even replaced before using again. After all, you can imagine that fire-resistant clothing covered in gasoline wouldn’t be very effective! This is a particularly common challenge for many industries, which is why you may want to get experts involved in setting up your FR uniform program.
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Having over 80 years of industry experience, CLEAN partners with the top manufacturers to offer our customers specialty garments of the highest quality and custom uniform programs. From sizing your employees, organizing the locker room, professional laundry and maintenance, to technology-driven delivery, we are experts in managing the uniforms to provide you the peace of mind to focus on your business.
Not sure if you need FR clothing? Don’t know how to get started? Talk to one of our experts now for any further questions.