Unless you work a job that requires it, most of us may not think that many professions need fire resistant or flame resistant uniforms. 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 for some of these professions—they are actually required by OSHA, even if there is little exposure to open flames.
Electrical workers are one of the best examples. Since working with wiring, high voltages, and a large variety of equipment and fixtures (some of which can be decaying or placed high above the ground) means constant exposure to electricity, there is always the possibility of an electrical arc traveling to the worker’s body through their clothing. Electrical arcs are intensely hot—even hotter than the surface of the sun—and even 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 cause serious injury to a worker, and flaming or melted clothing only makes an injury worse. Since clothing is such an important part of electrical workers’ safety, OSHA 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 as well as 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 a fire resistant piece of clothing wouldn’t be very effective if it’s covered in gasoline! This is a particularly common challenge for many industries, which is why so many of them trust CLEAN with the cleaning and maintenance of all of their uniforms, including their flame resistant and specialty uniforms.
Have more questions about special requirements for flame resistant uniforms and clothing? Ask CLEAN!