It’s fair to say that 2020 has been a year to remember! With the focus on personal safety thanks to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis the subject of wearing safety clothing has become important to many of us who have not felt the need before.
In many walks of life, however, the need to wear Fire Resistant – FR – clothing is ever-present, even without the virus pandemic. We’re going to talk about the safety standards that FR clothing must meet, but before that, let’s have a look at the garments that are covered, and the areas of industry in which such clothing is a necessity.
Who Wears FR Clothing?
It may have been long overlooked, but in fact, denim jeans have their roots in safety clothing, having been created to be hard-wearing and protective for cowboys on horseback.
The FR clothing we are looking at here is designed – as the name suggests – to protect against possible fire hazards. There are many areas of industry where this sort of clothing is required, and often specified in regulations.
The sort of industry that FR clothing is worn in can be anything from construction, where the dangers of dust combusting are very real, to railroad workers and those who operate heavy machinery.
The oil industry is one area where just about everyone will be required to wear FR clothing, and in the paint manufacturing and pharmaceutical industries there is a risk of fire in many situations.
Anyone who works with electricity would be strongly advised to be protected by FR clothing, too. Now, if you expect FR clothing to be ugly and uncomfortable, that doesn’t have to be the case. This range of shirts from froutlet is a good example of quality and stylish FR gear, that would be great as corporate uniform wear. They’re sensibly priced, but do they meet the safety standards?
FR Clothing Safety Standards
The terminology involved in FR clothing ratings can be confusing, so we’ll cover a few of the standards in brief. For example, OSHA 1910 is a standard relating to protective clothing that stipulates the employer’s duty to provide a safe workplace for their staff. The shirts on offer at the store we mentioned often exceed this, so certainly meet with the required standard.
ASTM 1506 is a very important standard relating to a garment’s ability to withstand arc flash, which is a relatively common occurrence in the electrical industries.
The standard requires clothing to be rated and among the requirements to meet the standard are the materials ability not to melt or drip, and to continue meeting these standards through 25 launderings.
Look for ‘Arc Thermal Performance Values’ applied to such garments as an indication of their level of protection. NFPA 70E is another standard concerning arc flash, and there are more to consider.
Put simply, the ability of a garment to withstand a flash fire for more than a couple of seconds is often a requirement, as this will prevent the wearer from sustaining burns through the material.
It is important that these standards are met and upheld, and with the garments in the range of clothing we have looked at meeting or exceeding the required standards it’s certainly worth a look.
Further Safety Requirements
No material will protect against fire permanently, and the shirts featured are designed to protect for a required time up to a certain temperature.
Check the manufacturer specifications before you buy, and you should find FR clothing that looks good and does the job and remain as safe as possible when in those potentially hazardous situations in the workplace.