Maximize Protection And Wear Of Your Fire Retardant/flame Resistant Garments

Each year, more than 2,000 people annually are admitted to burn centers with severe arc flash burns. In many of these cases, proper Fire Retardant (FR) clothing could have either prevented or significantly reduced the severity of these injuries. A fire retardant or flame resistant garment can often be the only thing standing between a worker and serious injury. Such garments offer protection in multiple ways by:

  • Resisting ignition;
  • Providing thermal protection to shield the wearer at the point of exposure;
  • Resisting breaking open and exposing skin;
  • Preventing clothing from melting on to the skin;
  • Self-extinguishing.

But in order to maximize any garment's effectiveness, it is critical to assess the type of clothing needed and adhere to proper maintenance. Here are some ways to get the most from your FR garments:

  1. Check for updates on standards for your hazard as there may be new ones. And be sure to properly review all applicable standards in their entirety.
  2. Determine the type of hazard, (i.e. electric arc flash or flash fire) this will help in selecting the proper FR gear for the job.
  3. Establish the level of protection required. Keep in mind that using garments rated higher than necessary is cumbersome to workers as well as an extraneous expense to the company. At the same time, you want to ensure that the garment's rating provides the requisite protection for the work required.
  4. Implement a training program at the workplace for proper use of FR garments. This includes proper selection, wear, and maintenance of the garments to provide maximum protection and longevity of the clothing.