Every day, workers in electrical maintenance,utility, oil and gas, petrochemical and steel
industries work in hazardous environments.Unexpected and highly dangerous arc flash and flash fire events can occur without warningand may result in severe or fatal burn injuries.Thus,we need reliable flame resistant workwear to protect workers from being injured.Here are 4 steps to specify reliable FR workwear.
1.Research environmental risks
Gain a deep understanding of your work environment and thespecific issues that impact worker safety. Begin with identifyingthe risks at hand, such as arc flash risks versus flash fires, as theapparel needs are different.The standards for which you are specifying fabrics must apply toyour individual work environment. For example, FR fabrics that meet PPE Category 2 are irrelevant in the oil and gas industries, as the arc rating standard addresses electrical arc flash, not flash fire hazards.External factors, such as weather, should also be considered. The fabric and fabric system needs in diverse climates can be very different. Cold, northern climates may need insulated products for their daily work where southern climates may dictate a single layer.
2.Evaluate fabric options
When evaluating viable options for AR/FR fabric, don’t settle for minimum compliance. Instead, know the exact rating of each fabric. Also, consider a wear trial to assess comfort and wearability so you know firsthand that employees will be able to work effectively and comfortably.
3.Understand the fabric's performance
There is a vast disparity between products that comply with NFPA 2112 and NFPA 70E. Compliance is a starting point, then individual fabric performance should be evaluated to help ensure you are adequately protecting workers.
4.Specify fabric by brand name
Brand name FR textiles carry a trusted reputation because they have been market proven to protect workers. Brand name reputations also help you know exactly what you are purchasing. Not all FR fabrics or constructions — such as 88/12 fiber blends — are the same. There are significant differences in how similar fabrics with similar fiber constructions perform. Rely on proven brand name reputations to gauge the effectiveness of FR performance, backed up with third-party certification.