How will FR clothing help the individual wearing it?
Flame-resistant (FR) clothing significantly reduces burn injury, gives the wearer escape time, and increases chances of survival if caught in a flash fire or electric arc. FR clothing has saved many lives. Providing FR clothing demonstrates management's commitment to safety and employee well-being. The right FR clothing can improve morale as well as increase safety.
Do we really need FR clothing (we haven't had an accident in 10 years)?
Personnel working in industrial environments that have ignition hazards should wear FR clothing. Typical industries are the petroleum, chemical, electric and gas utility, aluminum, and various manufacturing industries. Even if a company has been "lucky" so far, the chances of someone getting seriously burned exist. Most companies with hazardous environments provide their employees safety equipment, and OSHA has a history of citing employers for not providing FR clothing when appropriate. Further, the cost of a single serious burn injury can pay for an entire FR clothing program.
What do all these standards and test methods mean?
Numerous performance standards and test methods exist that help define the performance of FR garments. The purpose of test methods and standards is to enable users to objectively evaluate materials, and define minimum performance criteria for fabrics or garments. Although conforming to standards is generally voluntary, using FR products that meet the performance requirements of standards is a good way to ensure your people are wearing acceptable FR garments.
What happens if a company does not comply with the laws?
OSHA has a history of citing employers for not providing appropriate protective equipment, including FR clothing. Not complying with the laws can leave your company open to fines from OSHA and litigation from other sources.
Is 100% cotton good enough?
100% cotton is flammable. It will ignite and continue to burn after being exposed to an ignition source. Most people understand the burning and melting hazard of fibers such as nylon and polyester. However, cotton burns just as readily as these fibers, and sometimes propagates flames more quickly. 100% cotton is acceptable for use in some electric utility applications when the energy of exposure is not sufficient to ignite the cotton. However, 100% cotton is flammable and should not be used in applications that require FR clothing.