The wearing of flame resistant (FR) clothing is a crucial factor for companies seeking to comply with industry safety regulations and voluntary performance standards. Hazardous work environments that have a risk of explosions or flash fire are the most common situations that require a form of FR protective clothing. Workers can also experience an “arc flash” which can directly or indirectly cause a garment fire that could result in severe injury or even death.

When exposed to such incidences, the type of clothing one chooses to wear can play a huge role in how the situation turns out. Here are some reasons why FR Clothing is important.

FR Wear Self-extinguishes or Resists Ignition
FR clothing helps protects workers by self-extinguishing when exposed to flame, reducing the extent of burn injuries as well as providing workers with valuable escape time. Most severe burn injuries are caused by non-FR clothing igniting and continuing to burn long after the heat source has been removed. By wearing an FR protective wear, one can prevent instances like these from happening.

Reducing Severity of Injuries
In the event of a fire or explosion, FR clothing will dramatically reduce the severity of the injuries. It, however, should be noted that FR clothing does not eliminate the risk of burn injury.  FR wear is designed to protect the wearer to allow them to get away from the heat source. The fabric serves as a barrier between the flash fire and skin of the victim reducing the level of energy transmitted onto the skin surface.

FR Clothing does not melt on the skin as seen when wearing clothing made of or blended with, synthetic materials like acetate, nylon, polyester or polypropylene. Also, in the event of an arc flash incident, FR clothing helps to mitigate the extent of injury overall.

FR Clothing Complies with Industry Standards
Investing in FR clothing helps you comply with State and Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards that require employers to protect employees from hazards in the workplace. Compliance with these standards is essential in protecting your company’s safety record as well as its financial bottom line. Without a proper FR program, you will be asking for trouble as any non-compliance may lead to sanctions and other penalties.

FR clothing Can Save Your Company Money
The cost incurred to treat an employee who suffers from severe burn injuries without FR clothing far outweighs the cost associated with implementing an entire FR clothing program. Additionally, FR clothing that is made of high-quality inherent FR fabric and built for durability is going to serve longer than non-FR clothing, helping to reduce frequent replacement expenses. A company can also reduce costs that arise from absence, re-hiring, re-training, and compensation when employees suffer serious burn injuries.

Improves Employees Morale and Productivity
The most crucial part of any job is personal safety. When employees feel that their company is taking steps to protect their physical well-being by implementing an FR program, it can significantly boost their motivation and drive resulting in higher performance. Employees working in hazardous work environments where nothing is being done to enhance their safety can be less motivated, less-efficient and dis-engaged making employers to incur thousands of dollars in lost productivity.

It is extremely important for employers, safety managers, and employees to understand that FR clothing serves as the last line of defense to end users in case of flash fires and explosions. Careful consideration should be taken to ensure those responsible select the appropriate flame-resistant clothing suitable for the type of activities conducted by the workers and that workers wear it properly.