Getting properly outfitted for a job that exposes you to flash fires, electric arcs, sparks, or harsh temperatures means layering up to boost your comfort and protection while staying compliant.
But what should you wear under flame-resistant clothing? Are regular baselayers enough? Absolutely not. You need fire-resistant baselayers -- the best option to layer and enhance your workwear’s overall flame resistance power while keeping you warm, dry, and comfortable on the job with higher combined ATPV ratings.
Fire-resistant baselayers are key for working men and women who don’t want to sacrifice comfort for increased safety. With lightweight, breathable FR baselayers under your flame-resistant workwear, you can have your proverbial cake and eat it, too.
Why Are Flame-Resistant Baselayers Important?
Flame-resistant baselayers are an added barrier of protection between you and the workplace hazards you could face on a daily basis, like:
- Electric arcs and discharges,
- Flash fire incidents,
- Extreme temperatures,
- Damp or wet conditions.
Instead of relying on outerwear alone, add FR baselayers, like long-sleeve and crew neck shirts, t-shirts, long johns, and boxers to increase your total arc thermal protective value (ATPV) without adding bulk or weight to your workwear.
Where your normal FR workwear overlaps with FR baselayers, your ATPV rating increases. For example, wearing a CAT 1-rated ATPV 4 cal long sleeve baselayer under a CAT 2-rated ATPV 8 cal coverall can provide a combined layered ATPV rating of 24 cal/cm² everywhere these garments overlap.
The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) confirms that layering offers better protection than wearing a single, thick garment.
Quality fire-resistant baselayers are designed with moisture-wicking material that’s inherently flame-resistant. They add a layer of protection from flames and electric arcs, wick away sweat in hot environments, lock in warmth when you’re faced with freezing temperatures, and keep you dry in wet conditions.
How to Layer Properly for Flame-Resistant Protection
If you’re already donning FR shirts, pants, and outerwear, you could still be better protected with the addition of FR layers under outerwear. Learning how to layer FR clothing is key to getting the most complete protection in tough working environments.
- Do: Look for lightweight, breathable fire-resistant baselayers that won’t feel heavy or make you sweat
- Don’t: Wear basic baselayers not rated for flame resistance, which can increase the risk of burns and may melt, causing further injury
- Do: Make sure your baselayers fit comfortably without clinging to your skin too tightly or hanging loosely enough to bunch under your outer layers
- Don’t: Roll up or cuff your sleeves, unbutton, unzip, or otherwise open your FR clothing, which leaves you exposed to burn injuries and excessive heat
- Do: Layer according to the temperatures in your working environment, only wearing the layers as you need to stay comfortable and dry without sweating
- Don’t: Wear layers that have become worn, frayed, have holes, or have grease, oil, or combustible material on them
- Do: Choose baselayers with ATPV ratings that will combine with your outerwear ratings to help you meet or exceed the ATPV requirements for the most complete protection
With these hard-working layers under outerwear, you can enhance your total protection and increase your safety on the job.
Choosing the Best Flame-Resistant Baselayers for Protection
MWG Apparel offers a wide range of flame-resistant baselayers that boost your combined ATPV rating and better protect you while you’re on the job. Our baselayers don’t just meet the required minimum arc ratings by category -- they exceed them so you can ensure the best protection. From boxers to crewnecks, there’s an option to suit every season and working environment in our lightweight FLEXSAFE™ and TRANSMISSION™ lines.
Choose from CAT 2-rated crewnecks with 9 cal protection or CAT 1-rated long sleeves, t-shirts, long johns, and boxers with 4.3 cal protection that combine with the ATPV rating on your FR shirt, pants, and outerwear.
- MWG TRANSMISSION™ Men's FR Crewneck (CAT 2, ATPV 9)
- MWG FLEXSAFE™ Men's FR Long-Sleeve (CAT 1, ATPV 4.3)
- MWG FLEXSAFE™ Men's FR T-Shirt (CAT 1, ATPV 4.3)
- MWG FLEXSAFE™ Men's FR Boxer (CAT 1, ATPV 4.3)
- MWG FLEXSAFE™ Men's FR Long John (CAT 1, ATPV 4.3)
And you don’t have to stop there. MWG Apparel has a full line of quality FR workwear to outfit you from top to bottom, including outerwear, shirts, pants, accessories, gloves, and high-visibility options that are all built with safety, comfort, and compliance in mind. For enhanced protection, all the way to the core, explore MWG Apparel's selection of FR base layer products -- always crafted to ensure comfort and safety.